February 10, 2014
Duke MEMP students Sachin Gupta and Harsh Ambekar were awarded 2nd and 3rd place respectively as members of teams pitching business ideas at the Triangle Startup Weekend in Chapel-Hill in November. The winning ideas, Get Back and Moneyball++, were presented to a team of judges including MEM Adjunct Professor Greg Hopper and other local entrepreneurs, industry experts, and law firms at the culminating event of the weekend on November 15, 2013. Other MEM connections contributed to the event as well: Adjunct Professor Kevin Wright served as a mentor to several teams, and alumna Shruti Manek served on the organizing committee.
Get Back is an idea developed by Sachin to help consumers earn and redeem coupons while they stand in line by completing a feedback survey for that specific store. Businesses already try to engage customers with reward programs and these customers, who love instant rewards, are often obsessively checking their phones while waiting in line. The Get Back app will enable people to simply fill out a survey tailored to each business and then choose an instant reward.
Harsh was selected to be part of a team developing Moneyball++, an idea generated by Darshan Singh, a PhD in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His idea utilizes a similar concept to Moneyball, substituting cricket for baseball. By performing statistical analysis, Moneyball++ seeks to predict the winning chances of a team, how a certain player will play during an event, what fielding position will result in the best outcome, and so on.
Sachin pitched his idea in the first round on Friday evening and was selected to then form a team of students from other universities and professionals in the area to continue working on the idea. Harsh was chosen to be a contributing member of the Moneyball++ team after it was selected to proceed past the first round. For the next 54 hours, they continued brainstorming, developing a business plan, and building a basic prototype which led to their successful finish. By placing in the top teams, they were awarded access to 10 free services, including free consulting services from a consulting firm, a free web domain, and free access to a law firm for company filing to further their ideas.
Congratulations, Sachin and Harsh! To learn more about the start-up weekend, please visit http://communities.techstars.com/usa/triangle/startup-weekend/.
We live in a time where anything is possible and anything can be built - as long as we can bring together the right people around the right ideas. Startup Weekend is a global initiative that brings together passionate individuals with unique skill sets and experiences, then challenges them to turn their ideas into reality over the course of a weekend.