By Emmalynne Rosser
It only takes 3 minutes to boil an egg, watch a music video or draft an email.
Or maybe change the world.
Five teams of York College students had just 180 seconds to pitch ideas they hope will change the way people live day-to-day– presenting everything from an app that allows users to stream movies in theater restrooms to a contact lens that finds itself. This year’s Elevator Pitch participants competed for a position in J.D. Brown Center’s business incubator, as well a $1,000 cash prize. The ideas pitched to the audience of the Weinstock Lecture Hall covered many different markets — from healthcare products to investment opportunities.
Winner Alyssa McDevitt pitched a smartphone application and social media site, NoiseHub, that allows users to share music clips with commentary and pictures. The freshman computer science major has been working with three other students across the country to develop that app, that was demoed for judges at the competition. “We’re all about music,” she said. One of her teammates, Alex Santarelli, Junior at Central York High School, said that McDevitt was the creative force behind the app. Over the summer, McDevitt attended Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s conference on a full scholarship. There she met Apple Ceo Tim Cook, who got her in contact with Jeff Robin, an establishing Itunes developer. They talked over the team’s ideas for the app, and he offered advice on the project.
Alex Terraciano also developed an app for the competition. The app, Scriptease, draws inspiration from Snapchat and Words with friends. The app mimics the household game of charades. Users will take pictures of themselves acting out a phrase or activity and send them to other “actors,” who would then have limited time to guess what that saying or action was. “I want to change the way people use pictures,” he said.
Junior Sarah Jacoby dreams of a world where theatergoers will never have to miss another movie scene due to a trip to the restroom. Her pitch, Watch N’Go, was an app that would temporarily stream the movie right to the user’s smartphone with the push of a button. Eventually, the clip would disappear, much like a Snapchat photo, so that the user could not replay the clip.
Christina Weiss pitched a more tangible idea– a contact lens that’s harder to lose and, she says, that is better for your eye. The secret is a contact solution that is made from silver nanoparticles, which won’t interfere with eyesight and will fight microbial growth. In addition, the silver nanoparticles will shimmer when a user shines a light from an accompanying app onto their lens, reducing the likelihood of losing the lenses.
Team members Ian O’Brien and Jackson Corrigan pitched HouseFund, an investment platform inspired by crowdfunding. The idea is that investors will be able to make investments at as low as one percent on houses, and when the houses are rented out the investor will make back that percentage on the rent each month. “We wanted to make real-estate investments available to everyone,” the duo said.
“It’s an intellectual exercise to take a big idea and fit it into a three minute pitch,” host Jeffrey Vermeulen said. “I was so proud of every one of the finalists’ efforts this year. It was truly gratifying.” Corrigan and O’Brien won third place and $250 with HouseFund. Terraciano won second place and $500 with Scriptease. McDevitt and her team won the business incubator office and $1,000 cash prize. “We’re very excited to give people the opportunity to communicate through music, and we can’t wait to see where this takes us,” McDevitt said.