Vying for $75,000 in cash and essential business services, four student teams will present their best pitches to a panel of expert judges at the finals of the Joust New Venture Competition April 11 at 3 p.m. The event, presented by Viatek, is open to the public and will take place at the FAIRWINDS Alumni Center on the UCF main campus. 

The four teams remaining from the original 16 semifinalists are: 

Brite
Founders: Senior integrated business major Jake Hartigan, Alexandra Kalyuzhnaya and Alex Petukhov.
Brite aims to build the foundation for crowdfunding platforms globally and empower individuals and communities with the freedom to fund projects they believe in. The startup prides itself in the opportunities it will bring customers in the form of education/consulting and investment opportunities. 

Omnimodal
Founders: Texts and technology doctoral student David Thomas Moran ’14MFA and art major Nathan Selikoff ’04, a Burnett Honors Scholar.
Omnimodal works with Smart Cities to connect all commuters across all modes of transportation with high-quality, multimodal data to the Mobility as a Service (MaaS) marketplace. Mobilize by Omnimodal is both a “Smart Cities” mobility dashboard and commuter, navigation app. The dashboard empowers the staff to make real-time decisions, while the app captures commute trend data that helps city staff to better understand commuter needs and desires.

Ridesurf
Founders: Junior computer science major Briana “Breezy” Baldwin and senior information technology major Eliecer Vera.
Ridesurf is working to connect long-distance (50+ miles) drivers with long-distance riders by allowing the driver to sell the extra seats in their car to available riders. This provides the drivers as well as the riders a less expensive and more social way to travel, while being more environmentally friendly. 

Wawwe, Inc.
Founders: Senior photonic science and engineering major Rafaela Frota, senior mathematics major Isaac Vaughn and junior computer science major Jarod Smith.
Wawwe is a personalized assistance program for patients diagnosed with diet restricting chronic illnesses by providing them with the knowledge of which food choices will optimize their individual health when grocery shopping, searching for recipes, or enjoying a night out at a new restaurant. 

“In addition to representing a diverse set of industries, this group of finalists each presented strong venture proposals that will make the finals a very tough competition.” – Cameron Ford, director of the UCF Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership

“Our semifinalist competitors put everything they had into their presentations and that impressed the judges across the board,” says Cameron Ford, director of the UCF Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. “In addition to representing a diverse set of industries, this group of finalists each presented strong venture proposals that will make the finals a very tough competition. I’m also pleased that several semifinalists took advantage of the free, one-on-one coaching offered by the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars to aid in turning their ideas into fully operational businesses.” 

“We are pleased to partner with UCF to provide students with the opportunity to compete in the Joust,” says Lou Lentine ’93, president of Viatek Consumer Products Group and a UCF College of Business graduate. “Every day, Viatek works with entrepreneurs and inventors from around the world to develop innovative products. Naturally, I welcomed the chance to return to my alma mater to support the next generation of UCF entrepreneurs.” 

The Joust New Venture Competition presented by Viatek is UCF’s premier startup showcase event, hosted by UCF’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and featuring students of all majors. Competitors present their models for a viable business venture and compete to win money and other vital resources to pursue their venture. The Shark Tank-style event celebrates student entrepreneurs, introduces them to community leaders and provides key resources to help launch their ventures. The Joust is open to all UCF students and all types of venture proposals. 

A panel of expert professionals representing corporate partners, area businesses, and alumni assesses the students’ business plans. This year’s presenting sponsor is Viatek. Supporting sponsors include 321 The Agency, BDO, Blezoo, Burr & Forman, Microsoft, Nperspective LLC and South Street & Co. 

 

The Joust New Venture Competition takes place on April 11 at 3 p.m. and is open to anyone who’d like to attend. To RSVP for the free event, visit the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership’s site here.