Startups that can improve how students solve math problems, work better together in a group and even simplify grabbing lunch at the nearest food truck were the top winners at the 2017 Startup Fest hosted by Drexel University’s Close School of Entrepreneurship. More than 600 Drexel faculty, staff, students and alumni packed Behrakis Grand Hall for a chance to network with local entrepreneurs and compete for cash prizes and in-kind services to turn their business plans into successful startups.
Coming in first place of the University’s business plan competition, Project One received $12,500; TeamRate, the second-place winner, received $7,500; TruckBux came in third place and received $5,000.
Project One: is an intelligent learning platform that empowers individuals and organizations to capture and share expert knowledge in a way that’s more engaging and less confusing than the technology currently available for online learning. The software developed for Project One learns from students and adapts to their needs, finding patterns in their learning habits like a real-life teacher. Because of the interactive platform, Project One engages the student more than a typical video lecture, which is the standard for online lessons outside of the classroom. The platform uses technology that can explain to students what they are doing wrong when trying to solve a math problem, for example, while also storing data for educators to see how students are performing.
The startup was co-founded by Mansoor Siddiqui, a software engineer and 2016 graduate of Drexel’s College of Computing and Informatics, and Zafar Saifi, who graduated in 2014 from the College of Arts and Sciences with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics.
TeamRate: creates the ideal team for class projects by matching skills and personality traits with the help of artificial intelligence and the Myers-Briggs personality assessment questionnaire. It promises to turn the dreaded group project experience into successful team work.
TruckBux: the popularity of food trucks is growing, and so are the long lines. TruckBux is an app that allows customers to view participating food trucks and menus in their area and place an order for pickup. Customers can pay by either linking their credit card, Apple/Android Pay or even Venmo to their TruckBux account.
The startup was founded by Nick Nanakos and Cameron Hansen, students in Drexel’s LeBow College of Business.