Teams from Georgia Tech, Florida State University, Clemson University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill won the top prizes at this 2014 ACC Startup Madness held March 19 at the NC State University Hunt Library. This was the second year the NC State’s Poole College of Management was a competition sponsor. The four winners follow. [Note: This story includes updated award information.]
First place went to a CheckDroid, a cloud-based service developed by a team of students at Georgia Tech. The company’s product helps Android developers automatically test applications quickly and easily across multiple real Android devices, making device fragmentation a concern of the past.
CheckDroid also offers a support service that tracks and reports relevant issues affecting end users. The product helps developers bring their applications to market faster with greater confidence that their brand quality and customer loyalty won't suffer from bugs in their application.
First place prize is $1,000 cash, a flight to Silicon Valley and a meeting with Kleiner Perkins, a half-tuition scholarship to study abroad with Leadership exCHANGE and a free MotoX from Republic Wireless. In addition, the team received a surprise first place prize: a spot in next year's ThinkHouse accelerator program, a living and learning environment for young entrepreneurs located in Raleigh’s history Boylan Heights neighborhood. This prize also includes a membership to HQ Raleigh.
Presenting their winning product to the judges and audience were team members Karan Jhurani, David Mashburn and Shauvik Roy Choudhary. Also on the team are Chad Lane and Tyler Dutton.
Second place went to Optimal Bagging, a trash bag system that optimizes the process of removing a full trash bags, leaving clean bags ready for use in the trash can. The team received $500 cash, a half-tuition scholarship to study abroad with Leadership exCHANGE, marketing consulting services from Method Savvy, and one free MotoX from Republic Wireless.
Third place went to SouthYeast Labs, developed by Even Skjervold at Clemson University. The startup develops locally sourced yeasts for use by craft brewers, giving the beer regionally unique flavors. The team received $300 cash, a quarter-scholarship to study abroad with Leadership exCHANGE, and venture consulting from Bull City Ventures.
Fourth place went to CommuniGift, developed by a team from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This start-up is the first online giving platform that allows the user to find a family in need vetted by partnering non-profits, learn about the family, directly purchase products, and stay connected throughout the year. In the initial launch, CommuniGift focused on streamlining the adopt-a-family (angel tree) model online, improving not only the donor experience but also non-profit efficiency. As the model grows, CommuniGift will foster giving throughout the year between donors and those in need using direct product-purchases. CommuniGift offers a transparent and convenient way to give online and cultivate a meaningful gifting experience. The team received $200 cash, a quarter-tuition scholarship to study abroad with Leadership exCHANGE, and venture consulting from Idea Fund Partners.
The Leadership exCHANGE study abroad programs are in Prague, Rome and Pamana.
Also competing were:
- JustLikeYou, presented by Brooks Gable from the University of Maryland, is a social network for people going through the coming out process. It is launching in April 2014.
- SF Robotics , presented by a team from Duke University, is building a life-sized, humanoid, 3D printed robot which costs orders of magnitude less than what exists on the market today. They are also developing software tools to make it easy for developers to jump in and start writing applications. Thus far, they have built an arm with working joints on each finger, the wrist, bicep, and two joints on the shoulder, and are working on the torso and head. The team’s big vision is to make the personal robot as pervasive and important as the personal computer. They are initially focusing on selling to hobbyists, researchers, and educators.
- Powerhouse Protein, presented by another team from Duke University, is built on the dream of a scrawny high school teenager looking to put on some lean muscle without compromising his health.
- Wavelet, presented by Nick O'Donnell from the University of Florida, is developing customized jewelry that represents sound waves
- Pember.lee, presented by Georgia Tech student is developing upgraded, re-engineered and made-over consumer products.
- Science Savings , from the University of Miami, is an e-marketing website that aims to reduce the cost of life science and medical research by providing a one-stop savings platform where biotech and life science vendors post their current deals and promotions. By having all the deals in one location, researchers save time and money when purchasing supplies.
- Jobly, from the University Of Miami, is a web platform that connects employers with college students for internships and full-time employment.
- Incubastic, presented by a team from Clemson University, offers a low-cost way provide newborns warmth and monitoring in the crucial days immediately after birth. The device will significantly decrease the rate of infant deaths associated with a lack of warming in developing countries.
- Pennies 4 Progress, presented by Ryan O'Donnell at NC State Poole College, provides a point of sale system to raise money for charity.
- ThermaFlow Solutions, presented by Charles Culbertson at NC State University College of Natural Resources, leverages NC State technology to provide the latest innovation in particle and cell analysis.
Competiton judges were Healther McDougall, Leadership Exchange; Sherry Waddell, Blackstone Enterprises; Larry Steffann, Wireless Research Center; Frank Leak, CSH; and Mark Sad, Feelgoodz Shoes.
CheckDroid team members Karan Jhurani, David Mashburn and Shauvik Roy Choudhary