Categories:  Campus, Students

Aspiring entrepreneurs make their pitches

Concept 2 Venture 2015 winners

Aman Choudhury (left) and Roy Moran won the top prize. Photo: Joshua Clark/UIC Photo Services

 

Aspiring entrepreneurs pitched their ideas to judges for a chance to win up to $5,000 at UIC’s Concept2Venture Startup Challenge business plan competition April 17.

Thirty-five semifinal teams — students and alumni from nine different colleges — presented startup ideas in 60-second elevator pitches before a packed house in Lecture Center A.

After the semifinals, seven teams remained to compete for the grand prize. Their ideas ranged from a process that recycled waste material into micron-sized carbon spheres, to an app-based consulting service to improve sports performance and health.

“C2V showcases the talent, tenacity, creativity, courage and entrepreneurial spirit that pervades UIC,” said Nancy Harvey, executive director of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, which hosted the event. “It’s a real thrill to see the vast diversity of the UIC community brought together by the zeal to launch a startup and the passion for making a difference.”

Concept 2 Venture

Graduate student Jamie Rayahin makes a presentation for Little Genius Games, second-prize winner. Photo: Joshua Clark/UIC Photo Services

Anautomy, an auto repair price aggregator, won the top prize of $5,000.

“We attribute our success at C2V to our belief that Anautomy has the capability to be a disruptive force in the auto repair sector,” said Aman Choudhury, Anautomy co-founder and business grad. “We have the capacity to significantly change how auto repair is done and how the public views the entire experience overall.”

Choudhury and Anautomy co-founder Roy Moran, an engineering undergrad, received help from strategic adviser Hrish Lotlikar, managing director of the early-stage venture capital funds Startup Labs and EastLabs.

The second place prize of $2,000 went to Little Genius Games, a platform for interactive digital educational games. GPS Campus, a free app to help students make the most of their college experience, won $1,000 in the elevator pitch/fan favorite category.

SOUK, a platform bridging Middle East artisans to North American consumers, won $500 in the best early venture category. The remaining finalists each won $500.

The 10th C2V was the biggest to date, with more than 60 teams.

“For me, perhaps the most exciting aspect is realizing that through these startups, UIC students not only bring innovation to life, but they find paths that transform their lives and make an enduring social and commercial contribution to the greater community,” Harvey said.

C2V was sponsored by the College of Business Administration, Caterpillar, the Coleman Foundation, Microsoft, Brightstar Corp., 7 Wire Ventures, TLC Management, FONA International, Trillium and Rabine Group.