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Four Pitch Night Teams Secure Funding for Their Startups

Brush Bestie Team members Ally Galiene, Colin Martens, and Lauren Milanak

All four teams competing at the May 20 Pitch Night, the annual Business Incubator “Shark-Tank” style event, won funding, making the students eligible to continue with their startups as seniors in the LFHS Business Accelerator honors class.

Winning $4,000 in prize money and the Foundation Cup (which signifies the business that judges deem most viable) was Brush Bestie. Team members Ally Galiene, Colin Martens, and Lauren Milanak (pictured above) impressed judges with their  four-in-one portable retractable set of makeup brushes.

They will also get a full year of support from Pitch Night underwriting partners LifeWorking Coworking and Fresh Start Business Incubator (FSBI). That support, which LFHS Foundation Chair Suzanne Sands said is new this year, will include additional mentorship from FSBI and access to LifeWorking Coworking's space throughout the year.

Simply Rent won Best Pitch and $3,000. Group members are William Baughman, Jensen Borowski, Sahil Conjeevaram, and Patrick Lee and their idea is a localized rental service site for people to rent tools, sports equipment, and household items to neighbors.

The Soapy Sidekicks team won $2,000 for a handy dispenser of single-use dissolvable soap sheets parents can use with children when a washroom is not available. Members of that team are Anthony Fiordaliso, Hadley Marshall, Quinn Mulligan, and Bea Pierce.

The Safety Band, a rechargeable GPS locator charm bracelet to be worn by small children and linked via an app to a parent’s cell phone, won $1,000. Group members are Alexa Cote, Sophie Huddlestun, Sheridan Leahy, Brody Oesterlein, and Errol Rohrbach.

All were also eligible for donations until May 27 through the LFHS Foundation website.

The Pitch Night teams came out of a field of 11 Business Incubator program groups, all of which got guidance and were mentored by local business leaders. In early March, the 11 teams presented minimum viable product (MVP) pitches. After that, five self-selected student teams went on to make virtual Academic Pitches on May 13 and 14. Judges then decided which four teams moved on to Pitch Night.

The event, which in non-COVID years, is live, was hybrid this year with teams, judges, and student participants’ parents among the masked and safely distanced in-person guests at the LFHS Raymond Moore Auditorium. Others could view the event via livestream.

An additional highlight, Sands said, was last year’s Best Pitch-winning team, The Shondom (a shoe protector), donating $1,500 of money it didn’t use back to the LFHS Foundation for future prize money. Shondom team members were all graduating and shutting down their business, she said. With the donation, they became Innovation Partners.