Before the night even started, the Rafik B. Hariri Building’s Fisher Colloquium pulsated with entrepreneurial spirit. From my seat, I heard the participants’ friends and colleagues networking with one another, participants practicing their pitches, and the occasional nervous joke to calm the nerves.
Startup Hoyas’ President, Beatrice Fabris (COL ’16) shed some light on the pressure the students were feeling. “The Rocket Pitch is a fast-paced burst into the world of entrepreneurship and gives undergraduate and graduate students a real taste of what its like to pitch to investors.”
Each of the 29 student start-ups would only get two-minutes to present their companies to the panel of 15 established entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, lawyers, and executives. The students’ only aid was a slide with a picture of their company’s logo on it, and if they went over time, would be notified by the clanging of the gong in the back of the room.
The night was filled by passionate and courageous Hoyas, ranging from freshmen to graduate students, and all furiously pitched in pursuit of the grand prize of $1000 and a design workshop with the event’s sponsor, EchoUser.
The pitches ranged from chocolate-covered espresso beans to a social networking app for dog owners, but the company and entrepreneur that stole the show was Eric Wu (SFS ’17) and his application, AudioFork. With the application, Wu sought to answer chefs’ problem of navigating cookbooks with dirty hands in the midst of cooking. AudioFork provides users with a library of audio-guided recipes and voice command technology, which lets users follow their favorite cookbooks without worrying about making a mess.
Upon his victory, Wu said, “I can’t overstate how valuable it is to have a support network like StartupHoyas at Georgetown – it feels great to have your work validated.”
Wu was not the only victor of the night, as Scott Goldstein (SFS ’16) took second place for his water-conserving toilet, Smart Toilet, and the People’s Choice Award winners Dara Ladjevardian (COL ’19) and Kamar Mack (COL ’19) for their app, OneTouch, a described “Uber for charity” that allows users to send meals to the homeless from their phones.
(From left) Dara Ladjevardian (COL ’19), Kamar Mack (COL ’19), Eric Wu (SFS ’17), and Scott Goldstein (SFS ’16) holding the spoils of victory.