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OVS announces winners of pitch competition.

The Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research recently announced the winners of the second annual Ideas Solving Social and Economic Challenges student “pitch” competition.

The competition encourages IUPUI students to come up with innovative ideas to solve real-world problems through new approaches, products, services or ventures.

The 2013 ISSEC winners and their schools, degree programs, and innovative solutions are:

First place, $2,500: Brittney Parker, School of Informatics, Media Arts & Science

Penny Saver: Shopping Budget App: A smartphone application that allows people to track their total at the grocery store while scanning items in to their carts.

Second place, $1, 000: Rishi Chandra, School of Business, Business

Recycle to Earn: Idea for development of a machine and a system that would award students points for recycling on campus.

3rd Place, $500: Dominic Rigsby (also Audience Award winner, $1,000), School of Informatics, Human-Computer Interaction

Map-ivate: A community-driven mobile application that allows a user’s phone to adapt to surroundings and social environments using GPS and Fields with little to no interaction from the user.

The competition’s structure allows students three minutes to present to judges their concept or solution, without the benefit of slides or other props. According to Karen White, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research research development and commercialization facilitator and competition moderator, this “elevator pitch” format teaches students to tell their story, in a concise and persuasive manner, at a moment’s notice.

“This experience was an amazing opportunity and feeling,” Parker said. “I pitched my idea to many family and friends but of course they will be encouraging and say it’s amazing. But to actually be able to tell a bunch of people that had never heard my idea and get the feedback I did was amazing. After I pitched my idea I actually had someone find me on LinkedIn to talk about it. I actually have better goals to get this idea off the ground and running.”

A panel of expert judges from the IUPUI campus selected winning pitches to receive the awards.

“I was surprised by and delighted with the scope of ideas presented, inspired by the passion of the presenters and impressed with the preparation opportunity of ISSEC,” said Ann Wilson, a judge for the competition. “The process of the competition, start to finish, provides every participant with tools they will need to effectively present their ideas to potential funders and investors.”

Derrick Braziel, a local entrepreneur who also served as a judge, said, “I expected for many of the ideas to be under-developed, and unrealistic, but many of the ideas were not only shovel ready but had the capacity to change the world. I hope that one day I can say that I had a part in the success in many of these projects.”

The pitches from 12 finalists included a wide range of potential products, new ventures or nonprofit projects. 

“We had a great group of students presenting their interesting ideas, and a lot of good will be resulting from this effort,” said Kody Varahramyan, IUPUI vice chancellor for research.

For more information, contact Karen White at or 317-274-1083.