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


  • Kevin Paroda
  • Justin Keenan


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


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

MichelAngelo RobotScope

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


  • Shweta Sen
  • Harsimran Thind


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

Keynote: How To Accelerate Your Startup

Ayesha Khanna

Ayesha Khanna
President, Points of Light Civic Incubator

The Points of Light Civic Incubator puts people at the center of change by supporting social entrepreneurs and early stage civic ventures around the world. As part of her role, Ms. Khanna founded the Civic Accelerator and oversees the organization’s global efforts.

Ms. Khanna has worked across sectors and led nonprofit, for-profit and political organizations. She is a co-founder of the startup Fuse Corps, co-led Atlanta Women for Obama and led and transformed several leading nonprofit organizations, including the local YWCA and United Way, after building healthcare centers in central India and beginning her career at Andersen Consulting LLP (now Accenture).

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)!

Semi Finals

Come watch the teams compete in the Rocket Pitch semi finals on March 4th from 6-8pm in the IST building Cybertorium.


Come watch the finals six teams compete in the IdeaMaker final round on April 15th, 6-8pm in the IST Cybertorium.

Penn State College of IST