Freshmen Win Madden Challenge with an App for Roommates

November 21, 2014 |

Who’s going to pay for that pizza? There’s now an app for that.


Anyone who has lived with roommates or in other shared-living situations knows the drill. At one time or another, all roomies have to pitch in for cable, food, water, rent and the occasional pizza to fuel late night study sessions. But wait, we’re all out of cash. And who writes checks anymore? Three freshmen at the Daniels College of Business saw this problem as an opportunity and used it to invent the mobile app PitchMe. Their idea for shared living expenses paid via mobile took home the Madden Cup during the Madden Challenge earlier this month.

The Madden Challenge is an undergraduate case competition in which first-year business students develop and build a mobile app and present a business plan to bring it to market. A component the Gateway to Business class, the Madden Challenge was funded by a gift from John Madden, Jr., a Denver commercial real estate developer. A record 540 students enrolled in Gateway to Business in fall 2014 and competed in the Madden Challenge.

The winning team—composed of students Rachel Gustafson, Stormer Santana and Chance Morelock—created PitchMe, a group transaction application that caters to roommates. PitchMe allows roommates to create a house network and split shared costs—from food to the cable bill. As one of the five teams selected out of 120 competing teams to present in front of a panel of eight successful and serial entrepreneurs the winning team received prize money. PitchMe has been funded and is the process of developing the app for release in mid-2015.  

New to the competition this year was a separate panel of judges: ages 12 to 18 years old. The 12 teen judges selected their pick for the best app, also choosing PitchMe. Judges from the entrepreneur panel included high-profile entrepreneurs from health care, oil and gas, technology and other industries.


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