Students Showcase Innovations in Shark Tank Style Competition

The winning idea is an app that connects automobile drivers to mechanics.

QuickMech team after receiving first prize checkShark Tank came to Manhattan College.

Nine teams of students from the O’Malley School of Business, School of Engineering and School of Science competed in the College’s annual Innovation Challenge in March. The teams pitched their inventions and innovations to a panel of Manhattan College alumni and faculty entrepreneur judges that awarded a total of $5,000 in startup cash to three winning teams. 

The team of Karthik Maddur ’19, an electrical engineer major, Praise Omiponle ’19, a global business and management major, and Kishan Thakurdin ’19, a mechanical engineering major, created QuickMech, which took home the first prize of $2,500. The team designed a smartphone app that allows users to find local car mechanics in their area.

“Let’s face it. Auto repairs are very expensive and trying to find the best price you can is very time consuming,” Thakurdin said during the team’s presentation.

The team’s goal is to populate the QuickMech app with reviews of local mechanics and prices for frequent repair jobs without having to get price quotes from different mechanics, saving time and allowing for transparent price comparison. Users are also able to post photos of damage to their vehicle to the app, and mechanics can provide users a direct quote on the price of services based on the damages.

In their market research, the team found that 9 of 10 users they asked would sign up for the QuickMech app, and 10 local body shops would subscribe to advertise their services and thereby building the app’s revenue base.

Toys for Special Needs Kids 

The second prize of $1,500 went to the combined engineering and business student team, ButtonBlitz: Tom Englert ’19, Chris Garritano ’19, Madison Jennings ’19, Nicole Miller ’20, Tara O’Shea ’19 and Gianna Pavone ’19. They created a toy for children with special needs to increase their motor skills, focusing on toys that may be less stimulating for children with Down Syndrome, which affects one in 700 babies in the United States. The group is planning to attend World Down Syndrome Day and patent their toy in order to market it to parents and families.

Smart Tech for Distracted Commuters

The UNLINK team captured the third-place prize of $500, presenting a plan for transit safety. The all-freshman team of Lauryn Hughes ’22, Grace McNamara ’22, Grace Taggart ’22 and Caroline Voigt ’22 identified RFID technology, similar to a store security tag, that can alert a distracted commuter wearing headphones to their surroundings, saving lives at dangerous crossings.

“We were very impressed by the business ideas students came up with and how they developed them,” said Donald Gibson, Ph.D., dean of the O’Malley School of Business. “This challenge showed how innovative Manhattan College students can be.”

Manhattan College’s Innovation Challenge is part of a series of competitions that students take part in throughout the year. The College hosts a Business Analytics Conference each May, where teams from colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada engage in the art and science of decision-making and practice their ability to draw business insight from a comprehensive analysis of relevant data.

Watch a replay of the event | View photos from the event