On Saturday, March 24, 27 NCSSM students participated in the NextGen Pitch Contest, sponsored by Hyperspace Ventures. Before a panel of judges, contestants pitched 12 business ideas, from concept to competitive advantage.
Three groups were awarded cash prizes for the successful presentation of their business plans. SECURED, a low-cost mosquito trap that uses environmentally friendly methods, came in first place, winning $1,000. The team behind the product, seniors Vibhu Ambil, George Dimitrov, and Jacky Zhang, have been working in a mosquito lab at NC State University to develop their idea and have already founded a 501(c)3 for their product. “There were a lot of great teams and wonderful ideas that we saw... so we were very surprised when we won,” says Ambil.
Levi Marland ‘18 won second place with ReSpun, a device that would allow waste material from 3D printing to be recycled. The current process behind 3D printing generates plastic waste that currently cannot be reused because of the precision required to make sure materials won’t damage the machines. Marland’s product was the only one that had no real competitors in the market.
Troffi, an online platform that connects food waste producers like juice bars to farmers in need of healthy ways to supplement their animal feed came in third place. Seniors Michelle Bao and Vincent Xia started this project after noticing how much pulp was thrown away at their neighborhood Jamba Juice and deciding to make a difference. They went to local farmers’ markets to assess the needs and demand for waste products, and connected with juicers to find willing participants for their initial launch. “It felt amazing to have our hard work pay off,” says Xia. “Moving forward we plan to continue to develop,” he adds, in regard to what the team plans to do with their $100 cash prize.
Originally published March 28, 2018.