DCU/Manning School of Business Innovation Contest

On Tuesday, February 12, from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Saab Center, Perry Atrium, DifferenceMaker held its 7th annual Digital Federal Credit Union/Manning School of Business Innovation Contest Finals.

The event started off with dinner and networking. Sandra Richtermeyer, Dean of the Manning School of Business, opened up the evening with welcoming remarks and judge introductions.

Our judges for the evening were:

Nancy D’Amico – Senior vice president of Technology and Innovation, DCU

Steve Schultz – ’89, ’04, Kennedy College of Sciences and Manning School of Business

Vasilios Roussos – Director of Innovation, DCU

Alana Tobin – ’89, Manning School of Business – Senior Director, Shared Services, Hologic, Inc.

Sandra Richtermeyer, Dean of the Manning School of Business, giving welcoming remarks to the crowd.

After the judge introductions, each student finalist team pitched their startup ideas. The theme of the event was to come up with innovative solutions to help solve problems related to banking and finance. After each team’s pitch, there was a Q&A by the judges. The teams that pitched were:

Big Flexers / Aiman Baig, Danny Nguyen, Haris Waqar, Abhinav Kiran, and Fazil Soharwardi

Financial Action Manager / Louis Cirignano, David Seybert

SwiftCheck / Valeria Montoya, Jennifer Phan, Veyana Thor

Cash Forward / Jack Disilvio, Oliver Jennings, Pedro Piau

CJZ Statement Analysis / Justin Yee, Christopher Novo, Elijah Li

Each of these teams were awarded $100 per team member for becoming a semi-finalist.


Valeria Montoya and Veyana Thor, team SwiftCheck, pitching their project: an app that helps users prevent overdraft fees.

After each team pitched their creative ideas and answered the judges’ questions, the judges stepped out to deliberate the winning team of the evening. While doing so, team members, faculty, students, and family grabbed more food and networked with each other.

Our judges for the evening, from left to right: Alana Tobin, Steve Schultz, Vasilios Roussos, Nancy D’Amico.

At 8 p.m., our judges finished deliberating and announced the winning team for the night: team Cash Forward! Congratulations to team Cash Forward and all teams that made it to the finals and pitched this evening! Cash Forward received $100 per team member for becoming a semi-finalist and $500 per team member for winning 1st place! Their total winning funds equaled $1,800!

Digital Federal Credit Union gave away $3,100 in total funds to the five pitching teams.

Thank you to everyone that attended! Huge thank you for the Digital Federal Credit Union, the Manning School of Business, and the Rist DifferenceMaker Institute for sponsoring this event.

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