Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

To ignite and nurture creative, ethical, scientific minds that advance the human condition.

IMSA Student Entrepreneurs Pitch Winning Ideas to Innovation Experts


IMSA student entrepreneurs pitched a variety of new business ideas including Gargle 'n Go, Shock-Tool Technology and PrepUp to venture capital investors and entrepreneurial leaders during the second annual Power Pitch IMSA TALENT Entrepreneurial Contest. Click here to view photos.

A total of 12 student teams and individuals pitched their ideas for a business, product or service to potential investors who served as expert panel judges. The panel included: IMSA Class of 1989 Graduate John Hoesley, partner at Prism Capital Corporation; Lance Pressl, president of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Foundation; Stacy Ratner, founder and executive director of Open Books; Kelli Rhee, vice president of Sandbox Industries and Nik Rokop, managing director of the Knapp Entrepreneurship Center at IIT.

 The winning pitches included:

First place ($3,000) "Filesmelt" by Alex Goins of Springfield. Filesmelt allows you to upload files and images quickly and easily on the Web. With it, users can share their files without the hassles of email attachments and highly limited file hosts.

Second place ($2,000) "Confidence Unlimited" by Allie Larrabee of Chicago. Confidence Unlimited is an educational enterprise, centered around a program called Absolutely Incredible Kids, which aims to use video and Web-based learning to help kids and families better understand the importance of confidence in order to maximize potential and to help youths develop the skill sets necessary to achieve their life’s dreams.

Third place ($1,000) "PrepUp" by Michael Mirski and Kevin Chen of Naperville. For students striving to perform well on the SAT and ACT who are unable to afford expensive personal tutoring, PrepUP is an affordable online service that provides standardized testing questions and learning partners based on a constantly updated analysis of strengths and weaknesses in order to maximize learning. For a complete list of 2010 participants, click here

In the competition, students were evaluated on a number of criteria including the product and business model (usefulness/appeal, ability to produce and sell the product, etc.), evidence of research (market value, market size, financial projections, etc.) and presentation. The TALENT 2.0 program focuses on student entrepreneurship in the context of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and provides on-campus, off-campus and virtual learning experiences to stimulate and encourage entrepreneurial projects by IMSA students and others throughout Illinois.

To learn more about the IMSA TALENT program and Power Pitch contest visit: