CICS Students Among Innovation Challenge Finalists

Innovation Challenge

On Feb. 28, 2018 seven out the twelve teams participating in the Innovation Challenge semi-finals advanced to the final round.

The Innovation Challenge, put on by Isenberg School of Management's Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship, is a four-part entrepreneurial competition. The participants are comprised of University of Massachusetts Amherst students from all different areas of campus who are competing for funding to aid their start-ups.

The early rounds, the minute pitch and seed pitch competitions, took place during the fall 2017 semester. The semifinal round had the student-led teams pitching their endeavors to a panel of judges in closed-door environment to imitate what an investor boardroom may feel like.

Computer science majors were part of two of the teams advancing to the final round.

Guide Dog, a navigation tool designed for blind and visually impaired people, works to guide users by recognizing people, objects, and text in their path so they can commute independently. Computer science majors, Shardool Pathak and Varun Iyer, are among Guide Dog's designers, along with engineering student Achintya Kumar and finance student Rohan Teja Ramesh.

Students aim to make travel banking easier with TernBooking, an online bank that rewards users a percentage of their travel savings. Paul Maurais and Sepehr Sokhanvar represent the College of Information and Computer Sciences, and team up with other TernBooking designers Noah Friedman, a finance major, and Austin Rohlfing who studies actuarial mathematics.

Guide Dog and TernBooking will compete in The Final on April 5 for a chance to win $65,000 in seed money.

For information about the teams' winning ideas and to learn more about the Innovation Challenge, see the Innovation Challenge website.

Written by Jill Webb (Journalism, '18)