Interactive Media student part of winning team at startup competition

Henry Kean ’14 G’15 collaborated with two UNC-Greensboro students to produce the winning business plan at Triad Startup Weekend hosted by Elon University’s Doherty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

<p>Henry Kean &rsquo;14 G&rsquo;15 and his team won first place at the Triad Startup Weekend competition held on campus Nov. 21-23.</p>
Henry Kean ’14, a graduate student in Elon’s Interactive Media master’s program, was part of a team that captured first place during Triad Startup Weekend, a 54-hour competition held Nov. 21-23 on the Elon University campus where entrepreneurs shared ideas, pitched projects and launched startups.

Collaborating with University of North Carolina at Greensboro students Larry Long and Ryan Shockey, Kean developed a business model for “RE-Mind,” a tool that makes music therapy more affordable and accessible to Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers.

“RE-Mind” bested a competitive field consisting of more than 50 participants, hailing from Raleigh to Asheville. Ten rotating coaches from the Triad entrepreneurial community assisted the participants, who ultimately had their business proposals graded by four judges.

In addition to Kean, other Elon students participated, including MBA student Brian Piantadosi, marketing major Alex Bergelson ’18 and accounting major Rob Danis ’16.

Employed by Avelino Construction in Ramseur, N.C., Piantadosi joined two area professionals to pitch “Dronas,” which finished second in the competition. The project highlighted a developing aerial mapping service that provides the agriculture industry with timely scientific data that improves crop management.

Bergelson and Danis teamed with three North Carolina State University students to capture third place with their proposal of “Music On Hold.” The project featured an app that allows individuals to customize their experience when placed on hold during a phone conversation.

According to Kevin O’Mara, executive director of Elon University’s Doherty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, Startup Weekend is a Seattle-based not-for-profit organization that encourages entrepreneurship in local communities around the globe. Every year the group organizes more than 1,100 events in more than 100 countries. 

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: Community members are welcome to pitch their startup ideas and receive feedback from their peers. Teams form around the top ideas — as determined by popular vote — and embark on a three-day frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing and market validation. The weekend culminates with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback. Finally, the judges present participants with awards and prizes.

Elon University, UNC-Greensboro, High Point University, Biscuitville, Pandora’s Pies, Acorn Inn, Company Shops and TS Designs sponsored the three-day event, held at the Koury Business Center. This is the second year Triad Startup Weekend was hosted on Elon’s campus.