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Villanova University Students Win Prizes for Entrepreneurial Ideas

vsec winners holding trophy

Villanova, PA, May 28, 2013 – A cross-college group of four students took home first place in the 2013 Villanova Student Entrepreneurship Competition (VSEC) for their business idea, Fun Run. Tom Belatti ’13 COE, Oliver Herder ’13 LAS, Holly Imamura ’13 VSB and Ben Smith ’14 LAS collaborated to create Fun Run, which is a competitive, socially-driven mobile application. The application is designed to motivate people to exercise by generating “flags” users must reach during their run, with each flag increasing his or her score. The Fun Run creators won $5000 for first place.

The second and third place VSEC winners were Maestro and Du Riz Huller 1000, respectively. Maestro, created by Chris Mederos ’15 VSB and MJ Schanne ’15 VSB, is a tablet application that uses sound recognition technology to minimize the difficulties and inaccuracies of physical sheet music. Features include turning digital pages, indicating incorrect passages played and synchronizing an entire ensemble for wide scale feedback. Du Riz Huller 1000 removes the outer shell of rice grains before they are edible, and is a portable and inexpensive option for developing nations’ rice farmers. That team was comprised of Warren Chan ’14 COE, Frederick Hesse-Tetteh ’14 COE and Joseph Reckamp ’14 COE.

VSEC was founded in 2009 by two engineering graduate students, Ronald Warzoha and Timothy Montalbano. Created as an extracurricular, entrepreneurial experience exclusive to University students, the competition runs the course of one semester, allowing students across various academic disciplines to collaborate and develop innovative ideas that seek to fill a need in today’s world. Participating students work together and communicate via IdeaBounce®, an online software platform used to develop ideas, pool resources and submit finalized proposals. Submissions begin with a brief summary and “elevator pitch,” followed by an executive summary several weeks later. The finalists pitch their ideas in a live, board-room setting to investors on Pitch Day, held annually in the spring.

VSEC is organized by the University’s Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship, and is run by Warzoha and Beyond Ideas, a campus-wide committee comprised of staff and faculty representatives.

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