$30,000 Awarded at the Tenth Annual Fairfield StartUp Showcase

$30,000 Awarded at the Tenth Annual Fairfield StartUp Showcase

Photo of first place team at the 2022 Fairfield StartUp Showcase, Quantify

First place team at the 2022 Fairfield StartUp Showcase, Quantify

On April 27, team Quantify took first place, winning $12,500 in seed funding. Team GreenIRR took second place, winning $7,500 plus an additional $1,000 for being voted the audience favorite.

On April 27, Fairfield StartUp Showcase — the University’s entrepreneurship competition — returned live at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. At the tenth annual Showcase, first-place team Quantify won $12,500 in seed funding, and team GreenIRR took second place with winnings of $7,500 plus an additional $1,000 for being voted the audience favorite.

In total, five student teams made five-minute pitches and competed for $30,000 in seed funding in front of a live audience and a panel of investors. The event, hosted by actor and director James Naughton, was attended by 500 members of the University community, while an additional 390 viewers watched the livestream.

The investor panel featured the following alumni and business professionals: Joseph Bronson '70, principal and CEO of The Bronson Group, LLC; Chris Hillock ’00, vice president and head of portfolio development at Dell Technologies Capital; Spring Hollis, CEO and founder of Star Strong Capital; Brenda Lewis, owner of Transactions Marketing, Inc. (TMI); and Mark Selinger ’90, an advisor for multiple B2B software companies across a number of verticals helping executive teams with strategy and operations.

Up to pitch first was Celine King ’23 for team GreenIRR, a SaaS [software as a service] offering that allows private equity managers access to real-time environmental data on their portfolio companies, to ensure climate impact is tracked and goals are met. Investor panel member Brenda Lewis asked King how the GreenIRR team planned to attain real time company data from the assets under management in portfolio companies of private equity firms. King explained that the group plans to first target transportation companies that use sensor technology to report real time data on the operations of all vehicles; from market research, they are confident that portfolio managers will have access to data streams in the companies they oversee. The investor panel noted GreenIRR has a superb market opportunity and they are pleased that the team is focusing on one vertical that has an abundance of data.

All teams from the 2022 StartUp on stage

GreenIRR took second place winning $7,500 in seed funding and an additional $1,000 for being voted the audience favorite.

Second to pitch was Ashley Milone ’23 for team Present Pass, a recommendation engine that helps shoppers buy the perfect gift by matching preferences with a carefully curated selection of products. Investor panel member Spring Hollis asked Milone how the team segregates Present Pass’ revenue model. Milone explained that there are three revenue streams: users of the app who make purchases, vendors who have products that appear in the search results, and lastly data buyers who can purchase profile data. Hollis asked about privacy regulations and Milone shared that ensuring customer privacy is a priority for Present Pass. She explained that when users complete their profiles for gift buying through the app, they can select how much data they are willing to share. The investor panel agreed that the gift buying market has great potential and that the Present Pass team should spend more time articulating the market.

Present Pass was recognized with an honorable mention and received $2,500 in seed funding.

Next up was Ricky Jagroo ’22 pitching for team Village, a safe and interactive mentoring platform that connects middle school classrooms with college students engaged in service learning. Investor panel member Mark Selinger ’90 asked Jagroo if the team thinks they can really make an impact without direct access to students. Jagroo shared his personal experience of working virtually with students and teachers during the pandemic through his service learning course and emphasized the impact that mentors can have in a virtual environment. Sellinger also asked about how the team plans to sell Village to schools. Jagroo explained that they are targeting local Bridgeport, Conn. schools and that the team believes that once one school signs on, the rest in the district will follow. The investor panel applauded the Village team for pursuing such a worthy cause and suggested they spend additional time to work through their revenue model.

Village was recognized with an honorable mention and received $2,500 in seed funding.

Fourth to pitch was returning Showcase contestant Mariana Antaya ’23 for team Quantify, a cryptocurrency strategy generator deploying artificial intelligence insights to support individuals’ portfolio goals. Chris Hillock ’00 asked how the team developed their pricing model and Antaya shared that their onboarding fee is in line with competitors, and that they received input from financial advisors on their pricing model. Hollis asked about portfolio analytics and what the Quantify team is analyzing and reporting on. Antaya said that the team focuses mostly on machine learning and AI models and that they compare peer groups to see what others are investing in while also considering benchmarks and client risk appetite in order to make recommendations. The investor panel recognized the Quantify team for doing a great job of identifying a large opportunity in a big market and for being laser focused in the target buyer base.

Quantify took first place winning $12,500 in seed funding.

Finally Christian O’Rourke ’24 pitched for team Right Hand Apprentice, an online platform that connects students looking for work with homeowners looking for assistance with home projects. Joe Bronson ’70 said he believes this is a successful business model because Fairfield students make a great workforce. He continued to say that the Right Hand Apprentice team should focus on ensuring they have the right students who will do a good job for their customers, because the way to grow the business is through word of mouth. When asked about insurance O’Rourke and team member Valentina Montalvo ’23 said that they will provide general liability insurance for their apprentices while they are on the job, and that the apprentices will be considered independent contractors. Lewis commented that she believes that the trust factor among the college and surrounding community will aid in the success of the business. O’Rourke and Montalvo said the team plans to remain in Fairfield to perfect the business model and will then consider expanding to other college campuses. Bronson concluded with saying that the Right Hand Apprentice team did an excellent job and that they have an excellent concept.

Right Hand Apprentice took third place and $5,000 in seed funding.

Didn’t make it to the Showcase? You can watch the full recording at fairfield.edu/startup.

The Fairfield StartUp Showcase is the culmination of Fairfield StartUp, a year-long program that helps students develop their skills and build connections in entrepreneurship.

For questions please contact dolancommunication@fairfield.edu.

StartUp Showcase Mentors

Tags:  Dolan School,  Top Stories


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