3 Grinnell Students Win $2K for Their First-Place Startup Idea

December 07, 2017

Three Grinnell College students have won $2,000 as their first-place prize in the Pioneer Weekend Innovation Competition, sponsored by the College’s Wilson Center for Innovation and Leadership.

Pioneer Weekend is a competition in which students, in teams of two or more, showcase their ideas by going through the initial phases of creating a startup. The weekend culminates in each team creating a prototype for their idea. The top three teams, chosen by a panel of alumni and Iowa entrepreneurs, win a cash prize to help kick-start their ideas. This year’s competition drew 20 participants.

Yash Gupta, Nicole Nie, and Papa Kojo Ampim-Darko with their award
The first-place team, comprised of Yash Gupta ’20, Nicole Nie ’19, and Papa Kojo Ampim-Darko ’19, formulated an idea called DSRPTN. DSRPTN is a website, like Squarespace or Wix, which allows users to drag and drop standardized “components” into a visual editor. DSRPTN uses software to create iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and Web applications all at the same time. The project’s main goal is to enable anyone to sit down at a computer and create a feature-rich application for all major devices as simply as creating a poster or typing up a document. The DSRPTN team won $2,000.

The second-place team, comprised Emmet Sandberg ’18, Henry Bolster ’18, and Gracee Wallach ’18, pitched an idea called Doorway. Doorway is a location-based canvassing app that simplifies and personalizes political activism. It empowers citizens to get involved in making a difference and enables campaigns to intelligently interact with their supporters—all powered by data. The Doorway team won $1,000.

The idea for Roots, a vegetable-based nutrition snack bar with 100 calories and 0 grams of sugar, came in third place. The Roots team, which won $500, consisted of Julia Echikson ’20 and Alden Wahsono ’20.