A demonstration in entrepreneurship

An important part of launching a startup is the pitch. As quickly as possible entrepreneurs must be able to describe their business ideas in a succinct and engaging way.

For the first time ever, the startups participating in the Entrepreneurs Club’s Husky Startup Challenge had the opportunity to hone their pitch skills at Demo Day on Monday evening. In addition to networking at their own booths, a student representing each startup got on the Curry Student Center Ballroom stage to pitch that business to the entire room.

“I think it went well,” said Matt Forrest, DMSB’15, of the Husky Startup Challenge team. “I think all of the startups really benefited from the program this year.”

Held every semester by the Northeastern Entrepreneurs Club, the Husky Startup Challenge supports students who want to turn an idea into a company. Through a series of boot camps, workshops, networking events, and finally Demo Day, students finish the program with a functioning business they can grow.

The Husky Startup Challenge started seven weeks ago, and Monday night 11 startups showcased their business ideas at Demo Day with the chance to win a cash prize. The Demo Day audience also voted for its favorite startup.

Taking first place was Wizio, a web-based service that its student creators say improves the apartment renting experience. Users would be able to search for available housing on the site, which aims to streamline the entire rental process and also let users rate landlords. “Almost no one enjoys the experience of finding a new apartment and signing a lease,” said Chris Canal, E’17, of Wizio.

Second place went to Soll, a location-based polling app that would allow businesses to get instant feedback from customers. The third-place startup was Studs & Peri Customized T-shirts. Enlight, an app that aims to connect students with tutors more easily, won audience favorite.

Michael Perry, DMSB’16, founded Spartan Stocks, a subscription service that simplifies stock trading for college students. He noted that the Husky Startup Challenge helped him identify the needs of users looking for a basic introduction to stock trading.

“We invested a lot of time in Spartan Core, which is our most basic-level program, because we found what is important is that initial point of contact,” Perry said.

All of the startups look to solve a specific problem, including ones that the student entrepreneurs themselves have experienced.

A skier since he was 4 years old, Kristofer Kurtin, E’17, knows the struggle of carrying around skis, poles, and boots. So he invented the Ski Caddy, a device that gives skiers the freedom to hold all their equipment in one hand. At Demo Day, he displayed a prototype, which was created using 3-D printing.

“The Ski Caddy is one size fits all,” Kurtin noted. “It can carry equipment from the time you begin skiing until you are ready to hang them up.”

And while most of the nation already has its sights on the 2016 presidential election, Ryanne Olsen, SSH’16, started Olsen Consulting to provide campaign guidance to local-level political candidates. “This is a niche that is not exploited by anyone else right now,” Olsen explained.