A time-of-flight green laser camera company that can accurately and affordably perform subaquatic 3D modeling won the largest share of the prize money at stake in this year’s Wolverine Venture Battle at Grove City College.
Seven teams of student entrepreneurs made the final round of the annual business venture competition hosted by the College’s Center for Entrepreneurship + Innovation (E+I). They competed for a piece of a prize package worth over $32,000 in cash and in-kind services in front of a panel of 13 judges who heard the teams make the case for their ventures and decided how much to award the students.
New to the competition this year, the final round was split into two different presentations. The competitors had the chance to pitch to six of this year’s judges online, and seven judges in-person. Additionally, the in-person portion of the competition featured a panel of high school “Junior Judges,” also new to the competition this year, who were each given a small allotment of money to allocate to a team of their choice.
AquaHawk Technologies, a team comprised of Ethan Raynaud ’22, Peyton Brogan ’22, Fisher Koons ’22, Jeffrey Pew ’22, and Nicholas Sparks ‘22, garnered the largest investment and won the champion title. Judges awarded them $7,475 for their concept for a Time-of-Flight green laser camera used for underwater 3D modeling. This team, which worked in tandem with Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Dr. Luke Rumbaugh ’07, will also receive in-kind services of accounting/financial and legal consultation, free web hosting, six months access to the Patent Hacks platform, and video production assistance from StudioMe.
Other teams receiving cash prizes are:
- Selva: ($6,995) An app controlled portable greenhouse that helps academic establishments conveniently and successfully grow plants in conditions not typically suitable for plant life. Team comprised of Bailey Mantzell ’22, Benjamin Salaj ’22, Jael Compton ’22, and Lindsey Cummings ’22.
- Scootie: ($3,300) A scooter service providing a quick and fun means of transportation for the Grove City College campus. Founded by Jonathan French ‘25.
- Happy Feet: ($3,120) A foot pod that uses the sound of a runner’s feet to provide insight on form and prevent injury. Team comprised of Amanda Mayer ’22, Libby Stewart ’22, Lillian Jeynes ’22, and Nathan Warrick ‘22.
- Civitas: ($2,120) A digital platform seeking to connect community members with nonprofits and inspire social good. Founded by Molly McCommons ’25, Benjamin Anastasi ’25, and Liam Grossman ‘25.
- No, It’s You: ($1,645) An online resource and apparel brand designed to equip customers with the tools needed to recognize, address, and overcome psychological and relational abuse. Founded by Katelyn Rose Emmons ’24 and Olivia O’Brien ’22.
- DrinkFixd: ($1,320) a company providing a package of resources to help bars protect their customers from sexual assault. Founded by Gus Minotto ’24, Sarah Welker ’24, Tessa Stewart ’25, Chloe Kuhns ’25, and Oliver Schwarz ’25.
Viewers of the competition, both in-person and online, had the ability to vote for the Fan Favorite Award. This year, the crowd selected DrinkFixd as the Fan Favorite, and the team received an additional $500 prize.
Each of the seven teams that advanced to the finals made it through a rigorous evaluation by 62 independent reviewers, who scored the teams’ pitches based on criteria such as their solution to a real problem, their forecasted costs and revenue, and their competitive advantage.
For many finalists, the competition often marks the culmination of their journey through an entrepreneurial ecosystem created and managed by E+I. The prize money and in-kind services may help them fuel their commercial or social venture after graduation.
Virtual judges were Dan Creston ’81, Jeff Moxie ’80, Rick Newton ’86, Elisabeth O’Brien ’16, Bill Smith ’69, and Ben Tobias ’19.
In-person judges were Pete Durfee ’80, RJ Fryan ’08, Matthew W. Gordon, Jordyn Kemats ’03, Paul Passaro, Mark Pentz ’81, Michael Pentz ’06.
WVB sponsors included: Davevic Benefit Consultants; Wesley Family Services; S&T Bank; The Habbershon Family: Tim ’81, Grant ’06, Meredith ’07, Jonathan ’09 and Natalie ’11; John & Betsy Baun Charitable Foundation (Pittsburgh Foundation); Dan Creston ’81; Susan (Peshek ’81) and Peter Durfee ’80; Laura (Koller ’11) and RJ Fryan ’08; the Kiska Family: Stan ’85, Deanna ’87, Evan ’20 and Lauren; Jeff Moxie ‘80; Rick Newton '86; Paul Passaro; The Pentz Family: Mark ‘81, Cheri ‘79, Michael ‘06, Yvonne ‘06; Bill Smith ’69; Cedric E. Lewis, JD/MBA, Emily Geiger Creative; Patent Hacks; Pittsburgh Web Design; Sisterson & Co.; and StudioMe.
For more about The Center for E+I and to watch the recording of the final presentations, visit gccentrepreneurship.com.