The sprint kicked off Day 1 with a presentation from SeventySix Capital, featuring Develin and managing partner Wayne Kimmel. A three-time Super Bowl champion, Develin spoke about his tech experience from his days in the NFL, utilizing wearables without fully understanding what was being done with the data collected.
“It’s no secret that we are at a very interesting time for the immersion of technology in sport,” Develin said. “We’re seeing new, innovative ideas embed themselves into the landscape to help athletes and coaches, of all types, train and play their sports with more efficiency.
“I admire the faculty and students at Villanova for their forward thinking in getting the Sports Tech Sprint together,” he added. “That level of exposure to this growing industry is what is necessary to drive more and more cutting-edge innovation from the brightest and best among us.”
After receiving details of the design process from Adjunct Professor Michelle Histand, executive director of the M. Night Shyamalan Foundation, the students got to work developing their products—while also identifying their team values and unique selling points. Their ultimate goal was a tech design at the “sweet spot” intersection of feasibility, viability and desirability.
On Day 2, the teams returned to wrap up their projects and present to judges, which included Ty Jackson, head of business development for SeventySix Capital; venture partner Gene Riechers of Sands Capital; and Ed Dougherty ’69 EE, ’86 MSCS, former director of Engineering Entrepreneurship.
Corrine Sullivan, a junior Marketing major with minors in Humanities and Engineering Entrepreneurship, said she met her sprint partner, Alvin Wang, during a meet-and-greet on the first day, and the two agreed to work together during the event. Sullivan and Wang, a Finance and Business Analytics major, went on to win the sprint—and a $1,000 cash prize—with “Birdie Golf NFT Marketplace,” a project involving golf-related NFTs. “Gametime Injury Risk Assessment Technology” and “Wearables to Optimize Rower Training” took second and third place, netting their teams $750 and $500, respectively.
Sullivan was grateful to the judges for their honest feedback that helped to move her team’s idea forward, as well as to Dr. Olivier and Professor Histand for the organization of this first sprint; the Engineering Entrepreneurship minor plans to make the sprint an annual event, with the second competition set for next spring.
“From the second I walked into the Sports Tech Sprint, I felt the excitement in the air,” Sullivan said. “Overall, the experience taught us to think outside the box, practice pitching skills and network with professionals in the industry. I look forward to the next event and am grateful for the unique opportunity.”