College of Business

From Networking Bracelets and Virtual Reality Apps to Shark Resistant Wetsuits, Entrepreneurship Students Present Their Best Business Pitches

Elevator Pitch Contest Winners left to right: Koichi Matsumoto (People's Choice); David Chalem (1st Place); Dane Lewis (2nd Place); Brian Coehoorn (3rd Place); Paige Lowell (3rd Place); Marshall Abele (3rd Place).

Elevator Pitch Contest Winners left to right: Koichi Matsumoto (People's Choice); David Chalem (1st Place); Dane Lewis (2nd Place); Brian Coehoorn (3rd Place); Paige Lowell (3rd Place); Marshall Abele (3rd Place).

Entrepreneurship students across disciplines joined the College of Business’ Center for Entrepreneurship for the second-ever Chico State Elevator Pitch Contest, which challenged students to present their best business concept in under 90 seconds.

The event was held Wednesday, November 16, in Colusa Hall on the Chico State campus. The event attracted a large audience of business and non-business majors, leaving Colusa Hall overflowing with spectators.

Chico’s own T Bar & Fusion Café sponsored the event and donated the initial prize money, as well as gave a $10 gift certificate to the T Bar & Fusion Café to each contest participant.

A panel of highly successful business leaders served as judges for the contest, including Trevor Sanders of Sanders Consulting Group; Chico State alumnus Robert Strazzarino of College Scheduler; Marcy Sutcliffe of Five Star Bank; Roy Cook of OLLI; Richard DeVaney, a retired Silicon Valley executive; and Beth Lamberson of NSPR.

Students presented a variety of business concepts, from a solar still to help water-poor countries purify water, a virtual reality application that makes it possible to see creations in real dimension within the space, and a video game concept that pits mimes against mobsters.

David Chalem giving his business pitch

David Chalem presenting his business pitch PLUR Technologies.

Business major David Chalem took first prize with his business concept PLUR Technologies, a technology that attaches a unique QR code to bracelets that connect to a social profile. This allows for rave attendees and partygoers to network easily in large chaotic events by exchanging bracelets. Consumers are able to make connections later, leave comments about other ravers, and recommend specific partygoers.

Dane Lewis took second place with his business concept Shark Suit, a wetsuit designed completely to resist shark attacks. Three students tied for third place, including Marshall Abele with his business concept VRPS, a virtual reality program for people with public speaking anxiety; Paige Lowell for her business concept of a private charter school for people with dyslexia; and Brian Coehoorn with his business concept SprockLock, a bike lock sold to bicycle manufacturers that completely immobilizes a bicycle when the lock is triggered. Koichi Matsumoto won the popular vote from audience members with his business concept for Coexist Café, a café designed to teach customers sign language during their visits.

The five winners will have the chance to compete at the Center for Entrepreneurship’s spring Pitch Party in April 2017, where students will again compete against their peers for prizes and entrepreneurial glory.

Peter Straus
Center for Entrepreneurship
College of Business

Kelsey Taylor Horne
College of Business

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Persons with disabilities who need accommodations or have questions about physical access may call the program sponsoring the event or call Accessibility Resource Center at 530-898-5959.