Updated March 25 at 12:26pm

Biz plan announces elevator pitch contest winners


PROVIDENCE – The idea for a backpack lock for urban travelers earned top marks at the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition’s seventh annual Elevator Pitch Contest Wednesday night.

The event, which was held at Johnson & Wales University’s Harborside Campus, drew 46 established and aspiring entrepreneurs presented their business ideas to a panel of judges.

“Everyone, including the many who just came to watch and listen, learned how a well crafted pitch can make a huge difference in a company’s ability to attract investors, partners, and employees,” Competition Co-chair Larry Davidson, principal with Kahn, Litwin, Renza & Co. Ltd, said in a statement.

David Emanuel, a senior undergraduate mechanical engineering student at Brown University earned the top spot for Lock’d, a system that allows urban travelers to attach their backpacks to stationary objects like hostel beds and train seats.

“With even just a little bit of funding we will fully develop a working prototype, enabling Lock’d to give travelers what they deserve: a worry-free and relaxing adventure,” said Emanuel in a statement.

According to competition release, the presenters represented a wide range of ages and “came from many walks of life.”

Each pitch participant had 90 seconds to present a business idea to a panel of expert judges from the Rhode Island business community, who then provided constructive feedback telling presenters what they did well and how they could improve their pitch.

“The judges helped the presenters understand the importance of stating a problem, explaining why their solution is better than anything now available, and how their solution will make money,” competition co-chair Peggy Farrell, partner in the law of firm of Hinckley Allen & Snyder LLP, said in a statement.

A total of $1,000 in cash prizes was awarded to the top 10 presenters.

In addition to Emanuel, the other winning presenters included:

  • Harry Shamir of Carver, Mass. – SaEF Technologies, a wireless scoring system to make fencing competitions safer.

  • Cory Abbe, Brown University – Sonacatch 3D Complete Trawl Sonar System, an all-inclusive trawl sonar system that keeps underwater fishing nets safe from harm.

  • Tim Kwak, Brown University – SEVA, a software that will allow mariners to indicate their preferred content to be broadcast on a satellite network.

  • Tara Comer of Warwick – RYSE, a structured wellness program to active women, in the prime of life.

  • Nishant Sharma of East Greenwich – Easy Island Inc., a Rhode Island company that makes biodegradable and compostable, plates made from the fallen leaf sheaths of the Areca Palm tree.

  • Isha Gulati, Brown University – Resolute Racing Shells, a power output meter that delivers key readings of power output of oarsmen.

  • Cliff Weitzman, Brown University – BoardBrake, an attachable brake for longboards to make skateboarding safer.

  • Sidney Kushner, Brown University – CCChampions, a nonprofit corporation tho build a national network that links children with cancer to professional athletes.

  • Andrew Mallon of Lincoln – Calista Therapeutics, a recently established Rhode Island company that develops inhaled peptide therapeutics to treat cystic fibrosis.


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