Glow-in-the-dark contact lenses; a mobile app that lets you keep watching a movie when you leave the theater to visit the restroom; a company that crowd-sources investments in residential real estate; a game app that combines elements of charades, SnapChat and Words With Friends; and a music app that lets you add text and pictures to snippets of songs and share them on social media.
These were the finalists in York College’s fourth annual “elevator pitch” competition last week. During the event, students competed for cash prizes and office space in the school’s J.D. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship by presenting their business ideas to a panel of judges in under three minutes each.
That last item, by the way — the music app — not only won the competition, it’s already getting a bit of interest from computer giant Apple Inc.
Its creator, freshman and York resident Alyssa McDevitt, said after the event that she had the idea in mind when she attended Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco last June. She’d won a scholarship to attend the event for free, and was so inspired afterward that she took “a complete shot in the dark” and emailed company CEO Tim Cook to tell him about her NoiseHub app.
Soon after — in a dream scenario that would make any first-year computer science major envious — McDevitt got a reply from iTunes inventor and Vice President of Consumer Applications Jeff Robin, who told her that Cook himself had forwarded her email on to him.
Robin asked McDevitt if they could chat on the phone, which they later did, and he even offered a few suggestions on how she could tweak NoiseHub and make it Apple-friendly.
“Then he said, ‘Come back to next year’s conference and we’ll talk again,'” McDevitt explained, beaming at the memory.
But, as she pointed out in last week’s elevator pitch, she’s still in the “pre-revenue” stage and needs “funding and a mentor.”
“So let’s make some noise!” she told the judges.
Her $1,000 prize and new office in the Brown Center’s business incubator are certainly a good start.