Seven teams of student entrepreneurs will face off on April 29 for their share of a prize package of over $27,000 in cash and over $5,000 in in-kind services in the 2022 edition of the Wolverine Venture Battle (WVB).
For students seeking a piece of the prize pool, the final round of the annual venture business model competition often marks the culmination of their journey through Grove City College’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Building on the skills they have acquired along the way, the WVB presented by the College’s Center for Entrepreneurship + Innovation (E+I) allows teams to compete for cash and in-kind services that will help them develop their commercial or social ventures.
Each team advancing to the finals has made it through a rigorous evaluation by 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.
In an effort to mimic real-world investment scenarios, this year’s finals have been split into two distinct sessions. On Monday, April 25, finalist teams will pitch to a panel of virtual judges. This session is not open to the public. Then at 1 p.m. Friday, April 29, these same teams will pitch to a panel of in-person judges in Sticht Lecture Hall of the Staley Hall of Arts and Letters on campus, with all prize winnings announced at the end of Friday’s presentations. This in-person round is open to the public.
Teams have eight minutes to make their pitches to each panel of judges who possess wide and diverse business experience. Based on the case the students have made and a brief question and answer session, the judges will decide how much, if any, of the prize pool to “invest” in the teams’ ideas. Each judge has the ability to award their share of the prize pool to the team or teams of their own choosing.
The finalists are:
- AquaHawk TechnologiesTM, a venture to use accurate and cost-effective underwater Time-of-Flight green laser cameras to perform subaquatic 3D modeling. Founders: Ethan Raynaud ’22, Peyton Brogan ’22, Fisher Koons ’22, Jeffrey Pew ’22, and Nicholas Sparks ’22.
- Civitas, a digital platform seeking to connect community members with nonprofits and inspire social good. Founders: Molly McCommons ’25, Benjamin Anastasi ’25, and Liam Grossman ’25.
- DrinkFixd, provides 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.
- Happy Feet, a foot pod that uses the sound of a runner’s feet to provide insight on form and prevent injury. Founded by Amanda Mayer ’22, Libby Stewart ’22, Lillian Jeynes ’22, and Nathan Warrick ’22.
- No, It's You, an online resource and apparel brand designed to equip customers with tools needed to recognize, address, and overcome psychological and relational abuse. Founded by Katelyn Rose Emmons ’24 and Olivia O’Brien ’22.
- Scootie, a service providing a quick and fun means of transportation for the campus. Founded by Jonathan French ’25.
- Selva, an app-controlled portable greenhouse that helps academic establishments conveniently and successfully grow plants in conditions not typically suitable for plant life. Founded by Bailey Mantzell ’22, Benjamin Salaj ’22, Jael Compton ’22, and Lindsey Cummings ’22.
The WVB will be livestreamed at 1 p.m. Friday, April 29 on E+I’s website. Everyone is welcome to watch the presentations and online viewers will also have a chance to vote for the winner of a $500 Fan Favorite award!
Virtual Judges on April 25 are Dan Creston ’81, Jeff Moxie ’80, Rick Newton ’86, Elisabeth O’Brien ’16, Bill Smith ’69, and Ben Tobias ’19. In-Person Judges on April 29 are Pete Durfee ’80, RJ Fryan ’08, Matthew W. Gordon, Jordyn Kemats ’03, Paul Passaro, Mark Pentz ’81, Michael Pentz ’06.
WVB sponsors include: 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, visit gccentrepreneurship.com.