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Proving Ground competition to take place online

Staff Report //April 15, 2020//

Proving Ground competition to take place online

Staff Report //April 15, 2020//

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The University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business is taking its 11th annual Proving Ground pitch competition online.

A first-place prize of $17,500 in two categories is up for grabs in Tuesday’s finals, which will take place this year on Facebook Live at 5 p.m. Fifty-three entries have been narrowed to two finalists in the Maxient Innovation Track and two in the Caliber Discovery Track.

In the first category, in which current students compete, junior Preston Headden will present In a Flash to a panel of judges. The photography service edits and processes photos for customers who have chosen a photographer. Seniors Jonah Rotholz and Nick Jeffcoat will present parAnimo, an initiative that seeks to reduce costs of purchasing home solar panels.

In the second category, two recent graduates will compete. Raphael Tosti, a 2017 alumnus, has developed Sectogen, which pairs gas turbine plants with needed tools in an online marketplace. Munir Tawfique will present Demeter, a mass-screening farming tool using drones and computers to find disease in crops and prevent its spread.

The second-place finisher in each category will receive $5,000.

The two innovations with the highest initial scores in each category that did not make the finals will face off in the SCRA/Fluor Fan Favorite Track, competing for a first-place prize of $6,000 determined by an audience vote.

Kiddiewallet, developed by master’s of business administration student BinBin Weng and computer science Ph.D. candidate Xianshan Qu, is an app aimed at educating children about money through interactive gaming. Ally B. Organics, pitched by junior Alexis Lewis and senior Tiffany Neckles, manufacturers organic healthy and beauty products with no more than six ingredients.

The second-place finisher will receive $3,000.