Cal Poly Students Win Cash Prizes for Innovative Ideas at CIE’s 13th Annual Elevator Pitch Competition – Cal Poly San Luis Obispo News | Team Cansler

Honorees Owen Works and Camille Boiteux with their awards at CIE’s 13th Annual Elevator Pitch Competition.

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Two Cal Poly students won $1,500 at the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) 13th Annual Elevator Pitch Competition, a fast-paced, high-energy competition for student entrepreneurs held Nov. 2 at the Performing Arts Center was held Christopher Cohan Center.

Ten finalists, selected from an initial pool of 50 applicants, each had 90 seconds to present their innovative products, services and startup ideas. They were evaluated by a panel of judges based on four criteria: how well the problem or opportunity was explained; was the idea innovative; the direction was clear; and the pitch was convincing.

Owen Works, a senior industrial engineer based out of Victoria, British Columbia, received the $1,000 first place award with his pitch for DrinkWise, a temporary tattoo that allows users to take real-time measurements of their blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

“The win was a bit of a shock because I thought there were some really good ideas and pitches,” Works said. “(Before I applied for the competition) I talked to a lot of my friends about my idea and they all liked it and said they should do it and I’m very glad I did.”

Works said he intends to expand his team and begin development of the temporary tattoos.

Camille Boiteux, a junior business economist specializing in entrepreneurship from Saratoga, California, received the $500 audience award.

Her pitch for Swish Lash was the top pick of the contestants. Swish Lash is a uniquely shaped, reusable sponge brush that removes mascara in just a few swipes.

Boiteux also entered the 2020 Elevator Pitch Competition with a social science app designed to make learning fun.

“I’ve been involved since my freshman year (at CIE), but this is my first time competing as a finalist and winning an award,” said Boiteux. “This is crazy to me.”

Boiteux said she plans to start testing her prototypes to see which one is most effective. She will also continue to work with the CIE Hatchery, an on-campus resource for Cal Poly students interested in entrepreneurship or starting their own business.

Other Elevator Pitch Competition finalists were:

— Brake Buddy, a patent-pending brake light that uses advanced LED technology to allow drivers to gauge how hard the car in front is braking, presented by Mason Elefant, a junior business graduate major in marketing management.

— Feed, an Apple-based mobile application dedicated to food sharing, allowing foodies to share their food experiences and recommendations, presented by computer science senior Isha Lamba.

– Hermeats, a student-to-student meal delivery service that allows students to order meals for each other on campus, pioneered by Sahith Karra, a freshman computer science student.

– The Mycelial Biodigester, a mycelial biodigester that can break down plastics into their organic components or grow a biodegradable plastic substitute similar to styrofoam, introduced by Thaddeus Ziarkowski, a business economist with a focus on entrepreneurship.

– ReBrush, a brush with refillable bristles that allows users to keep the same grip even after the bristles have been ruined by dried paint, pitched by Andrew Choumas, Senior Business Administration with a focus on real estate finance.

— Remote Work Vans, an RV rental service that provides remote work professionals with a customized van that converts between a traditional RV and mobile workspace, presented by Garrison Rowland, a senior in business with a focus on entrepreneurship.

— Top of the Bagel, a bagel company focused on innovation in the bagel industry, offering bagels with condiments covering both the top and bottom of the bagel, presented by Elizabeth Darst, freshman business student.

— VLab Education, a virtual reality (VR) company creating realistic VR chemistry labs for underfunded high school educators and homeschool programs presented by Adam Langevin, a graduate student in polymers and coatings science.

Cal Poly alumni Sara Glaser (Business Administration, ’21) and Madison Lewandowski (Business Administration, ’22) were the keynote speakers at the event. The pair co-founded HiLite, a San Luis Obispo-based fitness startup that connects users with a low-impact workout solution that reverses muscle breakdown.

During her 15-minute address, Lewandowski said her entrepreneurial journey began three years ago at the CIE’s 2019 Elevator Pitch Competition. During their college careers, Glaser and Lewandowski participated in several CIE programs and competitions, including the Cal Poly Startup Marathon – where they met in 2019 – the Hatchery, the Summer Accelerator and Innovation Quest (iQ).

Visit the CIE YouTube channel at to view the presentations from this year’s elevator pitch competition.

About the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The CIE opens a world of entrepreneurial opportunity for Cal Poly students, faculty and community members and fosters entrepreneurial activity and dialogue throughout the University and throughout San Luis Obispo. For more information, see

November 14, 2022
Contact: Stephanie Zombek

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