UB elevator pitch competition winners take big ideas to small screens

Release Date: April 17, 2014 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Two business ideas for smartphone apps took first place and a prize of $1,000 each in the University at Buffalo’s second annual Elevator Pitch Competition, held April 16 in the Student Union Theater on UB’s North Campus.

Undergraduate computer science students Joel Little and Robert Barber took one of the first place prizes for their idea for Ethos Studios, which would produce customized mobile video games for business marketing. Undergraduate accounting student Brittany Popovski was the other first place winner for ULock, an app that would lock students out of their cell phones so they can focus on studying.

The winners stood out among nearly 60 UB undergraduate and graduate students who pitched business ideas with novel solutions to real-world challenges. They had just 90 seconds to convince a panel of expert judges without the use of notes, slides or other visual aids.

Second place prizes of $500 each were awarded for pitches from Andrew Harris, Fred Lee, Anish Paul Anthony and David Murphy-Longhini.

Third place winners Prince Joseph, Geoffrey Gallson, Hosein Kerdar, Evan Cerasani and Thiru Vikram Suresh, each received a prize of $200.

“The pitch competition is part of a growing effort at UB to promote entrepreneurship, to realize the promise of UB 2020 and to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Western New York,” said Yong Li, PhD, academic director of UB’s Entrepreneurship Academy and associate professor of operations management and strategy in the UB School of Management.

The competition was sponsored by the UB Entrepreneurship Academy, the UB School of Management and the UB Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach (STOR). Prizes were supported by the Bruce Holm Memorial Catalyst Fund.

UB Vice Provost Robert J. Genco and UB School of Management Dean Arjang Assad offered remarks to the competitors and audience members at the start of the event.

Judges for the competition were Andrew Shaevel, founder and CEO of Bobalew Ventures; Oded Spindel, senior venture analyst at Excell Partners; Robert Shaw, president of Superior Constructors Inc.; Diane McMahon, entrepreneurial services lead in the National Grid Program at the UB Center for Excellence; and Neil Arnold, angel investor at Western New York Venture Association.

The UB School of Management is recognized for its emphasis on real-world learning, community and economic impact, and the global perspective of its faculty, students and alumni. The school also has been ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek, the Financial Times, Forbes and U.S. News and World Report for the quality of its programs and the return on investment it provides its graduates. For more information about the UB School of Management, visit mgt.buffalo.edu.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system that is its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB’s more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

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Kevin Manne
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School of Management