Four UCF student teams will face off this Thursday, April 13, in a Shark Tank-style showdown with $50,000 in cash on the line at the Joust New Venture Competition. The students will present business proposals in industries ranging from hard seltzer to artificial intelligence (AI) technology before a panel of judges starting at 2 p.m., at the Celeste Hotel on UCF Main Campus. The event is free and open to the public.
The Joust New Venture Competition is UCF’s premier startup showcase event, hosted by the UCF College of Business’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and Blackstone Launchpad. The event features students from various majors and all types of venture proposals. Competitors present their models for a viable business and compete to win money and other vital resources to pursue their venture. The event celebrates student entrepreneurs, introduces them to community leaders and provides key resources to help launch their ventures.
Advancing beyond a roster of 16 semifinalists, the four teams competing in the Joust finals are:
Certusa AI (Arash Raftari, Yaser Fallah): Certusa AI has developed state-of-the-art AI technology for evaluating the value and risk of life insurance policies based on the policyholder and provider information. The company’s solution can be used by the individual policyholder (policy seller) and the life settlement companies or third-party investors (policy buyers). They offer the next generation of data-driven life policy evaluation technology.
HireMatch (Justin Press, Georgia Russell, Kaleo Phoenix): HireMatch helps companies using applicant tracking systems in their hiring process prevent the increasing percentage of under-qualified job applicants who make it through the system. HireMatch incorporates a counter keyword based screening algorithm and acknowledgement of similar skills to the description / qualifications section, resulting in a higher overall quality candidate pool and less time spent weeding out unfit candidates.
PostFlight (Tyler Worrall): PostFlight is a mobile app that connects pilots to share flight time and reduce both their training costs and carbon footprint by 50%. The app helps pilots find suitable partners to share flight time with and fosters a sense of community within the aviation industry. This innovative approach to pilot networking makes it easier and more convenient to coordinate flight sharing.
VIP Hard Seltzer (Connor Huseman, Nicholas Martins, Marco Manfredi): VIP Hard Seltzer is the first hard seltzer based on collagen protein, aiming to cater to health-conscious consumers while enhancing taste with flavored collagen concentrate. The unique combination of components has enabled VIP Hard Seltzer to outclass other products in the market, with a 7% alcohol content in a 12-ounce can, while retaining a crisper and more flavorful experience.
A panel of expert professionals representing corporate partners, area businesses and alumni will assess the students’ business plans. This year’s final judges will be College of Business Hall of Famer and retired Vice Chair at Deloitte LLP Jessica Blume ’80; Voloridge CMO Sean Hayes ’95; Hall of Famer and former Executive VP and Office of the Chairman for Boeing Laurette McPartland Koellner ’77; Voloridge CEO Barry Miller ’95; and Addition Financial President and CEO Kevin Miller.