Overview

This shark tank-style pitch competition provides top University of Rochester student startups from diverse disciplines and schools with an opportunity to compete in front of a panel of esteemed judges for substantial cash prizes and a Passport from the OneValley (formerly GSVlabs), which offers access to 100+ mentors, hundreds of templates and guides, and $450,000 in free and discounted services.

The event was virtual in 2021 with selected student teams invited to present to judges during a Zoom webinar, followed by a live Q&A. Audience members were invited to watch a livestream of the event and vote for their favorite team to win.

2021 Teams

  • Guild Me: brings gamers together based on behavioral questions with an overarching purpose of reducing toxicity in the gaming culture.
    • Stephanie Marvin ’22S (MBA)
  • RHM Innovations: a clip-on shower chair attachment that promotes independence and reduces injuries while bathing.
    • Brandon Davis ’23 (PhD)
  • Wanderlust Game Co: a card game and community all about connection, awareness, inspiration, and thinking deeper about travel.
    • Brittany Floyd ’22S (MBA)
  • Xclusivity: helps digital health startups who want to validate their ideas by connecting to early users to get direct feedback.
    • Joshua Batres Wang ’22 (BS)

2020 Teams

  • Advanced Growing Resources: providing optical solutions in the precision agriculture market, AGR’s first product is a device to aid growers in quick and early crop disease detection.
    • Francis Pellegrino ’22
    • Ryan Balloun ’22
    • Heriniaina Rajaoberison ’22
    • Andrew Thankson ’22
  • Exir Diagnostics: developing a device for multiplex detection of common allergens.
    • Fakhraddin Akbari Dourbash (PhD)
  • HospiPal: an application for patients to communicate asynchronously with hospital staff and access data on insurance and service options, and directories.
    • Deric Toro ’20, ’21 (e5 Scholar)
    • Justin Fargnoli ’22
    • Ethan Sawyer ’22
    • Kenny Newman ’22
    • Prajita Shrestha ’22
  • Photonect: an integrated photonic packaging solutions company that bridges the gap between electronics and integrated photonics.
    • Juniyali Nauriyal ’18 (MS), ’22 (PhD)
    • Sushant Kumar ’24 (PhD)
  • UniM8: a platform that connects high school students with all of the resources they need for the college application process.
    • Ayat Chowdhury ’22
    • Zachary Lee ’21
    • Christopher Sanchez ’23

2019 Teams

  • EZ Water: supplies access to clean drinking water by providing cheap, reliable and quality drinking water to Pakistanis through a hyperlocal network of micropreneurs who leverage the power of modern Hollow Fiber Membrane technology to filter, bottle, and distribute water from under one roof.
    • Kareem Abdelmaqsood ’22
    • Afnan Ahmed ’21
    • Sara Anis ’20
    • Claude Mulindi ’22
  • Humans for Education: creates sustainable, culturally-sensitive small businesses for schools in developing countries so that the schools can generate income and cater directly to the needs of their students.
    • Jeff Beard ’23M (PhD)
    • Daphne Pariser ’20M (PhD)
  • Prosthesis for a New Syria: provides amputees with low cost, customizable 3D printed prosthesis that can help them gain their independence.
    • Ibrahim Mohammad ’17, ’24 (PhD)
    • Omar Soufan ’17, ’18 (MS)
  • WetWare BioSystemsutilizes novel biotechnology to preemptively mitigate neurotrauma resulting from athletic, civilian, and defense-related traumatic brain injuries.
    • Andrew Kaseman ’21
    • Scott McKinney ’21
    • Bradley Smith ’20

2021 Emcee

John Moran ’89
CEO & CMO, Blue Wave Marketing

John Moran graduated with a BS in Optics in 1989 and upon graduation went on to work as an optical engineer at MIT Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Massachusetts. He subsequently founded Blue Wave Marketing, an integrated digital marketing agency, which he has operated as CEO for the past 25 years. John is also a real estate investor in Massachusetts. He started a California lifestyle apparel brand in 2005, is a published author and started a nonprofit organization, Grand Opportunity USA, or “GOUSA,” in 2018, where he advocates for freedom, liberty and opportunity for all in America. He presently resides in Billerica, Massachusetts, and has extended family members living in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Hawaii.

2021 Judges

Quincy Allen ’93S (MBA)
Founder, Allen Enterprises, Independent Consultant

Quincy earned a BS in electrical engineering from Northeastern University and completed his MBA in 1993 with a concentration in Marketing and Entrepreneurship at the University of Rochester. Quincy is the founder of Allen Enterprises, independent consultant, and serves as a board member of Office Depot. He retired as CMO of IBM Corporation and has worked in the areas of Cloud and Artificial Intelligence. He was previously the CEO of a marketing services company and an executive at Xerox. Quincy has also served as an independent director for Gateway and NCR Corp. Additionally, he is a member of the corporation for Northeastern University. Quincy has been an active member of the University of Rochester’s Parent Council. He has given multiple talks for the Simon Business School, and is currently a prolific and enthusiastic volunteer for the University’s football program.

Nicole Camarre ’14S (MBA)
Associate, Strategic Finance Group, 424 Capital

Nicole earned her BS in Financial Economics from Binghamton University (SUNY) and is a UR alum with an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship from the Simon School. Prior to 424 Capital, she spent seven years working with early and growth stage B2B software companies as an early stage venture investor and holding business operations roles within growth stage companies.

Brennan Mulcahey ’09, ’11S (MBA)
Partner, 424 Capital
Chair, Ain Center Advisory Council

Brennan is a partner with 424 Capital and enjoys working with teams that are passionate about the impact they can create by taking their business to the next level. He takes stewardship of the companies he works with seriously and is dedicated to helping his portfolio companies develop as organizations. Brennan works closely with the entrepreneurs that 424 Capital backs to build an effective culture for growth and detailed plans to scale rapidly. Currently, Brennan serves on the board of CSS Health and is the Chairman of the Board for Medicus IT, LearnWell, and iTrac. Brennan is Chairman of the advisory committee at the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship and serves on the Newman Advisory board at the University of Rochester. Academically Brennan completed his BA in Financial Economics at the University of Rochester and holds his MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship from the Simon School of Business.

Brandon Salimi ’22S (MBA)
President, Simon School Venture Fund

Brandon is a second-year Simon MBA candidate and president of the Simon School Venture Fund. Brandon previously worked for the UVM Medical Center as a Cardiology Technician, before joining the UVM Health Network’s Venture Investments. He forged his interest in investment through the Catamount Innovation Fund as COO, and the Green Mountain Investment Fund as an analyst. He is currently working as a consultant with a company raising their Series A while also serving as a Venture Fellow with Rock Health identifying investments in Digital Health.

2020 Emcee

  • Craig Dubitsky ’87: Chief Innovation Strategist, Colgate-Palmolive

2020 Judges

  • Quincy Allen ’93S (MBA): Founder, Allen Enterprises, Independent Consultant
  • Brennan Mulcahey ’09, ’11S (MBA): Partner, Brook Venture Partners; Chair, Ain Center Advisory Council
  • Song Pak: General Counsel & CCO, Revolution Growth
  • Hawa Sultani ’21S (MBA): President, Simon School Venture Fund

2019 Emcee

  • John Moran ’89: CEO & CMO, Blue Wave Marketing

2019 Judges

  • Quincy Allen ’93S (MBA): CMO, IBM Corporation
  • Alyssa Carrizales ’20S (MBA): Founder, 10Ray; Managing Director, Simon School Venture Fund
  • Theresa Mazzullo: CEO, Excell Partners, Inc.
  • Brennan Mulcahey ’09, ’11S (MBA): Partner, Brook Venture Partners; Chair, Ain Center Advisory Council

2021 Winner

  • RHM Innovations: a clip-on shower chair attachment that promotes independence and reduces injuries while bathing.
    • Brandon Davis ’23 (PhD)

2020 Winner

  • Advanced Growing Resources: providing optical solutions in the precision agriculture market, AGR’s first product is a device to aid growers in quick and early crop disease detection.
    • Francis Pellegrino ’22
    • Ryan Balloun ’22
    • Heriniaina Rajaoberison ’22
    • Andrew Thankson ’22

2019 Winner

  • WetWare BioSystems: an early-stage biotechnology firm dedicated to the research and development of technologies aimed at addressing Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in the defense and civilian sectors
    • Andrew Kaseman ’21
    • Scott McKinney ’22
    • Bradley Smith ’20, ’21 (e5)
Watch 2021 Event

Questions?

Contact Heidi Mergenthaler, Program Manager.