What’s it all about?

Cross-college teams identify a big problem and a potential solution, then pitch their idea to a panel of industry judges.

Only caveat is that the solution must leverage information technology as a key component of the business model.

This is an idea pitch and not a business plan competition, so we are looking for teams that are in the early stages of figuring out how to solve a big problem.

The Competitors

MichelAngelo RobotScope
1st Place

  • Brennan Cornell
  • Josh Kessler
  • Brandon Leshchinskiy
  • Lingqiu Jin
  • Matt Malencia

2nd Place

  • Laila Saghian
  • Yi-Ting Wu
  • Hui Zheng
  • Alice Chen
  • Vernon Martin

3rd Place

  • Kevin Paroda
  • Justin Keenan


  • Brenna McCornac
  • Gabriel Reber
  • David Gerhart
  • Taylor Epler
  • Connor Bradley


  • Shweta Sen
  • Harsimran Thind


  • Hakeem Muhammad
  • Gokul Kumarresen
  • Prateek Nair
  • Julian Patton

Who can participate?



Any undergraduate student currently enrolled and in good standing at Penn State is eligible to participate.

Teams of 2 to 5

Teams must have a minimum of 2 students and a maximum of 5. Teams can be new or existing teams already working on a problem.

From 2 colleges

Teams must have members that represent at least 2 different colleges. Double major? Pick one college to represent.

What’s involved?


Rocket Pitches

Each team will have 3 slides and 3 minutes to pitch their ideas. No Q&A, just your team. The top 6 teams advance to the finals.

Mentor Pairing

Finalists will be paired with successful entrepreneurs who will help teams advance their ideas and prepare for finals.

Final Pitches

Finalists will have 5 minutes to pitch their ideas and answer questions from the judges.

Check out the prizes!


1st place team wins a trip to Silicon Valley to network and spend time at a start-up.

2nd place team wins a trip to an incubator or innovation center in the D.C. area.

3rd place team receives a Jawbone Jambox (in Penn State blue)!

2016 Challenge

Check back in January of 2016 to find out when the next challenge will take place.

Penn State College of IST