2018 DifferenceMaker® Demo Day

On Tuesday, July 10, the 2018 winning DifferenceMaker® Idea Challenge teams gathered in the Saab Center, Perry Atrium, on UMass Lowell’s North Campus to pitch their new and improved ideas to alumni, faculty, staff and interested mentors/advisors. These student teams participated in a 4-week Summer Boot Camp where they conducted customer discovery, discovered who their competitors were, and developed their business models utilizing the canvas. This was all done in preparation for Demo Day!

Demo Day allowed gave each team the opportunity to showcase their new and improved solutions to the audience of over 100 participants!  In their pitches, they explained their business plans and potential customers and discussed the impact they wanted to make with their solutions. They also described the qualities, skills, and expertise they needed in a mentor, in order to get to the next step.

The goal of Demo Day is always to advance teams’ progress with the help and guidance of mentors. The teams had the opportunity to mentor with the crowd, answer questions, and receive insightful feedback.

Thank you to all attendees and mentors that make this possible!

If you are interested in learning more, please click the following links:

DifferenceMaker Program

2018 Idea Challenge Winning Teams

Mentor Program

Support DifferenceMaker or a Specific Student Team

Facebook Photo Album of Demo Day

 

Over 100 attendees!!!

Networking with the Manning School of Business Dean, Sandra Richtermeyer

Team ETRALock networking with UMass Lowell’s Provost Michael Vayda

Mass Heartbeat pitching there idea to save lives

Share Button

2018 Summer Boot Camp Session 4

This summer’s DifferenceMaker Boot Camp is coming to a close, with this past Monday being the final session for the teams. While we are sad that we won’t see them every Monday anymore, we are beyond proud of the progress that they have made over the past month, and are excited to see each business grow. Each team updated the room on what they’ve learned about their business’ customer segment, and talked about how they’ve tested their business models. We then had an Open Advisory Session, where a group of distinguished advisors came in and talked to the different teams individually, adding specific insight to help the teams better develop their ideas. By the end of this session, the teams felt confident and hopeful for the future, excited and ready for Demo Day.

Professor Hunter Mack advising Edwin and Robinson from ETRALock.

Bernard Tay from TAP getting advice from Tufts Professor Kevin Oye.

Here the invisaWear team is helping advise Dan Falcone from Personalized Learning.

DifferenceMaker would like to thank Rajia Abdelaziz, Erin Keany and Brent Shell for the extraordinary help and support that they have provided the teams with for the past four weeks. Their efforts were greatly appreciated!

  • Brent Shell
    • Professor – Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences, Anatomy and Physiology
    • DifferenceMaker Faculty Fellow, Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences
  • Erin Keany
    • Vice President/Co-Founder of Nonspec
  • Rajia Abdelaziz
    • Co-Founder of InvisaWear

Thank you to our Open Advisory Session guests!

  • Michael Ciuchta
    • Business Professor, UMass Lowell
  • Jon de Alderete
    • CEO, Nonspec
  • Ray Hamilton
    • CTO, invisaWear
  • Hunter Mack
    • Engineering Professor, UMass Lowell
    • DifferenceMaker Faculty Fellow
  • Kevin Oye
    • Professor, Tufts, EforAll Mentor
Share Button

2018 Boot Camp, Session 3

This past Monday marked the third session of our DifferenceMaker Boot Camp, and the progress that these teams have made in the last couple of weeks is remarkable. Near the start of the session, the teams presented their improved business models to the room and received input from their peers and the mentors, as always. Since the groups are now further along in process, the discussions have been even more complicated and detail-oriented. This was followed by a lecture on “Creating and Delivering the Solution”, which gave our entrepreneurs even more insight which they will use to further develop their business models. Guest speaker Rajnish Kaushik, Assistant Director of the Office of Technology Commercialization, then came in to talk about IP, including patents, copyrights, and the like. The information that the teams learned in this session will prove invaluable later on in the development of their businesses.

Thanh and Trung from Dexter presenting their business model.

Jack and Pat from Mass Heartbeat talking about how their business model has changed since last week.

Guest speaker Rajnish Kaushik talking to the teams about intellectual property.

Thank you to the session’s advisors and special guests!

  • Brent Shell
    • Professor – Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences, Anatomy and Physiology
    • DifferenceMaker Faculty Fellow, Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences
  • Erin Keany
    • Vice President/Co-Founder of Nonspec
  • Rajia Abdelaziz
    • Co-Founder of InvisaWear
  • Rajnish Kaushik
    • Assistant Director, OTC

 

Share Button

2018 Boot Camp, Session 2

The second session of our Boot Camp was held this past Monday, June 11. All the teams came in with better ideas for the directions of their companies, after spending the last week interviewing possible customers. Each team presented their findings to the room, getting additional helpful feedback from their peers and the advisors. In this session, the teams were then taught about customer and value proposition. The advisors stressed that if people aren’t willing to pay the price you want for your product, it might just mean you’re going after the wrong customer segment. Advisor Rajia Abdelaziz spoke to the group about how to approach startup funding, and then guest speakers Chris McKenna and David Kantaros from Foley & Lardner LLP gave the groups invaluable information about business law, including when it makes sense to start an LLC versus a corporation.

Guest speaker David Kantaros from Foley & Lardner LLP teaches the group about business law.

Advisors Professor Brent Shell and Nonspec co-founder Erin Keaney helping teams develop their ideas regarding customer segments.

Advisor/Guest Speaker Rajia Abdelaziz talking to the teams about funding for startups.

Thank you again to the session’s advisors and special guests!

  • Brent Shell
    • Professor – Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences, Anatomy and Physiology
    • DifferenceMaker Faculty Fellow, Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences
  • Erin Keany
    • Vice President/Co-Founder of Nonspec
  • Rajia Abdelaziz
    • Co-Founder of InvisaWear
  • David W. Kantaros
    • Foley & Lardner LLP Partner
  • Christopher J. McKenna
    • Foley & Lardner LLP Partner
Share Button

2018 Boot Camp, Session 1

This past Monday, June 4th, marked the first session of the DifferenceMaker summer Boot Camp, where the 2018 Idea Challenge Winning teams work hard to further develop their projects, define their customers and develop their business models. At 9:00am, these student entrepreneurs gathered in room 110 of the Lydon Library, ready to learn. In this session, they learned about developing detailed business models, as well as understanding more about customer segments. Soon after Ha Pho, DifferenceMaker Program Manager, gave a presentation on business models. Then the individual teams took turns pitching their business models to the group. The group gave valuable feedback and advice to help them develop an even stronger business model. By the end this first Boot Camp session, all the teams left with great ideas for improving their business models, and were extremely eager for the next session.

Guest speaker Jonathan de Alderete, CEO of Nonspec, spoke to the teams about how his company’s business model  evolved over time.

Faculty Fellow Professor Brent Shell helping teams develop their business models.

And of course, here is a special thank-you to our amazing 2018 Boot Camp advisors:

  • Brent Shell
    • Professor – Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences, Anatomy and Physiology
    • DifferenceMaker Faculty Fellow, Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences
  • Erin Keany
    • Vice President/Co-Founder of Nonspec
  • Rajia Abdelaziz
    • Co-Founder of InvisaWear
Share Button

2018 $50K Idea Challenge

This past Wednesday, April 25th, our 6th Annual $50,000 Idea Challenge was held in Moloney Hall, University Crossing, from 5-8:30PM. There was a great turnout, with six  teams competing for Fan Favorite, and ten teams battling for a piece of the $50,000. Thank you to everyone who attended, and a special thank you to Chancellor Moloney for speaking and always supporting DifferenceMaker.

The winning teams and their categories include:

Fan Favorite – $1,000

T.A.P

“T.A.P, an acronym for teach-a-pal is a concept to address the insufficiency of exams by introducing and utilizing a peer to peer study solution in hopes of increasing performance.” Bernard Tay, Senior, Marketing & Entrepreneurship; Cassandra Francois, Junior, Art; Hilton Carboo, Junior, Computer Science.

Significant Social Impact – $4,500

ClassRoots

“A peer learning platform that aims to bring classmates together in order to make friends and utilize each other as tools for academic success.” Nicholas Norcross, Junior, Business Information Systems & Kevin Seery, Sophomore, Supply Chain and Operations Management.

Contribution to a Healthier Lifestyle – $4,500

Lead-Ex Filter

“This project aims to develop an effective lead removal device for water distribution system.” Lewis Rowles, PhD, Civil and Environmental Engineering, & Arsalan Khalid, PhD, Civil and Environmental Engineering.

First to Market – $4,500

Mass Heartbeat

“Mass HeartBeat is an organization dedicated to bringing affordable and convenient heart screening services to students directly at their school, camp, or university. Mass HeartBeat uses state-of-the-art ECG technology to screen students for undetected cardiac conditions that could lead to sudden cardiac death if left untreated.” Jack Nealon, Graduate, Law; Shane Lavoie, Graduate, Masters of Business Administration; Pat Cusanelli, Alumni, Medical Device.

Innovative Technology Solution – $4,500

Dexter

“A pre-programed small-footprint robotic arm is able to spray exact doses of pesticide in complex farming environment such as apple, plum, cherry (branched tree).” Thanh Hoang, Senior, EE, & Trung Nguyen, Senior, Mechanical Engineering.

2018 Campus-wide DifferenceMaker – $6,000

Iron Legion

 “Our objective is to develop an autonomous drone network designed to carry out delivery service, search and rescue, and infrastructure security operations.” George Le, Senior, Computer Science, & Peter Maitland, Junior, Homeland Security/Criminal Justice.

Five other teams received Honorable Mentions and a prize of $2,000!

Honorable Mentions- $2,000

SolXtract

“The project deals with the issue of spent coffee grounds getting disposed in landfills without true utilization of what the coffee bean has to offer. It also addresses the energy crisis issue by providing alternative sources of fuel from materials considered to be waste from the past three centuries.” Anikitha Sushma, Graduate, Energy Engineering, & Abhiram Authipudi, Graduate, Energy Engineering.

SASS- Solo Adventurer Safety System

“Providing reliable GPS tracking and communication with a timed checking system to make sure the adventurer is always safe.” Cameron Edmonds, Senior, Electrical UG- Robotics Minor; Matthew Pelland, Sophomore, Computer Science/Math; Jackson Seal, Sophomore, Computer Science/Robotics; Curtis Sargent, Marketing.

ETRALock

“A device that could be attached to any door in order to help people easily and safely access their homes key-free.” Edwin Taveras, Senior, Electrical Engineering; Michael Silva, Senior, Electrical Engineering; & Robinson Arias Gonzalez, Senior, Electrical Engineering.

PlaytList

“The focus of this project is to create an app for people with dietary restrictions whether it be health, cultural or religious find restaurants near them that suit their needs.” Sebastian Pascal, Freshman, Business; Isaac Brown, Graduate, Computer Science; Alana Zheng, Freshman, Business; Joseph Ayoka, Freshman, Computer Science.

Personalized Learning

“This project is focused around utilizing students personality traits and learning styles to match them with the most optimal professor for each of their classes based off of their teaching style.” Daniel Falcone, Junior, Business Administration; Jennifer Lee, Junior, World Languages; KavyaKumar Vallurupalli, Graduate, Computer Science; ManojReddy Dumpa, Graduate, Computer Science.

A huge thank you to all of our judges. We appreciate all your hard work!

  • Mary Burns ‘84​, College of FAHSS, Splash Media Group Boston, LLC​
  • Cindy Conde ‘87 ‘91​, Francis College of Engineering,​ CEO,​ CondeCo
  • Janis Raguin ‘92, ​College of Education, Educator
  • Mark Saab, ’81, ’13 (H)​, Francis College of Engineering, CTO, Vention Medical.

Also, a big thank you to our sponsors!

  • Circle Health​
  • Jim Dandeneau​ ​
  • Joseph C. Day Chancellors’ Fund ​
  • Digital Federal Credit Union​
  • Foley and Lardner, LLP​ ​
  • Joseph P. Donahue Charitable Foundation​ ​
  • Nancy L. Donahue Endowed Fellowship in Values and Ethics​  ​
  • Enterprise Bank​ ​
  • Middlesex Community College ​
  • Mitchell Kertzman Endowed Discretionary Fund
  • Robert J. Manning Endowment Fund (Robert and Donna Manning)​ ​
  • Francis L. McKone Chancellor’s Discretionary Endowment Fund​
  • Glenn Morgan, Class of 1986, College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences​ ​
  • Pernick Chancellor’s Endowed Discretionary Fund​ ​
  • James Regan, Class of 1988, Manning School of Business​ ​
  • Spinola Angel Investment Fund for Entrepreneurship​ ​
  • Jack Wilson Endowed Presidential Entrepreneurship Award Fund​

 

 

 

 

 

Share Button

2018 Preliminary Pitch-Off!

On Wednesday, April 4th at 2:00 P.M., a total of 26 student teams began pitching their ideas to several panels of successful alumni judges. Ten teams would then be chosen as the 2018 Idea Challenge finalists, who will compete for $50,000 on April 25th!

Congratulations to our ten finalist teams!

ClassRoots- Nicholas Norcross, Junior, Business Information Systems & Kevin Seery, Sophomore, Supply Chain and Operations Management. “A peer learning platform that aims to bring classmates together in order to make friends and utilize each other as tools for academic success.”

ETRALock- Edwin Taveras, Senior, Electrical Engineering; Michael Silva, Senior, Electrical Engineering; & Robinson Arias Gonzalez, Senior, Electrical Engineering. “A device that could be attached to any door in order to help people easily and safely access their homes key-free.”

Iron Legion- George Le, Senior, Computer Science, & Peter Maitland, Junior, Homeland Security/Criminal Justice. “Our objective is to develop an autonomous drone network designed to carry out delivery service, search and rescue, and infrastructure security operations.”

Lead-Ex Filter- Lewis Rowles, PhD, Civil and Environmental Engineering, & Arsalan Khalid, PhD, Civil and Environmental Engineering. “This project aims to develop an effective lead removal device for water distribution system.”

Mass Heartbeat- Jack Nealon, Graduate, Law; Shane Lavoie, Graduate, Masters of Business Administration; Pat Cusanelli, Alumni, Medical Device. “Mass HeartBeat is an organization dedicated to bringing affordable and convenient heart screening services to students directly at their school, camp, or university. Mass HeartBeat uses state-of-the-art ECG technology to screen students for undetected cardiac conditions that could lead to sudden cardiac death if left untreated.”

Personalized Learning- Daniel Falcone, Junior, Business Administration; Jennifer Lee, Junior, World Languages; KavyaKumar Vallurupalli, Graduate, Computer Science; ManojReddy Dumpa, Graduate, Computer Science. “This project is focused around utilizing students personality traits and learning styles to match them with the most optimal professor for each of their classes based off of their teaching style.”

PETTY: Pesticide spraying robotics arm- Thanh Hoang, Senior, EE, & Trung Nguyen, Senior, Mechanical Engineering. “A pre-programed small-footprint robotic arm is able to spray exact doses of pesticide in complex farming environment such as apple, plum, cherry (branched tree).”

PlaytList- Sebastian Pascal, Freshman, Business; Isaac Brown, Graduate, Computer Science; Alana Zheng, Freshman, Business; Joseph Ayoka, Freshman, Computer Science. “The focus of this project is to create an app for people with dietary restrictions whether it be health, cultural or religious find restaurants near them that suit their needs.”

SASS: Solo Adventurer Safety System- Cameron Edmonds, Senior, Electrical UG- Robotics Minor; Matthew Pelland, Sophomore, Computer Science/Math; Jackson Seal, Sophomore, Computer Science/Robotics; Curtis Sargent, Marketing. “Providing reliable GPS tracking and communication with a timed checking system to make sure the adventurer is always safe.”

SolXtrack- Anikitha Sushma, Graduate, Energy Engineering, & Abhiram Authipudi, Graduate, Energy Engineering. “The project involves the extraction of oil from organic waste to contribute towards reducing energy crisis and for applications in cosmetology.”

Also, a special thank you to our judges:

Lisa Allocca, Greg Chiklis, Cindy Conde, Josh Entner, Steve Geyster, John Grayson, Dan Keefe, Sarah LaLiberte, Brenda Maille, Paul Makris, Susan di Mari, Chris McKenna, Glenn Morgan, John Norden, Mike Rider, Ray Southworth, Andrew Sutherland, and Ira Turner.

Also, a big thank you to our guest speaker Justin Lozier, a former DifferenceMaker, and founder and CEO of TopaCan!

Make sure to come by our $50,000 Idea Challenge on April 25th from 5-8:30 PM in Moloney Hall!

 

Share Button

Congratulations Semi-Finalists!

Here are the semi-finalists teams! These teams will move on to the Preliminary Pitch-off for a chance to advance to the final Idea Challenge! A big congratulations to all students that applied. In addition, Please come support these teams from 5-6pm at the Preliminary Pitch-off on April 4th in O’Leary Library!

Blockchain Authenticator- An authenticator built on the blockchain for maximum security. The blockchain is a decentralized internet that everyone has access too so it makes it very difficult to hack into. The purpose of this idea is to stop from people make fakes of their product.

Books should not be a luxury!- An app for all UML students to reach out to fellow students who either want to sell, buy, rent or even borrow (from friends) the books of their curriculum.

Civic Minded Community- A social initiative that aims to combat crime by building a stronger community. We provide a convenient online platform to assist those who want to make a change in their community but do not know where to start.

ClassRoots- A peer learning platform that aims to bring classmates together in order to make friends and utilize each other as tools for academic success.

Community Garden Network- A non-profit organization that focuses on creating community gardens in areas which are deprived of quality nutrient rich foods and resources to become self-sustainable.

Creating an App for People with Dietary Restrictions Looking for Suitable Restaurants- The focus of this project is to create an app for people with dietary restrictions whether it be health, cultural or religious find restaurants near them that suit their needs.

EDUFUND- Social media platform that will connect students in need of college funding with investors, through means of income share agreement.

ETRALock- A device that could be attached to any door in order to help people easily and safely access their homes key-free.

Extraction of Coffee essential oil from spent coffe grounds- The project involves the extraction of oil from organic waste to contribute towards reducing energy crisis and for applications in cosmetology.

H2All- A non-profit organization that promotes awareness for this issue, provides relief for communities without access to clean water, and help create infrastructure in those areas so they can be self-sufficient.

I Am Jack Travis-  Self branding online as a mental health advocate. Main mission is “to be the person who wasn’t there for me.”

Iron Legion- Our objective is to develop an autonomous drone network designed to carry out delivery service, search and rescue, and infrastructure security operations.

Keeping It Human- As an extension for Twitter and Facebook, it utilizes state-of-the art data-mining & analysis methods with computer analytics to determine if the social media account in question is a real person with a small indicator near their personal handle, or one of the millions of bots that are seemingly human in 2018.

Laptop holder for drafting tables with angle adjustment- A product that finally satisfies the need of visual artists when they both draw and paint on tiltable drafting tables.

LasarusPod- An app designed to utilize the preexisting networks of commuters to deliver commodities across campus for minimal cost

Lead-Ex Filter- This project aims to develop an effective lead removal device for water distribution system.

Mass HeartBeat- Mass HeartBeat is an organization dedicated to bringing affordable and convenient heart screening services to students directly at their school, camp, or university. Mass HeartBeat uses state-of-the-art ECG technology to screen students for undetected cardiac conditions that could lead to sudden cardiac death if left untreated.

On-campus Job Searching – Career Hawk- Makes it easier for students to find an on campus job, and helps professors find student assistants.

Opioid-Crisis: Youth Focused Comicbook- The idea is to develop a comicbook targeted at youth between the ages of 12-18 years old to educate and bring awareness to the dangers of opioid use and abuse.

Personalized Learning- This project is focused around utilizing students personality traits and learning styles to match them with the most optimal professor for each of their classes based off of their teaching style.

Pesticide Spraying Robotics Arm- A pre-programed small-footprint robotic arm is able to spray exact doses of pesticide in complex farming environment such as apple, plum, cherry (branched tree).

Pillzio-Have a loved one who needs a better, easier way to manage their medications? Pillzio will help you set up a easy-to-read schedule to help ensure medications are taken at the appropriate times. With Google Assistant, there is no clunky interface to navigate through – simply talk to the voice assistant to get your questions answered!

Project Orange- A phone that’s fixable, yet watertight. A phone that is durable, yet sexy. A phone that fits the new consumer’s needs.

ProjectPACE- UML Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

SeaView-With SeaView’s drone based monitoring systems swimming at the local beach, waterpark, or pool becomes nearly entirely worry free. SeaView systems are an efficient way to provide more eyes on swimmers and will ideally seek to elimante all risks related to swimming.

Smart Val, a better way to venture- An app that would center around securing people’s vehicles and parking or offering other services while they are away or unable to do so themselves due to time or other constraints.

Solo Adventurer Safety System- Providing reliable GPS tracking and communication with a timed checking system to make sure the adventurer is always safe.

T.A.P- T.A.P, an acronym for teach-a-pal, is a concept to address this insufficiency by introducing and utilizing a peer to peer study solution in hopes of increasing performance in exams.

TaskTime- An app to assist AD(H)D and executive dysfunctional professionals in the workplace to manage time and tasks more persistently.

Share Button

2018 Workshop Series: Delivering Your Rocket Pitch

This past Wednesday, February 28th, our last workshop in the series was held in Lydon Library, Room 110, from 5:30-7:30PM. This workshop was focused on delivering your rocket pitch to the judges at the Idea Challenge.

Faculty Fellows Michelle Bazin, and John Brown took control of this workshop. Michelle is the Co-Director of Legal Studies, and John is the Program Advisor for Undergraduate Education Minor. They gave awesome advice on their experience with speaking in front of large crowds, and giving presentations, which they do almost everyday.

Some students were brave enough to do their pitch on a whim, and impressed us all!

We hope this workshop helped you feel more prepared for one of the most nerve-racking parts of the Idea Challenge. Also, a big thank you to everyone who attended this years workshop series. Good luck to all students in the Idea Challenge!

Share Button

2018 Workshop Series 3: Developing Business Models

On February 26th, we hosted our third workshop in our workshop series. The topic for this workshop was developing business models. Over 30 students showed up, eager to participate in the event, and there was even a delicious turkey dinner!

The speakers for this workshop were faculty fellows Tom O’Donnell and Hunter Mack. They each worked off of each other and made a great presentation on the ways to develop a business model, with interesting videos and step by step processes.

Students periodically stopped to reflect, and used boards to formulate their own business model template. Lots of brainstorming was happening!

Thank you to everyone for coming and making this workshop so much fun. We hope the information you learned was useful in your preparation for the Idea Challenge!

 

Share Button