At the beginning of the semester, 18 ideas were floating around Northeastern. With the help of the University’s Entrepreneurs Club, the Center for Research Innovation, along with the school’s venture accelerator, IDEA, those ideas were able to turn into prototypes and business plans, ready to be demoed at last night’s fourth Husky Startup Challenge.
“We’re taking the students who have that idea, and giving them the resources and help they need,” said Cory Bolotsky, director of the Husky Startup Challenge. “We show students it’s possible to be an entrepreneur.”
Over the course of the semester, students worked through a series of boot camps, workshops and networking events to be able to present their project to a room full of judges looking to reward them with a piece of $5,500.
Judges this year included Gus Weber, entrepreneur-in-residence at Dogpatch Labs; Cort Johnson, co-founder of Terrible Labs; Ryan Durkin, COO of CampusLIVE; Jonathan Kay, founder of Apptopia; Stephen Douglass, founder of Young Impact; Aaron O’Hearn, program manager at Techstars Boston; and Jeremy Weiskotten, director and principal rails developer of Terrible Labs.
Northeastern President Joseph Aoun also paid a visit, claiming “the world is about innovation,” and it needs to be fostered. “You need to start as early as possible, and that’s what we’re doing here,” he said.
HardBoil took the third place prize, $1,000. Looking to help companies create enterprise applications in record time, HardBoil aims to translate business requirements into solid tests that validate what developers create.
Snagging second place, and $1,500, was Scoop, There It Is, a hip-hop ice cream truck. Serving up flavors like Milli Vanilla, Sir Twix-a-lot, and PB & Jay-Z, Scoop, There It Is, is hoping to hit the city’s streets soon, serving up old-school hip hop and homemade ice cream.
Another fan favorite, being awarded the Audience Choice award and $1,000, was Sweet Therapy, a ‘bakery’ that provides cupcakes to cure every Northeastern student’s cravings. Every two months, three different flavors are featured, providing the ultimate pick-me-up to anyone on campus.
Although it started merely as an idea, third-year student Angela Han said winning the audience’s vote, “gives us the confidence this could take off.”
Walking away with the grand prize of $2,000, however, was Lens Caddy, a device that helps photographers with interchangeable-lens cameras manage lenses by holding lenses by their mounts, eliminating the rear lens-caps that often slow down the process.
Freshman Preston Turk, the mastermind behind Lens Caddy, said he developed the product merely because he wanted one, admitting that even if the money had gone to waste, at least he’d have what he needed. Now, though, he hopes to bring the Lens Caddy to everyone over the summer.
“Year after year, it’s unbelievable to see how much better it gets,” said Greg Skloot, president of the Entrepreneurs Club.
And Bolotsky couldn’t have agreed more. “I’m excited the students walked out of here feeling like entrepreneurs.”