Thursday, May 15, saw the latest iteration of the New Enterprise Forum’s “Pitch Pit” competition. Three budding entrepreneurs presented their early-stage ideas to a packed house and a panel of expert judges.
Wesley Steen, of Soup Spoon, demonstrated how his prototype spoons made eating dramatically easier for people with motor skill problems. One spoon had a built in suction capability to capture liquids that was especially impressive. Denis Foo Kune, of Virtalabs, explained how his malware detection device identified security threat through power fluctuations without violating hospital equipment warranties. After listening to his presentation, it was clear how his product fills a critical technology gap in using sophisticated equipment in operating rooms, critical care units and more. Karthik Raman, of Devices for the Elderly, showed how his ergonomic stool was the perfect tool for senior to safely and easily reach items on shelves. Through customer discovery his design gives the elderly what they want in counter intuitive ways to those of s who do not understand their core needs.
The judging panel asked numerous probing questions while also offering invaluable advice on how to move these business ideas forward. After much deliberation, the judges chose Denis Foo Kune of Virtalabs, as the winner of the $213 audience contributed award. The next Pitch Pit competition will take place on July 24 when NEF will host another group of entrepreneurs with compelling ideas. The session will take place at Ann Arbor SPARK, Lower Level, 330 E. Liberty Street, Ann Arbor.