Workshop 4: Delivering Your Rocket Pitch

On March 17, 2022, from 5:30 – 7 pm, DifferenceMaker held its fourth workshop series session at Lydon Library, Room 110, North Campus. The guest presenters for the evening were Professor Cathy Levey, College of Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, Professor Kevin Willett, Manning School of Business, CEO of Friends of Kevin, and Rick Sherburne, CEO, SherburneCommunications.

Semi-finalist teams attended this session to learn about delivering their rocket pitch for the Preliminary Pitch-off on April 6th. At this event, teams have a chance to advance to the $50,000 Idea Challenge Final event. The semi-finalist teams who will be pitching at the Preliminary Pitch-off are:

404! – Team members: Madhav Makadia and Kofi Kissi
Project Description: A dating app for fitness-focused people.

Amara – Team members: Adam Iskandar, Krishna Kanagarayer, and Brandon Amara
Project Description: A social media platform with transparency and improved algorithms.

BLACK – Team member: Kristin Kihara
Project Description: A magazine line that highlights black creators.

Cerebrum – Team members: Solomon Enowmanyi, Linnea Zagaeski, Xiomara Matathias, and Bahara Hussaini
Project Description: A peace and conflict resolution program.

ChainBlock – Team members: Hirschfield Ssozi and Aymaan Shaikh
Project Description: A blockchain-based banking system like cryptocurrency.

DataMiNation – Team members: Kanan Asif
Project Description: Free training programs on hard skills and professional skills for young people who cannot afford to learn from other paid sources.

Draw a Print – Team members: Daniel GermanGeorge, Jonathan Aguilar, Philopater Askander, Theresa Foley, Ruolin Zho, and Yibo Li
Project Description: A 3D printing tool that facilitates training both in industry and academia.

FC Pack Design – Team member: Felix CarpioDelRosario
Project Description: A backpack to help ease weight and help the realignment of the spinal cord and back.

Gotham – Team member: Kamal Norford
Project Description: Improving and refurbishing automotive technology.

Hoppers – Team members: Abigail White and Alyssa Kennedy
Project Description: A board game that supports the arts and fosters education, communication skills, and creativity for younger children.

Innovation X Industries – Team members: Joshua Saunders, Rowan Trotter, Ryan Baker, and Nathan Savoie
Project Description: An innovative pipe shut-off system for a smarter home to conserve water after a pipe burst.

Insulated and Shock Absorbent Foam 3D Printed Covers – Team members: Karun Kalia, Ninad Khadse, and Shallal Alshammari
Project Description: Foamed and flexible insulated covers for cell phones to minimize battery drainage in cold weather conditions.

MBM – Team member: Elyas Irankhah
Project Description: A system designed to anticipate the appropriate time for injecting F-8 in hemophilia patients.

MetaLingual – Team members: Aiman Baig, Haris Waqar, Zuhair Shaikh, Samuel LugoMedina, and Isa Ahmed
Project Description: Virtual Reality experience containing servers of various 6D 360 immersive environments.

Minds With Purpose – Team members: Jeurys Santiago, Jennifer Lerman, and Sammy Santana
Project Description: A networking platform with the aim of bringing together people of different professions, areas, and styles.

PEAK Performance – Team members: Steven Evangelos, Matthew Martel, Evelyn Duffy, and Mark Elman
Project Description: A device [the PEAK Performance System] that assesses and corrects rotational misalignments between the pelvis and thoracic spine.

Rune World – Team members: John Doherty and Linnea Zagaeski
Project Description: A board game designed around helping children with autism improve their social skills.

Speakup – Team member: Matheus Perazolla
Project Description: A platform/app which provides English classes focused on immigrant necessities and needs.

StockToMe – Team members: Matthew Kinash, Jackson Sterrett, and Matthew Allen
Project Description: A stock opinion community where anybody can post an opinion about a stock.

Study Meet – Team members: Solomon Wambuzi, Gissel Bonilla, Brendaliz Cabada Morel, and Ester Rosario
Project Description: An application that focuses on benefiting students that feel left out of the college experience.

SunGum – Team members: Chris Behm, Andrew Bernard, and Nolan Buckley
Project Description: Chewing gum fortified with vitamin D to combat vitamin D deficiencies and seasonal depression.

Tendren – Team members: Ethan Block, Amie Russell, and Victoria Williams
Project Description: A wireless pulse oximeter combined with an ECG and blood pressure that tracks a patient’s vitals while in the waiting room.

ThermoEXA – Team members: Ariel Pena-Martinez, Mohamed Martini, Gerardo Gomez Perez, and Grissel Cervantes-Jaramillo
Project Description: Intelligent and personalized indoor temperature control through unique biometrics recognition.

Trade Bozz Investment Corp. – Team members: Toney Benny and Sebastian Pascal
Project Description: A financial literacy platform focused on helping Gen Z and Millennials  build wealth via the stock market.

Traffic Lighthouse – Team member: Alexa Grazio
Project Description: A portable traffic light that can be placed on top of 18-wheeler trucks to alert cars.

UMass Lowell Japanese Student Association – Team member: Mina Lam
Project Description: An organization dedicated to promoting greater awareness of Japanese culture through general meetings, social media, and collaborations with UMass Lowell clubs.

USuccess – Team members: Nyna Pendkar, Mikaela Murphy, Anna Kouadio, Kyle Knapp, and Kaitlyn Catron
Project Description: A program to help individuals’ financial situations through education.

Vital Sensing Patch – Team members: Wynn Wiggins, Thang Do, and Haris Kum
Project Description: An all-in-one vitals monitoring device, that will be affordable to consumers and can be used anywhere.

To start off the workshop, Rist DifferenceMaker Fellow David Vatalaro provided a recap of the past workshop sessions, which addressed topics such as Identifying Problems, Assessing Opportunities and Value Proposition, and Developing Business Models.

Then, Professor Cathy Levey opened and discussed the content that should be addressed during the DifferenceMaker pitch presentation: the problem, opportunity, solution, needed resources, as well as being prepared for judge questions. She also spoke about additional considerations to look out for during and after the rocket pitch session.

Professor Cathy Levey speaking about introducing your solution to the judges.

Afterwards, Rick Sherburne spoke about the challenge of presenting an idea. To tackle this, he discussed being confident and sharing your topic with lots of energy and passion. In addition, he mentioned the reasons why people struggle with stage fright. Self-consciousness in front of large groups, past failures, and fear of being nervous are a few examples. He also talked about having relevant pictures on each slide, as well as limiting the words per slide, which helps keep the audience engaged.

Rick Sherburne speaking about the challenge of presenting the idea.

Mr. Sherburne also facilitated an engaging activity where the students were encouraged to stand up and say “oh” to various scenarios. This allowed the students to see how tone changes based on the scenario you are in. For example, the volume and tone used is different when looking at an infant versus seeing a win at a sporting event.

Students standing and being engaged during the “oh” activity.

To conclude the night, Professor Kevin Willett highlighted examples of past student team presentations, such as III Point Stick. This allowed students to compare what they just learned to an actual pitch presentation that occurred. Students can watch and learn from other past pitches that are on the DifferenceMaker YouTube page, which can be utilized while practicing for the Preliminary Pitch-off.

Professor Kevin Willett discussing the skills utilized during past student team presentations.

Thank you to everyone who attended Workshop 4! Good luck to all teams pitching at the Preliminary Pitch-off on April 6 at the O’Leary Library, Mezzanine. Register for the Preliminary Pitch-off here.

Additionally, the 2022 10th Annual DifferenceMaker $50,000 Idea Challenge will take place on April 13 at University Crossing, Moloney Hall, Room 260. Register for the $50,000 Idea Challenge here.