Our first student innovation program, now in its fifth year, is the CRUNCH Student Design Challenge + Incubator. CRUNCH students “learn by doing” through an accelerated, skill-based, community-centric collaboration between students and external partners.  Interdisciplinary student teams of three (a hustler, a hacker and a designer) rapid-prototype a concept from conception to alpha testing in seven weeks. During this intense period each team receives one-on-one mentorship from advisors as well as from the leadership of the Lab, exploring such secrets of a successful startup as:

  • Determining your minimum viable brand
  • Discovering ways to motivate customers
  • Defining and sharing your story
  • Designing your competitive advantage

We received an excellent round of proposals this year. All were evaluated on the idea’s potential, the academic diversity of the team and how well it aligns with the Lab’s mission to explore emerging challenges and opportunities in society, media, and culture. This year, the seven student teams chosen have a strong focus on media and entertainment and align closely with the Edison Project. 

The seven teams chosen for the 2015 CRUNCH Student Design Challenge + Incubator are:

  • Louder – lets users amplify sound by syncing the devices you have on hand.
  • ElemenTerra – world-builds new user-generated VR content experiences.
  • Forage Thrift  – connects the world of thrifters to curated unique thrift shops through an online marketplace of secondhand clothing.
  • HexCare – combines all your wearables to make data actionable for personal health exploration.
  • Prevail Games – helps victims of sexual violence overcome their trauma through an adventure role-playing game.
  • Stunt Players – allows stuntmen and women to promote themselves to industry coordinators, producers, and directors in order to find work via a subscription-based service.
  • City Key - a tool for boutique hotels to help their guests plan amazing trips

Each team chosen for the spring 2015 cohort receives $2,500 to develop their startup’s concept over the seven weeks. Those teams that complete the course will present to a jury of successful industry leaders and entrepreneurs at the Lab’s spring 2015 Evening of Innovation. The best venture will go on to become our next year’s Startup-in-Residence, during which they receive further mentorship and support.  

We are proud that two of the four past winners have gone on to external accelerators, which proves CRUNCH students enter the modern workforce with a flexible, entrepreneurial mindset. As part of each sponsor’s membership supports the CRUNCH Student Design Challenge + Incubator, we hope that you take as much pride in this accomplishment as we do.