Student Voices

Students Learn Entrepreneurship with Student-Pitched Projects

June 24, 2016
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Jun 14, 2016  By Crissy Campbell

A sharing-economy app that connects lenders with borrowers of household goods, a wearable toy for toddlers that enhances their motor and intellectual development, a 3D simulation game that lets players construct and program behavior for robots—these are the digital media products some MDM students are developing this summer as part of their pitch-projects course.

In the final semester of courses, students in the MDM program can choose to spend the semester working on an industry project—where an industry client pitches a problem that the students need to solve in 13 weeks—or they can choose to work on a student-pitched project—where they pitch a startup idea and spend 13 weeks bringing that idea to market.

Because the MDM program brings together such a unique blend of backgrounds and skills, some really innovative digital products emerge with great commercial potential. The CDM provides support for students to do further product development and to potentially create a new company to develop their idea. For example, a group of students from last year’s graduating class created NearTuit, a startup company that emerged from the pitch-project process.

The following is a look at the student-pitch projects that MDM students are working on this summer, why the students decided to work on a pitch-project instead of the more conventional industry project and what they’re hoping to achieve this semester.

Quupe

Project Team: Angela Hamilton, Lian ShouVijay RamaswamyZeeshan Rasool

Tell us about your project and what you’re hoping to achieve this semester.

Our project is a mobile and web sharing-economy app that connects lenders with borrowers of occasional-use household goods, relying on an internal economy and review system. This semester we plan to build a first prototype and iterate quickly on it, in order to begin attracting seed investment so we can continue on to form a successful business.

Why did you decide to do a pitch project instead of an industry project?

We formed as a pitch project because we all believe the idea can change the world. On a less grandiose note, we wanted to see how it works to form a business from the ground up; all of us have an entrepreneurial spirit and wanted to build something we believed in with a team we picked ourselves.

What is your team most excited about this semester?

We’re most excited about the forces that are coming together—the team coalesced around what we know is a good idea, and we’ve got incredible support so far from our fantastic advisors. We’ve hit the ground running and there’s a ton of synchronicity in how the team approaches this work. If we can hit it right, the idea has intrinsic potential to make the world better.

Check out Quupe here.

CODEstruction

Project Team: Diptoman Mukherjee, Leanne Tong, Zoey Zhou, Ruo Jin Yan

Tell us about your project and what you’re hoping to achieve this semester.

CODEstruction is a 3D strategy/simulation game and visual scripting toolset that lets players construct and program behavior for robots in-game. We’re hoping to create a vertical slice of the game this semester.

Why did you decide to do a pitch project instead of an industry project?

We decided to pitch a project because we believed in the game idea and its premise, and taking on more self-managed, passion-driven roles towards turning that idea into reality.

What is your team most excited about this semester?

Our team is most excited about taking on the challenging task of working under our own deadlines to deliver a polished product this semester.

Walkies

Project Team: Sarah ThirdTakakazu FujimotoTianyi TangYingying Qiao

Tell us about your project and what you’re hoping to achieve this semester.

Walkies is a pitch project that was initiated in Projects 1 and that we’re now exploring further in Projects 3. Walkies is a smart wearable toy for toddlers that is fun to play and enhances their motor and intellectual development. For this term, our goal is to develop a smaller and more compact prototype with a refined iOS application. Looking forward, we would like to introduce Walkies to the market next year while continuing to implement more features to expand our viable target markets.

Why did you decide to do a pitch project instead of an industry project?

First of all, we are all passionate about Walkies. We had the product idea and developed the first iteration throughout Term 1, back in the Fall, where we received positive feedback from our user testing sessions, faculty advisors and industry experts. So we’re very excited and motivated to take Walkies to the next stage as we think it has great market potential.

Additionally, CDM provides many different kinds of support—such as faculty consultancy, industry networks, work space and technical support—and we didn’t want to miss this amazing opportunity to take advantage of what the CDM has to offer.

What is your team most excited about this semester?

We pivoted the product mission based on the feedback from user testing and advice from industry experts and faculty advisors. The big picture is becoming clearer and we are more excited than ever to bring Walkies to life. This term will be an important starting point for the new Walkies and there will be several milestones we aim to hit during the three months. Each step will be a victory for us and at the end of the term, we expect to see a prototype that is small enough and functioning well with validated market potential.

The students will be presenting their final projects to a team of industry experts in July. The panel will weigh in on the validity of the projects and whether or not they’d be willing to invest in the students’ startups.

Original source: Centre for Digital Media. Reprinted with permission.

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