On April 5th, Blackstone Launchpad Held our annual Innovation Competition where two rounds of “Shark Tank” styled business pitches by 22 teams of students were judged by around a dozen judges. In this competition, students participating were competing for $7,500 in cash and prizes.
Coming out on top of the competition was April Meerson and her online marketplace for students called “StudentsSellShit”. Meerson ended up winning $3,000 dollars for her business. The concept behind the name is in because in Meerson’s words “We wanted to be different…We’re marketing our product to college students. They don’t care if there’s profanity in the name”.
Second Place was won by Elaine Essien and her business “E’mmaculate Minks”, which specializes in selling high quality cruelty-free mink hair eyelashes made for long term use. Essien said the lashes last for approximately five months of use and each pack sells for $38 each.
The third-place finalist was Ahmed Hussain, with his “li-fi” data transfer business “Lumina Reality”. As described by Hussain, “li-fi” is a new emerging technology which allows data transfer through lights. Hussain said that his business would be applicable for museums where certain lights set up around the museum would trigger events on someone’s handheld device like a phone or a tablet. This would mean if guests in a museum walk with a provided tablet around the museum then events will trigger when walking close to certain exhibits.
The other two of the five finalist groups were John Onanuga with his YouTube talk show called “BehindTheFlash”, as well as Nueci Rojas and Luc Sandler with their app called “PaperTalk”. Onanuga’s talk show, “BehindTheFlash”, aims to interview young entrepreneurs and other professionals about their journey to success while trying to give tips to aspiring students who are building their path to success. Rojas’ and Sandler’s app, “PaperTalk”, is an app targeted for students where a student can speak into their device and dictate papers or essays for a class with the ease of not writing.
Congratulations to all 22 teams of students who were brave enough to test their businesses in front of the panel. If you did not win any prizes this year then there will always be next year to try again. While winning is helpful it is the experience of doing a business pitch that helps all aspiring businesses.