Twenty budding computer science entrepreneurs competed for up to $300 in seed money at the 9th Annual Computing Entrepreneurship competition.
Students presented their business plans for a technological innovation or product to a panel of local industry professionals with one-minute pitches in the first round and five-minute pitches if they made it to the second round.
Zachary Vampola ’17 won first place for SKUSharp, customizable, small business inventory management software.
Fahmida Alam Anika ’18, CEO and founder of URSafe, won second place for her idea to create a mobile app that allows wheelchair users to send alerts about problems with their wheelchair and request assistance. As an added bonus, she was also offered a summer internship with one of the executives judging the competition.
“I always had a strong interest in both computer science and entrepreneurship and through this competition I was able to combine both worlds,” Anika said. “Winning second place helped me realize that perhaps this project is something I can pursue and make a reality.”
Esther Matini ‘18 and Christopher Davie ‘17 tied for third place. Matini, CEO and founder of Bitmon, proposed a mobile app that allows students and faculty to find cheaper food options off-campus. Davie, CEO and founder of InSite, proposed a mobile app that delivers information to tourists about interesting places to visit using user photos and phone locations.
Honorable mentions were given to Andrew Jenkins ‘18 and Gordon Gellert ’18.
Student business plans were judged on criteria ranging from presentation skills and financial projections to how well the student researched potential competitors.
“The Computing Entrepreneurship Competition is a great venue for our students to present their business ideas in front of a panel of local entrepreneurs,” said Dr. Simona Doboli, the computer science professor who organized the event. “In this process they get feedback on the soundness and marketability of their ideas and advice on how to get started.”
All competition participants are students in Foundations of Leadership and Innovation in Computing (CSC 194), developed and taught by Dr. Edward Currie, associate professor of electrical engineering and adjunct computer science professor. The course teaches students about each phase of a business start-up, how to pitch their ideas and how to develop a prototype. Students in the course are mentored by local entrepreneurs.
Judges for the competition were Peter Goldsmith, president of LISTnet and director of Long Island Venture Group, Paul Trapani, vice-president of LISTnet, co-founder of XT Group, and a Hofstra alumnus, Walden Leverich, CEO of Tech Software and Jaqueline Hsu, co-founder of ParkMii, young entrepreneur in residence at Hofstra Center for Entrepreneurship and chairman of Hofstra’s Nextgen Advisory Board.