Eleven students at Draper University’s Hero City met to compete in a high stakes Pitch Contest, sponsored by the Edison Innovation Foundation–the prize-$10,000. Mr. Kenny Hawk, a nationally recognized Silicon Valley entrepreneur, served as co-sponsor and emcee of the event.
Draper University is a school for innovators, founded by world renowned innovator, Tim Draper. Located in San Mateo, the new entrepreneurial playground between Silicon Valley and San Francisco, Hero City at Draper University is a co-working space that promotes innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship.
The students (see photo below) ranged in age from their teens to early 40s, competing with new product ideas and services-having just 2minutes each to present their ideas, with 2 minutes for Q&A. For budding entrepreneurs, pitching ideas is a powerful skill to get potential investors quickly focused on a new idea and willing to learn more about it.
The pitches were quite diverse, ranging from an “on-demand hair salon” to a “hybrid electric conversion kit for auto rickshaws to reduce air pollution and poverty”. The $10,000 winner was Russell Ladson for his entry “using artificial intelligence to contextualize video search”…which basically boils down to using AI software to be able to search video files [like YouTube and others] and be able to find what you want by showing the software an image of what you are looking for.
Shown in the center of the photo below, in bright red shirt, is the winner Russell Ladson. Shown to the right in photo is Mr. John Keegan, President and CEO of the Edison Innovation Foundation.
I have got to believe old Tom Edison is smiling over this, young people enthusiastically proposing new ideas and explaining their value. This is exactly what the business world needs and values.