(Photo by Tony Abraham)
Five teams of University of Delaware undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty, pitched their startups to Tech Forum of Delaware community members on Wednesday night at UD’s Venture Development Center.
The Center is home to UD’s Horn Program in Entrepreneurship as well as the entrepreneurial community on campus.
“One of the things we pride ourselves on at the Horn Program is really trying to help our students to develop not just knowledge and skills, but also connections and access to resources,” said Horn Program Director Dan Freeman.
The pitch series was somewhat of a warmup round before the teams pitch their startups on April 28 as part of Hen Hatch, hosted by the Horn Program’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Showcase.
For additional information on the 21 teams participating in Hen Hatch, check out our coverage on semifinalists from last month.
- This team developed a liquid probiotic creamer that helps consumers get that first supplemental dose of probiotics in their coffee. Though probiotics are usually killed by heat, the team’s product has been tested to withstand coffee temps up to 200 degrees. As far as market potential goes: over 100 million people drink coffee in the U.S. alone, with 62 percent using creamer (a $3 billion industry). The probiotics industry is growing at 6.8 percent every year and projected to reach $44.9 billion by 2018.
- This team wants to bridge the gap between theory and application. STEM students, they say, are not learning practical application of theory. This is why, they say, 48 percent of STEM students either drop out of college or change majors/career paths. Their product is a web application that provides practice problems with in depth step-by-step solutions, finding exactly where users went wrong and instructing them on exactly how to fix it.
3. Projected U
- This team engineered a messaging platform for universities. Speaking from experience, the founders said universities bombard students with email, drowning actual opportunities for experiential learning in irrelevant messages. Their solution? A projector that plays relevant messages to students before class, in the form of high definition audio and video clips. They call it, “creating a culture of engagement.” The team piloted the product in eight UD classrooms. Messages received 9,000 impressions per week with 89 percent open rate. The team is looking to roll out pilots at other local schools and go campus-wide at UD. They’re also searching for a database and applications guru to lend a hand.
- The days of paper flyers are over. This app, founded by students at UD, Penn, CUNY and in Sweden, makes communications between businesses and their consumers easy and efficient. The app enables businesses to advertise special offers, while consumers can use the app to receive location-based updates on those offers in real time. Preference filters make using the app a personalized experience.
- This was the only physical invention pitched. Team members asked the audience, how do you individualize a team-oriented sport such as baseball? Their solution: a glove. But not just any glove. The Throwback attaches to the users’ throwing hand. Users place a baseball inside the glove and strap it to their wrists. Not only does it enable individuals to practice indoors and on their own, but the product actually reduces injury by decreasing deceleration stress on shoulders and ligaments. Throw the ball fluidly like you normally would without having to worry about throwing out your arm as well.
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