ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — Two St. Bonaventure University students were members of the winning team at a Techstars Startup Weekend competition, a virtual event hosted by the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth over the weekend of Feb. 19-21.
St. Bonaventure students Alec Peinkofer, a senior from Bradford, Pennsylvania, who is pursuing his MBA in general business, and Darion Gregory, a sophomore environmental studies major from Smethport, Pennsylvania, were part of a collaborative team rounded out by two UMass Dartmouth students and a UMass Dartmouth alumnus.
Techstars Startup Weekends are three-day events where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their ideas for new startup companies. Held in hundreds of locations around the world, they draw teams composed of students, developers, investors, marketing experts, artists and others invested in getting new ideas off the ground. Teams hear guest speakers and tap into the expertise of mentors and technical advisers as they make their pitches to a panel of judges.
“In this online event, teams made an initial one-minute pitch on Friday evening, formed groups and workshopped on Saturday, then made a final five-minute pitch to a panel of judges at the end of the day on Sunday,” said Dr. Konrad Jamro, associate professor of management at St. Bonaventure and SBU academic coordinator for the event.
The SBU-UMass Dartmouth team, named Green Lobstah, presented the idea of providing sustainable energy to off-shore agriculture farms by substituting diesel generators with floating vertical axis wind turbines, said Jamro.
“I’m very happy for Alec and Darion, who worked hard over the weekend, got to know people from industry, and worked with mentors to prepare a winning pitch,” he said.
Joining them from UMass Dartmouth were students Sarah Dulac and Andrea Elloian, and 2020 alumnus Greg Browne, now a graduate student and research assistant at the university.
The event served as somewhat of a warmup for Peinkofer, Gregory, Dulac and Elloian, as all are members of a team that will pitch the same idea at the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2021 Marine Energy Collegiate Competition, the International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE), at the end of April.
Held virtually, the ICOE conference features teams from around the globe pitching innovative marine energy proposals for sustaining what’s known as the blue economy — development of socioeconomic benefits from the oceans while sustaining their delicate ecosystems.