Apex Center Entrepreneur Challenge
March 6, 2020
The 2020 Virginia Tech Entrepreneur Challenge was won by QuickTech, a business and engineering team that took the grand prize of $15,000 for its medical technology venture.
Eight teams made it to the final round of the campus-wide student startup competition in February. The teams competed for recognition of their initiatives as the best business model and a chance to win up to $40,000 in cash awards and prizes.
The event, organized by the Apex Center for Entrepreneurs, brought together students, successful alumni-entrepreneurs, and industry partners to discover the best new ventures at Virginia Tech and learn from the judges’ entrepreneurship expertise and experience.
The judges were Chiny Driscoll, founder and CEO, MetiStream; Eric Heffernan principal, Grant Thornton; Fourd Kemper, partner, Woods Rogers LLP; Rob Cummings, co-founder, Deal Cloud, and managing director, Falfurris Capital Partners; Russ Thomas, CEO, Availity Health; and Sean Finney, senior consultant, Appian.
The event was sponsored by 1901 Group, Grant Thornton, Woods Rogers, and Silicon Valley Bank.
QuickTech comprises Pamplin student co-founders Glenn Feit, a management major, and Gregory Grande, a marketing major, and fellow team members Jacob Merizian and Thomas Grady, from the College of Engineering. Their venture aimed to “facilitate faster, easier, and more affordable orthopedic recovery through new technologies, including 3D scanning, computer vision, and artificial intelligence.”
Second-place winner Scientiach won $10,000 for its proposed autonomous vehicle to sample soil. Third-place winner Lookbook won $5,000, pitching a mobile-friendly marketplace for renting and selling clothing. Fan favorite LUV won $5,000 for its proposed sun protective and sustainable clothing line.
“These student teams really embody our mission of putting passion, purpose, and ideas into action,” said Apex Center director Sean Collins.
Noting the competitors’ drive and motivations, Collins stressed that none get course credit for participating. “These teams have undergone a rigorous application and grooming process, because they have a deep desire to create something new. They are here to move their concept forward and, with it, create value, in the form of new products and services and jobs,” Collins said.
“That’s the essence of entrepreneurship.”