What if y’could combat starvation by producin’ yer own meat ‘n potatoes—and do it right at da local food bank? Hey, I’m lookin’ at a real working prototype here. What about a solution to student debt? Or, maybe fer yer next birthday party, ever’body plays laser tag with drones? Or learns music real fast? Or gets a little help rememberin’ stuff. I can use summa that.
This ain’t no lemonade stand—I’m talkin’ serious business ventures here. One of ‘em launched her company this year and raised $250K in revenue already. Yeah, you heard right—a quarter million bucks. And she’s a high school sophomore! They’s ALL high school students! This is POWER PITCH, ‘n’ we’re at IMSA—the Illinois Math ‘n’ Science Academy. Real smart kids go here. I never seen nothin’ like it—all I remember about high school is gettin’ in trouble all da time.
I sure hope John’s cleanin’ up my language before he prints this stuff.
Editor’s Note—This is a verbatim transcript. It is the policy of this journal to do each writer justice. I might point out that Lonagan doesn’t give himself enough credit. He graduated the University of Chicago with a Masters in Finance.
We got almost 40 teams pitchin’ here, and they’s all real professional-like. One o’ da mentors flew in all the way from Silicon Valley ‘n’ spent days ‘n’ days coachin-up deeze kids. They musta worked their little tails off. Another thing I notice—seems like nowadays, kids wanna do somethin’ good fer da world, insteada da usual greed ‘n’ avarice.
They’s buildin’ a whole wing o’ da school—exclusive fer startups. And today’s winners get thousands in prize money.
Jonelis invited a couple o’ the judges ‘n’ I don’t know why he picked me but I’m glad he did. I mean, c’mon—how can a guy pass up somethin’ like this?
Sixteen of us is tryin’ t’ pick da best o’ da best. Alotta these judges is big-time professional investors I know personal-like, ‘n’ I hear ‘em sayin’ stuff like, “Deeze pitches here is better den downtown.” Sheesh, I feel like a kid in a candy store. I mean, yer lookin’ at da hope o’ tomorrow! And it happens every year!
Just take a glimpse at summa deeze startups. I put ‘em in alphabetic’ order I think. And lemme say thanks t’ Carl Heine who runs dis thing. And Jim Gerry who’s retired but can’t stay away. And Britta McKenna who’s da Chief Innovation Officer. Naturally they’s all PhDs.
- Drone Wars—Having fun with flying laser robots—Max Orr
- FlashFun—The Personalized Concierge in the palm of your hand—Palak Agarwal
- Flock—A free and efficient social media platform for easily getting together with your friends—Ben Maher, Timur Javid, Michael Dow, Shrey Patel
- HeadsUp—A projectable HUD purposed to prevent distracted driving-based accidents by keeping drivers’ eyes up and on the road—Sneha Pathuri, Ian Anderson, Andriy Sheptunov, Xinyu Guan
- Icosadeck—Icosadeck reinvents the flashcard, making it multi-sided and adding other features to let students note more information, with more organization, and more efficiency—Gunwati Agrawal
- NoteHub—A Website where students can buy and sell their school notes—Katreena Subramanian, Devan Grover
- Peanut Butter—Peanut Butter motivates Millennial employees by offering a unique benefit that reduces their student debt—Aneesh Kudaravalli, Tyler Stock
- RemindMe—You shouldn’t have to remind yourself to remember – RemindMe is a smart phone app that uses proven techniques in memory research to help you retain information longer and retrieve it faster—Ahana Narayanan
- Right Glow—Right Glow is a silicone bathmat that when stepped on glows red, providing the user with a light source that does not cause the temporary blinding sensation associated with turning on a light late at night—Luke Morrical
- Snowflake—An Automatic, not manual, fridge inventory keeper and recipe recommender—Xinyu Guan, Andriy Sheptunov
- Vestal—Social platform where you interact with other in Virtual Reality using just a smart phone and a viewer—Isabel Lee
- XYZone—Improve your pitching accuracy with the only 3D Strike Zone—Hector Correa
- AquaFood—A permaculture company proposing aquaponics as a biotechnological solution to combat starvation and environmental problems in your own neighborhood and in the world—Erol Ikiz
- Blabl—A mobile application that engages speech impaired children in conversation with a virtual pen-pal—Ayan Agarwal
- HydroHero—Generate water for the people—George Moe
- Pass Your Plate—Pass Your Plate helps businesses by taking their waste food and donating it to shelters in the area—Aneesh Kudaravalli, Tyler Stock, Shana Farhang
- SelfHealth—SelfHealth is a system that puts you in control of your own medical information—Alex Orlov
- SirenAlert—SirenAlert, is developing a Bluetooth app and signal monitoring hardware to help emergency vehicles avoid traffic collisions and improve response time by alerting even the most distracted drivers, saving lives—John Valin
- SocialGood—SocialGood translates social media activity into charitable donations utilizing social media activity—Vainius Normantas
- Thinkubator—Thinkubator is a co-curricular program that challenges students to think & solve pressing community issues, for graduation-required service hours—Sivam Bhatt and Nabeel Rashee
- The Muzic Academy—It will only take a minuet to learn, but what you learn will last a lifetime—Abinaya Ramakrishnan
- Alert—Isabella Ginnett, Ashritha Karuturi, Priya Kumar
- Ask Me 101—Rishi Modi, AJ Federici
- Circles—Julian Litvak
- FunkyPlants—Akshay Verma
- Inspire—Esther Mathew, Amahlia Su
- Lingu—Lucy Liu and Rebecca Xun
- Loop—Nicholas Rodriguez, Isaac Adorno
- LynxAll—Ankit Agarwal, Sweta Kotha
- MusiWeb—Maya Wlodarczyk
- OmNote—Claudia Zhu
- PoweritForward—Shriya Chennuru, Harshita Degala
- SlipTie—Sushil Upadhyayula, Pranav Upadhyayula
- Spatio Station—Marc Peczka
- SugarSmart!—Aimee van den Berg, Kate Rabideau, Pranav Narayanan, Abhay Gupta
- The Community—Madison Mack
Contact IMSA’s Britta McKenna at email@example.com
Photo credits – IMSA & John Jonelis
Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link. This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not our fault if you lose money.
.Copyright © 2016 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved