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Engineering Students Among Winners of 2020 Pitch Day Competition

Yeray Lopez ‘20 CpE

It should come as no surprise that each year, Villanova Engineering students are well represented among the winning teams on the University’s annual Pitch Day. Pitch Day, hosted by the Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship Institute, gives students from across the University’s schools and colleges the opportunity to showcase their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, while gaining real-world experience in building an idea from the ground up.

Traditionally held annually on campus in April, the highlight of the daylong event is the Villanova Student Entrepreneurship Competition (VSEC), in which student entrepreneurs present original ideas and prototypes to a panel of alumni and guest judges involved in business development, investments, marketing and technology. In addition to the $10,000 that are awarded to student startups through VSEC, students received invaluable feedback from mentors and advisors that can help advance their ideas.

This year, in light of COVID-19 restrictions, collaboration among teammates in the final month of preparation, as well as the awards presentation itself, were conducted virtually. College of Engineering students recognized in VSEC included:

  • Aldo Pierini ‘21 CE and Anthony Etim ‘21 EE, members of team Feastimate, winners of the $500 Klingler Unitas prize for cross campus collaboration. Feastimate seeks to reduce food waste by automating the process of forecasting food demand using an algorithm to predict the number of customers that will come to a food establishment and how much food should be prepared for a specific day based on parameters like the meal of the day and time of year.

  • Matthew Peterson ‘17 ChE, ‘20 MSSE and Michael Valentine ‘19 ME, ‘20 MSME for Farmacy+, winners of the $500 Halloran Social Venture prize. Farmacy+ is a circular food and beverage company launching with oat milk. Their unique strategy involves production in partnership with local dairies and cobranding the final product.

  • Yeray Lopez ‘20 CpE, Veronica Gedal ‘20 EE and James Pedersen ‘20 EE won 2nd place and $3,000 for Better Bees. Better Bees is a service-based autonomous pollination solution that aims to fill the demand presented by the declining bee population. It uses drones to pollinate efficiently and quickly compared to the competition by using computer vision techniques and data analytics.

Pitch Day also included announcement of the winners of:

  • The $5000 Meyer Innovation and Creative Excellence Grand Prize, which recognizes a student whose spirit of innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship enhances Villanova University. This year’s winner: Yeray Lopez ‘20 CpE
  • Mobile Applications Competition: Pill Partners, which includes Computer Engineering juniors Lauren Scalice and Sean Lane, ensures patients take their medications on time, utilizing notification and picture validation to help streamline the caregiving process.

An ICE Institute video features all 2020 Pitch Day winners.

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