Success Story

6 Penn State student startups to compete for up to $30,000 in Inc.U Competition

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Six Penn State student startups have been selected as finalists in Invent Penn State’s Inc.U Competition. Each team will compete for up to $30,000 in funding in a pitch competition being held during Penn State Startup Week powered by PNC. 

The finalists include:  

Basketball Today, founded by Justin Leusner, a student in the Smeal College of Business, is a startup that gives Generation Z sports content catered to their interests and social platform usage.  

BeyondClass is a centralized hub that provides college students easy and fair access to opportunities such as scholarships, networking, and career boosting competitions. BeyondClass is founded by students Stella Cho, College of Liberal Arts, Daniel Lee, Eberly College of Science and College of Information Sciences and Technology, Esther Lee, Smeal College of Business, and College of Engineering students Yoojin Lim, Charlie Kim, and Dohyoung Ko. 

Bindr, founded by Penn State York business student Mary Richardson, is an all-inclusive dating app that provides a safe online space for bisexual individuals.

Chirp Alert is an innovative application providing reliable news in challenging African environments. Chirp Alert is founded by College of Engineering students Eric Leon, Jamie Kantorczyk, and Sonika Kohli.

Solis, a user-friendly cloud computing platform founded by Nico Symer, a student in the College of Information Sciences and Technology.

Vera uses the latest technology to prepare college students for landing a job after graduation. Members of Vera include Yaj Dewan, Omer Kandemir, Stephen Leshko, and Omar Rady, all students in the College of Engineering.

The six finalists were selected from a total of 24 teams that applied from eight campuses. These teams saw a meaningful gap in their market space today and have something innovative and unique to fill it,” said Joanna Sutton, Inc.U Competition coordinator and innovation coordinator at the Corner LaunchBox powered by Penn State New Kensington. “When selecting the final six teams, I looked for those that have been out there talking to customers, learning about their needs and are making real progress to turning their idea into a reality.” 

Finalists will have access to pitch training and startup support services prior to the competition. In addition, teams will connect with the Entrepreneur Assistance Law Clinic to help them establish LLCs and the Intellectual Property Law Clinic for patent and intellectual property assistance. 

During the pitch competition, teams will be judged on how well they define the problem they are solving with their startup, the uniqueness and viability of their solution to the problem, market attributes and scalability, startup progress and credibility, justification for use of funding, and quality of presentation.  

The final pitches will be available to watch on the Inc.U website on March 22. 

About the Inc.U Competition  

Inc.U is a signature program of Invent Penn State and an annual showcase of student innovation across the commonwealth. Every spring, the Inc.U Competition awards up to $30,000 in funding to the top six student startup teams at the culminating pitch event that takes place during Penn State Startup Week powered by PNC. This funding, coupled with ongoing pitch training and startup support services, enables student entrepreneurs to take the next step in turning their daydream into a reality.   

This project was financed in part by a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community & Economic Development.