Carl H. Lindner College of BusinessCarl H. Lindner College of BusinessUniversity of Cincinnati

Carl H. Lindner College of Business

April Update- Students from All Across UC Attend 2018 Annual Innovative Quest Elevator Pitch Competition!

Thursday, April 19, 2018 1:28 PM
UC Students Pitch Compelling Ideas and Start-Up Ventures to Judges for $25,000+ in awards.

A chance at winning $25,000 in awards, scoring 1 of 50 social media door prizes, being a part of an exciting entrepreneurial atmosphere, and connecting innovative students with expert judges were all part of this year’s Innovative Quest Elevator Pitch Competition (IQ E-Pitch). Nearly 400 students were able to experience the excitement of presenting their ideas to over 40 experienced competition judges from our region. Attendees received a warm and inspiring welcome from Wendy Lea, CEO, Cintrifuse and StartupCincy and Jason Heikenfeld, Assistant Vice President, UC Technology Accelerator for Commercialization, both discussing the importance of innovation, not only in Cincinnati, but right here at the University of Cincinnati.

Eleven teams emerged victorious from a field of 130 in this year’s competition. Each of them shared a compelling new startup idea with strong investment potential. The competition was open to all UC students and we are very pleased that students from so many UC colleges and campuses competed. Participants were diverse, from a select handful of high school students and university freshmen through to doctoral level graduate students and from those studying scientific and technical disciplines to those studying the arts. Regardless of their academic level or chosen field of study, each brought their “A” game. Participants represented colleges including UC Blue Ash; Carl H. Lindner College of Business; College-Conservatory of Music; College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning; College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services; College of Engineering & Applied Science; and McMicken College of Arts & Sciences.

“This is a great event where we hope young entrepreneurs can experience the energy that is created when bright students with new ideas meet the established ecosystem propelling them to future entrepreneurial endeavors,” said Ronald Meyers, Assistant Director, IQ E-Pitch.

The IQ E-Pitch Competition operates as a gateway for students at all levels of readiness from all around UC to engage with us in entrepreneurship. It is part of the CEC’s threefold AIM to 1) Accelerate the launch of new ventures, 2) Improve strategic and intrapreneurial thinking in established organizations and 3) Multiply social entrepreneurship. Students competing at this event are inspired to pursue academic coursework in innovation and entrepreneurship or join one of our several entrepreneurship-related student organizations. The best are offered funding from the Fealy Bearcat Bridge Fund and the Keating New Venture Fund as well as given priority consideration into the StartupUC Student Incubator, a program that helps UC students explore innovation and launch their startups by utilizing the “Lean Startup” method. These mechanisms coupled with the excellent support of our partners in the #startupcincy entrepreneurship ecosystem are enabling UC students to launch their own successful enterprises.

Winners at this year’s event hailed from several UC colleges including CEAS, CECH, DAAP, LCB, McMicken A&S, as well as our first high school competitors from Mason High School. Graduate Prize Winners included (1st Place) Lorenzo Green for Know Maintenance LLC; (2nd Place) Cyrus Azamfar for 3D Dynamic Display; and (3rd Place) Joey Kappen and Carl Labanz for Health Captain. Graduate Startup Grant Recipients included Vinitha Thiyagarajan Upaassana and Abhijeet Barua for Sampling Integrated Saliva Diagnostics and Suhas Srivastava for GreenGrounds.  Undergraduate Prize Winners included (1st Place) Katie Ferchen and Emaleigh Dunn for Embodi; (2nd Place) Vincent Cevasco, Matthew Terry, and Ryan Jordan for Natalus; and (3rd Place) Juan Carlos Gaudiano and Pranav Yenugu for SafeDeliv (Mason High School). Undergraduate Startup Grant Recipients included Nani Sumanth Maddirala, Chad Bennet, Ajay Vallabh, and Alex Hall for RoomUP and Douglas Mace and Thomas "Bo" Brunton for Social Media Pattern of Life Analysis. The Social Enterprise Prize Winner was Robert Doerning for C3.

The evening also served as an opportunity to acknowledge key volunteers and partners connected with the CEC. Our Partner of the Year was HCDC; Mentors of the Year included: Matthew Batchler (ERP Suites), Chris Petersen (MBA Veteran’s Network), Carlin Stamm (UpTech), and Rik Vonderhaar (SCORE). HCDC and each of these volunteers continue to offer support to UC students by providing work and volunteer opportunities, access to funding, and serve in various capacities as mentors for the CEC. High achieving students committed to entrepreneurial excellence were also recognized. These students included: Joseph Kappen, Graduate Student of the Year and Molly Hinken, Undergraduate Student of the Year. Albert W. Goering Scholars were mentioned including: Noah Beiting, Rebekah Durham, Nicole Eggert, Adam Paulson, Dylan Shoup, and Samuel Steiden.

“I hope the students who presented their very creative business ideas to me had as much fun as I did judging them.  It is readily apparent that Dr. Dalziel and his staff are doing an outstanding job preparing their students for the business world after they graduate,” said Rik Vonderhaar from SCORE.

The competition is organized by UC’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Commercialization (CEC) and was made possible by the support of our sponsors (Barngrover Endowment, Fealy Endowment, Keating Endowment, LaRosa’s, Carl H. Lindner Honors-Plus, StartupUC, and Ohio Third Frontier) as well as UC faculty and staff. We are grateful for the involvement of enthusiastic students from several student organizations (Bearcat LaunchPad, Entrepreneurship Club, Innovation Initiative, and the TechnoMentor Establishment) for their involvement in this year’s event.

Pranav Yenugu, high school competitor and IQ E-Pitch 3rd place winner said, “Being one of the first high schoolers to attend IQ E-Pitch was an amazing honor. Being a part of the StartupUC Incubator the past 9 months have definitely shaped me and my future and I feel truly blessed for all of my experiences at UC. Without the CEC, this would not have been possible. I am looking forward to continue building SafeDeliv with what I’ve learned from the StartupUC program and the IQ E-Pitch Competition.”

Dr. Thomas Dalziel, Executive Director of the CEC and IQ E-Pitch Competition Founder and Director, as well as the entire CEC team would like to thank all volunteers and participants for your excellent service and your continued involvement! Looking forward to next year!