ReBokeh wins BizPitch 2019

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ReBokeh wins BizPitch 2019

Yanjin Huang

Yanjin Huang

Yanjin Huang

Ellie Lowe, Contributing Writer

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On Nov. 5 in the Terrace Room of the Elaine Langone Center, students, faculty and alumni gathered to hear five individuals and groups pitch their start-ups in the BizPitch Finale.

The annual BizPitch competition encourages student entrepreneurship. With the help of faculty advisers and business mentors, students launch their own companies and market a product or service. The competition culminates in a Shark Tank-style pitch that conveys their concept in a clear and compelling way. The top three companies are awarded funding to help build their businesses.

“Seeing how passionate [the competitors are] about entrepreneurship is something that inspired [me] personally…to not only work harder in the classroom but outside of it,” Allison Rhyu ’20, student coordinator of the BizPitch competition, said.

The event opened with a welcome by University President John Bravman, as well as a brief introduction from the Director of the Small Business Development Center Steven Stumbris. Each contestant was then given five minutes to pitch their business model to a panel of judges. This was followed by a five-minute question and answer section where the judges and one lucky audience member were able to ask the contestants questions about their company.

Steve Falcone ’20, a chemical engineering major, started the night off with his company Bus Mate, an app that tracks school buses and sends updates when a child gets on or off the bus.

Arsh Noor Amin ’21, a computer engineering major, and Spandan Marasini ’21, a mathematical economics and history major, presented next with their company Amulya, a drag-and-drop coding platform which aims to teach children in South Asia how to code.

Rebecca Rosenberg ’20, a biomedical engineering major, followed with her company ReBokeh. Her business enhances the lives of those who are visually impaired through external lenses which can be placed on a smartphone and used through an app to enhance sight.

Charlie Darby ’21, a computer science major, continued the night with his company PlusOne, a business that improves the mental and physical well-being of students by providing an easy way to schedule pickup sports games.

Ethan Opdahl ’23, an undecided management major, closed out the pitches with his company. Charity Chips, providing students with an innovative way to donate to the less fortunate by using chips that are only redeemable for necessities.

After the presentations, judges Nancy Garden, Cathy Huyghe, Richard Johnson, Debra Rizzi – all of whom are University alumni — and Director of Campus Sustainability Victor Udo were given time to deliberate while the audience had a chance to vote on their favorite pitch. Students were judged on their product’s marketability, innovation, feasibility, and delivery.

There were six awards given at BizPitch. Rosenberg and her company ReBokeh was crowned the first place winner. Amin and Marasini’s Amulya were a close second and Opdahl and his company Charity Chips earned third place. Both the Change Maker Award and Audience Award were awarded to Amulya, while the Fan Favorite Award which was given to PlusOne.

Rosenberg cites her ability to innovate as the key to her triumph in this year’s competition. “President Bravman talked about stepping out of your comfort zone and that’s really what I did, and I think it paid off. I’m really excited to continue moving forward with this,” Rosenberg said. “BizPitch was a really great opportunity for me to work my pitch skills and to get the experience and practice I need to move forward with my business.”

The creativity of each product captivated students of all areas of study. “It’s cool to see a first-year student going up there and presenting. Overall BizPitch is inspiring and it’s interesting to hear new ideas,” Jessi Schlicht ’20 said.

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