With an idea for a lightweight technology that helps reduce the size and weight of batteries that soldiers carry to power communications equipment in the field, electrical engineering student Joe Sleppy’s Capacitech Energy, LLC, won the annual UCF Joust New Venture Competition on Friday, April 15.
Capacitech Energy beat out three other teams to take home $12,000 in cash and about $60,000 in essential business services in the Shark Tank-like contest where students pitch judges on their business ideas.
“We know we have a long road ahead of us, but my team and I have predicted that our company will be profitable,” said Sleppy, CEO of the company that produces a cable-based super capacitor that simultaneously stores and transports electricity. Sleppy said his team plans to develop the product for the Department of Defense and then eventually expand other applications including hybrid vehicles.
David Nash’s IDem finished second with his venture that would provide law enforcement with a more accurate drug testing system. Ben Gauthier’s Talking Stick, an app that lets users watch or join live conversations, was third followed by Arielle Cohen’s and Zachary Shea’s Zuke Music, a web and mobile platform for music creation, collaboration and promotion.
“The students who participate in the Joust have the creativity and resourcefulness to develop new venture proposals, and the courage needed to take the stage and present their ideas to business leaders and hundreds of students,” said Dr. Cameron Ford, director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. “Other students should be inspired by the achievements of these brave Knights.”
The Joust is one of the premier events of the UCF College of Business’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. Students present their models for a viable business venture and compete to win money and other resources to pursue their venture. The Joust is open to all UCF students and all types of venture proposals.
The students’ business plans are assessed by a panel of expert professionals representing corporate partners, area businesses and alumni. This year’s judges were Robert Bobroff, ’95, publisher of the Orlando Business Journal; Chip Headley, ’78, founder and managing partner, Simonson Road Partners, LLC; UCF College of Business Hall of Famer Laurette Koellner, ’77; Joe Melbourne, president and CEO, CFE Federal Credit Union; and Russell Slappey, CEO and managing partner, Nperspective, LLC.
The Joust’s presenting sponsors were Steve Felkowitz, ’79, DigiThinkIT, Inc., and Jim Balaschak, ’86 and ’92, and Debbie Balaschak,’88. Additional sponsors included Anidea Engineering, Inc., BDO, Burr+Forman, LLP, CoLab, Hill Printing, Nperspective, LLC., ROI Design and William Hendrickson Consulting.