April 3, 2014

BCVC Awards Over $30k to Budding Startups

Five finalists battled it out for thousands of dollars at this year’s Boston College Venture Competition on Tuesday, April 4. The top three teams entered a tiebreaker resulting in two groups claiming second place. With the first place prize at $20,000, the second at $10,000, and the third at $2,500, the two second place teams each won $6,250.

1st Place: Nxt4 $20,000
Christian Nicholson, Michael Bryant, Nicholas Casale, Peter Barfield, and Amy Jeffrey

Nxt4 seeks to revolutionize the college application process by offering virtual checklists for the application and financial aid steps, a running resume beginning the freshman year of high school, and a more personalized experience in the college selection process by allowing students to connect with college admission counselors. The website wants to put an end to describing students simply through quantitative data like standardized test scores. “It’s like Facebook for your education, LinkedIn for your kids,” described Boston College junior Nicholas Casale.

Nicholson, Bryant, and Casale fused with Harvard students Barfield and Jeffrey following a chat with Harvard’s hacker-in-residence Abby Fichtner (aka Hacker Chick). After hearing from BC’s startup team, she suggested they talk to Barfield and Jeffrey, who also sought to improve the college admissions ordeal. Nxt4 has won the Harvard 2013 Gov 2.0 Grant for innovation and public service, were semi-finalists at the Harvard Grad School Education Innovation Pitch Competition, and is competing in Harvard I3.

2nd place: Molly Miller $6,250
Danielle Dalton and Willa Gustavson

Two high school best friends formed Molly Miller, a women’s apparel company promoting positive body image. Offering a signature pullover, Molly Miller completes the “preppy, New England lifestyle”. The company donates 7% of its profits to organizations promoting women’s empowerment. Dalton, a sophomore at Boston College, kick started the company by raising over $4,000 through an Indiegogo campaign with her co-founder Gustavson, who attends Stanford University.

3rd place: YouSit $6,250
Luke George and Andrew Bernstein

YouSit, an app that aims to bridge the gap between sellers and buyers through real-time pinpoint user location, started with two hungry freshmen. George and Bernstein wanted to solve the primarily male problem of running out of meal swipes in the dining hall by creating a place where students could sell their extra dining dollars. Described as an extremely localized Craiglist, YouSit allows people sitting in the same dormitories, apartment buildings, or office buildings to buy, sell, or give away unwanted items.

The judges admitted it was tough to make a final decision and were impressed with the hard work in entrepreneurship at Boston College. “Kids aren’t going to college to be something, now kids are going to college to solve something,” noted BCVC judge and lecturer at Caroll School of Management, Bridget Akinc. 

Maddie Bilis is a student at Emerson College and a VentureFizz Contributor. Follow her on Twitter @MadBillzz.