Fairfield Startup participants 2023

Photo from Fairfield University

2024 Fairfield StartUp participants

In a Shart Tank-style event at Fairfield University, $30,000 will be awarded in seed grants to some of five competing teams to help them expand their startups.

This year’s annual Fairfield StartUp Showcase, on Thursday, April 25, at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts on the Fairfield University campus. The event is free and open to the public.

— an announcement from Fairfield University

Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the Showcase starts at 7 p.m. Winning teams will receive monetary awards from the investor panel.

Here’s how the $30,000 in showcase seed grants will be awarded:

Fairfield will be awarding $30,000 in showcase seed grants to the teams to help support expanding their startups.

· $2,500 for honorable mentions

· $5,000 for third place winner

· $7,500 for runner up

· and $12,500 for the top team

Last semester, students progressed through a series of workshops to develop their pitch presentation skills. Teams were then invited to pitch during the Qualifier Round in front of a panel of judges.

Video of Last Year’s Show (88 Min)

2023 Fairfield StartUp Showcase from Fairfield University on Vimeo.

The Teams

The following five teams made it through that round and have been collaborating weekly with mentors to perfect their business plans and practice their pitches in preparation for the live Showcase event:

• Financially is a comprehensive, no-cost financial wellness app that collaborates with users, no matter their prior financial knowledge, providing personalized tips and simplified financial education to support the development of a secure financial future.

• Misfits of the Sea (MOTS) is the future of trophy sportfishing; through innovative lure designs, MOTS empowers anglers to catch trophy-class fish on light tackle.

• Wave Creations is a beach-inspired lifestyle brand that encourages individuals to ride the WAVE of life’s thrilling adventures and aims to build a community of beach lovers and adventure enthusiasts who share their deep passion for exploring the world.

• PathwayPro is an empowering tool for higher-ed students that bridges the gap between career and curriculum, using comprehensive insights for efficient course planning, career readiness, and progress tracking.

• Higher Skills is a student-focused SaaS platform that leverages reactive AI and machine learning to refine essential soft skills for workplace success. Our immersive simulations analyze students’ abilities while providing personalized insights to elevate their careers.

“This year we have a fun cohort of students and ideas to work with. The students come from all graduation years and most participants are not business majors,” said StartUp Program Director Chris Huntley, PhD.

“The companies range from financial services to skills training to consumer goods,” he said. “What makes it special for me is that I have no idea which teams are going to get the biggest checks. Like everybody else, I will have to wait until April 25.” said StartUp Program Director Chris Huntley, PhD.

The Investor Panel and the Host

The 2024 Investor Panel includes:

—Joseph R. (Joe) Bronson, ’70 is currently chief executive officer and principal of The Bronson Group, LLC., a business advisory group focused on operational and financial consulting, which was founded in 2011.

—Chris Hillock, ’00 leads the portfolio development function for Dell Technologies Capital, the venture capital arm of Dell Technologies.

—Jamie Ramerini, ’13 is currently chief operating officer of COMPEL CEOs, a thriving family business. Ramerini brings a wealth of experience and a strategic vision that propels the company forward.

—Mindee Blanco, P’24 is chief operating officer and co-founder of Barnum Financial Group. Barnum Financial Group is an award-winning firm with over 500 advisors & associates serving 280,000 clients across the country.

—Thomas M. Scalera, ’93 is chief executive officer of Delticus Group. He is the former executive vice president and chief financial officer of ITT Inc., a $3 billion global manufacturer of engineered solutions for the industrial, energy, and transportation markets.

This year’s StartUp host is Mariana Antaya, ’23, a product manager at Microsoft Teams and founder of quantifAI — a fintech startup that commenced at Fairfield Startup in 2022. Antaya actively mentors on product management, big tech and startups on Tik Tok and in her online community Product House.

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