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ESCALATE Students Develop Winning Startup Idea

Monday, May 22, 2017
ESCALATE Group

Tech Horizons: Students participating in the ESCALATE program showcased their entrepreneurial skills by developing award-winning projects during this year’s Startup Weekend Purdue University.

A team consisting of first year and sophomore ESCALATE program students earned first-place honors during Startup Weekend Purdue University April 21-23 in West Lafayette, Ind.

The competition challenged students to turn ideas into possible startup enterprises. They had to validate a problem, develop a business model, and then craft and deliver a pitch before a panel of experts in their respective fields. Participants also had a chance to network with experienced entrepreneurs and other entrepreneurial students.

The winning proposal was a device that would connect multiple playlists from iPhones through multiple Bluetooth technology speakers. It was developed by the TuneBridge team of first-year students Cameron Perl, Carson Thrift and Shrey Turakhia, and sophomores Umang Bhatia and Wyatt Lewis.

The team has been invited to pitch their idea to venture capitalists this June at the INX3, a multi-day event in Indianapolis that brings together Venture Club’s Innovation Showcase with TechPoint’s Winners’ Circle, along with other entrepreneurial and innovation-focused community events.

Placing second was the College Wallet team of Rose-Hulman sophomores Luke Brady and Shubhankar Gandhi, along with several Purdue students. The team’s project proposal would replace student identification cards with a virtual iPhone card.

The ESCALATE program helps nurture students develop an entrepreneurial mindset that is focused on identifying market opportunities, developing innovative solutions and capturing value to build companies and industries. In the first year, students live together in a common residence hall, take a series of three courses, and participate in co-curricular activities related to entrepreneurship.