Daniels students pitched their startups for cash prizes at Entrepreneurship@DU’s quarterly competition

The Community Commons was overrun by young entrepreneurs, fresh lemonade and two hours of exciting innovation on Nov. 16. With poster boards displayed in a science fair layout, 28 teams pitched their startups to friends, family and industry professionals.

The room was packed as guests circled the space, talking directly to students about their business ideas. As part of the Daniels College of Business’s Fourth Industrial Revolution course (BUS 1440), students are tasked with conceptualizing a product or service that addresses a problem that needs solving. After coming up with their ideas, teams flesh out a business plan, target market and, sometimes, go as far as creating a small prototype of their product.

Not every BUS 1440 project makes it to the Madden Challenge, however. While 28 teams were invited to display their posters in the Community Commons, over 91 student teams pitched their ideas for consideration.

While guests mingled and heard from the teams, judges made their way around the room, stopping at every table to adjudicate. This quarter’s judges included Max Stiles, serial entrepreneur and founder of the app Galore; Scott Romano (BSBA 2020), CEO of Energize Colorado; Ryan Evans (MBA 2011), co-founder of Bruz Beers; and Marilyn Brock (MA 2014, MBA 2014), member of the leadership team for the Rose Young Professionals Council. They evaluated each venture on the quality of its pitch, the feasibility of its solution and the clarity of its target market, among other things.

As the judges deliberated and selected five finalists, the audience cast votes on their smartphones, pushing one additional team to the next round, where they would pitch their venture to the entire crowd. And the cherry on top: Final pitches were live streamed, raising the stakes even higher.

The six finalists were:

  • Stem Detector: allergen-detecting capsules for foods that may contain dangerous ingredients
  • SK3 Technology: 3D-printed customizable ski helmets
  • LongStoryShort: an AI-fueled legal document scanner, aimed to make lengthy “Terms and Services” documents simple, digestible and transparent to the public
  • Turning Tides: a home pool floatation device that can detect when someone is drowning, designed to ease families’ fears of young children swimming alone
  • Stroke Knot: a new kind of smart watch that can monitor oxygen saturation levels and automatically notify one’s emergency contacts in the event of a stroke
  • thePatch: a product designed to make drug overdose a thing of the past by monitoring one’s vitals and automatically administering naloxone and calling EMTs if necessary

After careful deliberation, the judges announced the winning teams:

Third place ($500 prize): Turning Tides 

Students from the Turning Tides start up pose with their third place check

From left to right: Fernando Palacios, Ashley Matthews, Lana Marshall (Photo by Cullen McHale)


Second place ($1,000 prize): LongStoryShort

Students from the Long Story Short startup pose with their second place check

From left to right: Grace Honos, Katherine Caputo, Claire McDaniel, Grace Moritz, Tess Dilzell (Photo by Cullen McHale)


First place ($2,000 prize): thePatch

Students from The Patch startup pose with their first place check

From left to right: Neil Pollard, Noah Laird, Lauren Schroeder, Emmy Miller, Ella Lokier, Megan Howell, James Prazich, Joshua Ross (Photo by Cullen McHale)