Saint Francis’ newest startups were on display at Lancer Tank, where students from the Entrepreneurship and Design Thinking for Justice classes gave their best business pitches to a panel of judges and industry experts.
Lancer Tank, a “Shark Tank”-style event, was the culmination of semester-long work where students dove into concepts of design, engineering, and economics to transform their ideas into viable proposals. Among the pitches were a novel approach to storing medical information, a solution to providing affordable homes in the Bay Area, and a carpool app that can fight air pollution.
As a result of multiple iterations of their ideas, students had a better appreciation of the work required behind the scenes for successful startups to take off.
“This was an interesting exercise to see what it takes to bring an idea to fruition,” said senior Kristoffer Blomquist. His group created a box that blocks RFID signals emitted by keyless car fobs, preventing thieves from repeating the signal, opening car doors and driving a vehicle away. This idea was named “Most Business Ready.”
The opportunity for students to present ideas that can change how they live was eye-opening for them, and they learned there are innumerable ways they can apply the skills they’ve mastered. At its root, being an entrepreneur is someone who sees a problem, analyzes it, and brainstorms possible solutions.
“This class taught us that anyone has the capacity to be an entrepreneur,” said senior Navya Pariti. “Being an entrepreneur takes a lot of work, and you have to develop your skills, but that’s accessible to anyone.” Her group created a water circulation pump that allows consumers to receive hot water immediately, saving time and water. This idea was named “Most Innovative.”
There were 12 pitches, and four of them won in the categories of “Most Business Ready,” “Most Innovative,” “Biggest Social Impact,” and “People’s Choice.” These four groups will receive funding from Saint Francis to continue their start-ups and put them into practice. In addition to the four winners, there were three start-up groups that were contacted by a venture capitalist, investor, or entrepreneur in the area who would like to continue working with the groups as a mentor and potentially fund them in the future.