Three CCEE students win in Rainforest virtual pitch competition

November 12, 2021

From self-supporting micro-habitats to water monitoring technology, New Mexico college and university students brought their best business ideas to the Fall 2021 Rainforest Pitch Competition. In this latest competition, students created a 90-second elevator-style pitch for their business idea for a chance to win a share of a $5,000 prize pool. This event was once again held virtually and received more than 70 video entries. Industry expert judges selected the top 10 pitches to win seed funding for their ideas.

"We were blown away with the number of submissions for this semester’s Rainforest Pitch Competition, as usual, the students were extremely creative and innovative,” said Rob DelCampo, executive director of the UNM Innovation Academy. “Our virtual Rainforest Pitch Competitions have been very successful, but we certainly miss the in-person excitement and are looking forward to the Spring 2022 semester to hopefully offer the final round live as we have in previous years."

The top two pitches won the Judges’ Choice Winner prize of $1000. The first winning team was Aashish Sanjay Khandelwal (CCEE) and Tzion Castillo for their product The Navigator – a smart sensing system to characterize aquatic ecosystems. The second winner was Tara Memarian for Kidsport, an interactive digital game where children can exercise with their favorite athlete at home.

The third and fourth place winners were awarded $750 for the Judges’ Choice Runner-Up prize. The first runner-up team was Ishtiaque Anwar (CCEE) and Mahya Hatambeigi (CCEE) for eSolv, a novel, strong, self-repairing, and low-cost material that can repair cracks instantly. The second runner-up prize winner was Arthur Steinkamp for Cold-No-More Technology, re-chargeable heated gloves, and boots designed for battling cold weather.

The six remaining finalists each won $250, along with detailed feedback from the judges. Those finalists were Tina Memarian for “eLetter,” Ethan Ramos for “Military Members First,” Morgan Parker for “Ecommerce Allies,” Anthony Wallace for “Free Living Tech,” John Adams for “Problem Solvers,” and Aubrey Baldonado for “Beans Coffee Shop.”

The Rainforest Pitch Competition is a biannual event put on by the UNM Innovation Academy and UNM Rainforest Innovations.

For more information, visit UNM Rainforest Innovations.