Oakland was buzzing with entrepreneurial activity on the campuses of Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh this week as students unveiled more than a dozen new startup ideas from mobile solar towers that will cut pollution to new medical products.
The Innovation Institute’s Randall Family Big Idea Competition attracted more than 300 people to the William Pitt Student Union for a showcase and awards of some of the most promising new startups on campus.
Earlier the same day, CMU’s Project Olympus Show & Tell offered an overview of entrepreneurial endeavors at the university.
“If you’ve not met me before, you can say you met someone who made a billion and lost a billion dollars,” Glen Meakem told the audience at Pitt during a motivational keynote, referring to his Freemarket days. “There’s a lot of room for financial success at any level.”
Here’s a rundown of some the companies in the pipeline at Pitt:
Solar Cell won first place in the general and IT category. The team has designed a hybrid solar generator that more clearly powers cellphone towers, the infrastructure behind mobile phone and data networks. The solar generator resolves the issues of cost and pollution and is easier to implement.
Magnesium Ring won first place in the Health Care category. The startup is developing a patent-pending magnesium-based product that will help to regenerate and heal injured ACL ligaments.
Phizzbo won in the general and IT category. The idea is to empower individuals through an online transaction management system that allows people to successfully buy and sell properties without using a broker.
PathMeT took first place in the social innovation category. Six students created a product that measures pedestrian pathway accessibility and makes those pathways safer.
Curestem is developing a gel that harnesses the power of stem cells to treat hard-to-heal wounds, a $5 billion industry.
Flippo is borrowing on the Lyft car service model to bring food to students and other hungry clients wherever they may be, at any hour.
Free Lunch is tackling the 1.3 billion problem of food waste by creating an app that offers free and discounted food in real-time to students rather than throwing it away.
Invisible Shield is creating a revolutionary mobile phone security platform that trains your mobile to recognize you by the way you use your phone rather than typing in a password.
From CMU’s Project Olympus
Lightside is developing automated technology to improve student writing skills in grades 6-12. The company is working with six school districts to refine the platform.
Innovesca is working with farmers in Rwanda to grow, develop and process healthy greens like amaranth plants, used in the U.S. as gluten-free flour, for retail sale as a way to support the farmers and local economy.
AssignLink is developing a cloud-based online school planner that acts as an organizer, communication tool and one-click planner for students, teachers administrators and parents.
GeniusHire, as the name suggests, uses the power of big data to help recruiters and company find the perfect candidate.
And finally, City Councilman Daniel Gilman, District 8, shared that the city is working with CMU to develop an online tool to address the delicate matter of tracking the location of city snowplows. It will be called something like whereismysnowplow.com, he says.