Each semester for the past five years, teams of students from across campus at the College of Charleston have competed in Impact X Demo Day. It’s a pitch competition where students from the technology-focused Impact X program present the solutions-based companies they’ve created and vie for a share of $10,000 in prize money.
On Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, six student-teams competed. Their respective solutions ran the gamut from a platform that assists shoppers in finding locally made products to an app that enables college and high school students to clean up embarrassing content on their social media accounts.
Presenting to a packed house in the School of Business’ Wells Fargo Auditorium, these student teams not only gave their three-minute pitches, but then had to respond to questions from a five-judge panel made up of executives from Charleston’s business community. In the end, the judges were most impressed by team NAMO, four students who devised a sensor device that identifies leaking toilets and relays that information to a purpose-built app. The judges awarded NAMO $6,000 as seed money to cover business expenses as the students continue to establish their company.
According to NAMO team member Niko Basolis, an international business major, the idea for the device arose when his fellow team member Orri Weissman, a business administration major, interned with a real estate developer last summer and learned that leaking toilets can be really costly for property managers. Weissman and Basolis were joined on the team by Matt Burger, a hospitality and tourism management major, and Andrew White, a marketing major.
Second place and $3,000 went to students Joe Velazquez, Mackenzie Stall and Izzy Dubrow, whose company Hive Subleasing is based on an app that helps college students find subletters for their residences should they depart for a study abroad experience or be away more than 90 days.
Third place and $1,000 was awarded to Culturebot, a platform created by students Rosie Byrnes, Mike Grimes and Johnny Draper for the purpose of measuring employee attitudes within a business or corporate context.
For students in the Impact X program, Demo Day is the culmination of a six-credit, semester-long course that pairs students from business, technology and the arts on each team. The teams are charged with developing potential solutions for making a difference while also making a profit. The initiatives (or businesses) that the teams develop are expressly intended to address one or more of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Since its inception, Impact X teams have generated 65 different startups with over 200 students as founders.
Featured image: Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg with team NAMO students Orri Weisman, Matt Burger, Andrew White and Niko Basolis. Photo by Cole Westbrook