Ingenious, tech-based solutions pitched at Santa Cruz Launchpad 2022

Two students wearing masks present at a booth.
The Santa Cruz Works booth featured at the SC Launchpad event.
A group of students and advisors hold checks.
From left to right: Andrea Carafa, CIED entrepreneur in residence, Manel Camps, CIED faculty director, and Kati Greaney, CIED coordinator, pictured between the first and fourth place teams.

The fifth annual student business pitch competition and job fair, known as Santa Cruz Launchpad, was held last week at the UC Santa Cruz Hay Barn. Nearly 500 people attended the event hosted by UCSC’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Development (CIED) and the Innovation and Business Engagement Hub in partnership with Santa Cruz Works. The UCSC Career Center and Cabrillo College were co-sponsors. 

The pitch competition portion of the event featured 19 UCSC student teams, who had five minutes each to deliver their pitches to a judge panel comprised of UCSC alumni and community members. Students presented innovative business plans aimed at solving a myriad of issues in different industries, including environmental resource management, transportation, and healthcare. Prizes were awarded to the top ten teams, and the top four teams were featured during the job fair part of the event. The four finalists were:

1st place, $10,000

Pinpoint, a transit tracking system that allows users to track different buses digitally to help lower overall commute time. 

Team members: Rohan Tuli (technology and information management), Jonathan Morris (computer science), Ishan Madan (computer science), Eliot Wachtel (robotics engineering), and Aaron Brunckhurst (computer science). All members are a part of the UCSC Slugbotics team. 

2nd place, $8,000

Yektasonics, an inexpensive ultrasound technology for both medical and nonmedical applications.

Team member: Navid Gougol, Ph.D. student.

3rd place, $6,000

Forward, a blockchain technology currency system to better manage risk and enable increased capital flow to emerging markets. 

Team members: Kamil Kisielewicz (computer science) and Shivansh Rustagi (computer science, minor in statistics)

4th place, $4,000

BioGenesis, a machine learning-based product that uses patient data (symptoms and genetic information) and patient medical records to determine treatment plans.

Team members: Edward Fisher (economics) and Martin Michalko (computer science)

Representatives from 25 local companies from sectors such as technology, healthcare, and sustainability were on site to help recruit for 400+ open positions. 

“We enjoyed the structure of students having the freedom to browse and have meaningful conversations around their goals for a career,” said Marisa Bush, recruiter at PayStand.

Jory Miranda, another recruiter at the event representing Bay Federal Credit Union, said, “We had a ton of attendees and young professionals stop by our booth. One of the best hiring events we've participated in.”

For more information about Launchpad 2022, please visit this Santa Cruz Works webpage