Six Poole College Teams Pitch Startups at 2019 Lulu eGames

Student entrepreneurs discuss their ventures at the Expo, part of the Lulu eGames.

Four of the six teams of NC State Poole College of Management students participating in the 2019 Lulu eGames – NC State’s annual startup competition – received cash prizes ranging from $500 to $5,000 for their startups.

The annual event was held April 5, from 6 to 8 p.m. at NC State’s Stewart Theatre. Following are this year’s teams of Poole College students who made it to the finals.

Chirp | First Place, Design and Prototype, $5,000, and Fan Favorite Video Award, $500

Chirp is an IoT-enabled smart home device that leverages a combination of sensors guided by a proprietary algorithm to monitor the stove and immediately address threats, helping to reduce emergency response times by an estimated 50 percent. Team members are Andrew Bowker, NC State Jenkins MBA student, and Praneet Mocherla, College of Engineering. Watch their video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7anoTL8m6Vc

Green Bleach | New Venture, third place, $5,000

The Green Bleach team is developing a unique new disinfectant that is both fully effective against the most robust pathogens and is non-toxic for humans. Team members are NC State Jenkins MBA students Graham Howell, Kevin Hashbun, and Paul Kester; and Angela D’Orio, a doctoral student in Textile Technology Management at the Wilson College of Textiles/The Nonwovens Institute.

STEAM-E NC | Arts Venture, Third Place, $2,000

Through a scholarship-based summer camp immersion, STEAM-E NC seeks to bridge the gap between the 25,000 students in rural Appalachia who do not have equal access to STEM, arts and entrepreneurship education. Team members Grace Williamson, Peny Kouloglou and Dana Lanner are NC State Jenkins MBA students.

321 Coffee | Social and Environmental Impact, Fan Favorite Video, $500

Lindsay Wrege, junior, Poole College of Management and Michael Evans, Poole College and College of Sciences developing this business, which began as a student organization in fall 2017. It’s goal was to “start a coffee shop tied to NC State campus that is operated by adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD),” Wrege said in an email interview with Poole College communications. It has since evolved into a nonprofit that now is one of the permanent vendors at the NC State Farmers’ Market, in the Market Shops “We are also hoping to continue further expansion into other university and school settings,” she said.

“321 Coffee aims to solve the societal issue of workplace discrimination for adults with IDD. A statistic says that only 20 percent of adults with disabilities are employed; this is a big problem that we are hoping to resolve,” Wrege said. “I think 321 Coffee makes a positive impact on everyone involved – the NC State students, the adults with IDD, and the customers. 321 Coffee is using business, specifically a cup of coffee, as a medium for making a social impact. It is creating a space for adults with IDD to show the value they bring to society,” she said.

By incorporating ties to the college campus, it is “engaging the future leaders of our community. By students learning to value all that adults with IDD have to give to society, they can carry that appreciation with them and ultimately create a societal shift,” she said. Watch their video.

InDIP | New Venture

Team InDIP (Invoking Different Perspectives) – graduate students in the multidisciplinary Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization graduate course – worked over the last two semesters developing the go-to-market case for a technology coming out of NC State or a partner university. The InDIP team members – David McNeill and Taral Thakker, Jenkins MBA students; Caty MetCalf, master of microbial biotechnology; and Boxuan Zhong, a doctoral student in electrical engineering – developed a product out of Virginia Commonwealth University that processes Sexual Assualt Kits (SAK). It aims to speed processing and clear the 400,000 SAK backlog in the U.S. in less than five years, versus close to 20 years required to clear the backlog with current methods, McNeil said.

Team InDIP made it to the finals of the Lulu eGames “with a disruptive product that can bring swift justice to those who have waited too long for it,” McNeil said. “Forensic biology labs are eager to get this product into their workflows to speed up their processes and do it under budget. The main thing that stands in the way is finding the seed funding to make this a reality. Our team is working hard to find the best sources of funding to see this happen,” he said. “The Lulu eGames was a great opportunity to tell our story, get valuable feedback and see this product get closer to market.”

ZipToVip | Value Beyond a Cash Prize

Mrs. Wuf takes some time for art at Jacob Britt's ZipToVip table.
Mrs. Wuf takes some time for art at Jacob Britt’s ZipToVip table.

Jacob Britt, a junior in Poole College and College of Humanities and Social Sciences, did not receive an award for his arts venture, ZipToVip, but he did find value in participating.

“While I was not able to win anything in the competition, I was proud of many of the finalists and thought that they all had amazing ideas,” said Britt, who plans to pursue a minor in entrepreneurship. His business concept is an online platform where emerging artists can compete for exposure and money every month, “giving them a platform which will provide hope and opportunity so they can keep on creating.”

The Entrepreneurship Expo on April 3 was his favorite part of the experience, he said, as it allowed him to do what he wanted to do: connect with people. The Expo provides visitors a chance to talk informally with the eGames team members.

“My booth was just a place for people to sit down, paint, and talk about ZipToVip or whatever they wanted. I met many interesting people and it was fun to have them sit for a while and (connect) with me.” That included Mrs. Wuf, who spent some painting at his booth.

About the Lulu eGames

The Lulu eGames is NC State’s annual startup competition, awarding over $100,000 to NC State University student entrepreneurs. The competition includes two rounds with six categories options: New Venture, Design & Prototype, Social and Environmental Impact, Arts Venture, Built on Cloud and Daugherty Endowment. The eGames is made possible by a generous gift from its sponsor, the online publishing company Lulu.com.

This post was originally published in Poole College of Management News.

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