On November 13, in a twist on the TV series “Shark Tank,” Villanova University hosted the annual ICE Challenge IdeaBouncer. Students, including myself, had the opportunity to pitch a new product idea to a panel of school representatives and local entrepreneurs. The panel was made up of five voters, led by the dean of the Business School, Joyce Russell. Each of the 27 groups was given 90 seconds to make their pitch to the panel. The panelists judged each team in three areas: clarity of the idea, passion of the presenters, and the request for help.
The evening included more than the team product pitches. The night began with registration and followed with the team pitches. At different points during the team pitches, the hostess of the event would take a moment to allow for judges to catch up on scoring and share various opportunities with students on campus. For example, she took one moment to explain the goals and concepts of the Villanova ICE center and the opportunities students can receive there.
My team, consisting of Rhys Davies, Justin Gonzalez, Connor Carroll, and Ryan Minicozi-Wheeland, pitched our idea, Major Music, to the panelists. We were afforded this opportunity after our Business Dynamics classmates voted our idea the best of the six in our section.
Our main presenter, Rhys Davies, began the final presentation with a set of rhetorical questions, including: “Do you have a favorite band? Have you ever missed when the band drops a new song or album?” The rhetorical questions allowed us to hint at what our product was, without blandly starting the pitch with something along the lines of “We are going to talk about music.”
Our product is a phone application that uses Google Keyboard Planner to search the internet for articles pertinent to the bands that each user selects to receive information about. Our application differs from mainstream music ones because most applications allow the user to stream music; our app is strictly a news source for selected bands and artists.
We explained to the panelists that our primary source of revenue would be allowing artists and bands to pay for front-page advertising. Our call for help was asking the panelists for $40,000 to kickstart making the application. We explained that all the funds we received would go into making the application because they have substantial upfront costs.
We did not win the ICE Challenge, but it was incredible to be involved in this experience. Speaking to a group of successful businessmen and businesswomen in front of an audience is not an opportunity that many students receive, especially as freshmen. I will be able to use this experience to help me prepare for future presentations and interviews as I continue in college and my career.
More information about Villanova’s ICE Center and upcoming events it is hosting is found at www.villanovaice.com/.