Two Haas teams among big winners at Big Ideas Competition

Sneha Sheth and Andrew Hill on Big Ideas Pitch Day

Berkeley-Haas startups rose to the top among a record-breaking 266 applications to the 2016 Big Ideas@Berkeley competition, with two teams taking top honors in their categories.

Dost and LiftEd were also among six finalists selected for the Big Ideas Grand Prize Pitch Day, where Dost placed first for Global Impact and LiftEd took second for Campus & Community Impact.

The Big Ideas competitors represented 750 students from 16 different universities. The competition, launched in 2006, is an annual contest aimed at providing funding, support, and encouragement to “innovative and high-impact student-led projects aimed at solving problems that matter to this generation.”

Forty-one teams were awarded prizes across nine different categories, with amounts ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.

The Berkeley-Haas winners:

  • LiftEd, co-founded by CEO Andrew Hill, MBA 16 (pictured), took first place in the Information Technology for Society category, and second in the Campus & Community Impact category on pitch day.LiftEd makes an iPad application that helps education professionals accurately measure and reliably report the progress of special education students. The app enables teachers to personalize student learning goals, analyze learning trends to make real-time adjustment to teaching methods, and share progress with school districts and parents. The team also won the grand prize at the LAUNCH competition last month.
  • Dost, which includes founder and CEO Sneha Sheth, MBA 16; Sindhuja Jeyabal, MIMS 16, I School; and Devanshi Unadkat, PhD candidate, School of Education, won first place for Global Impact at Pitch Day. Dost was a first-place Big Ideas winner in the “Mobiles for Reading” category. The team created a mobile phone platform that helps break the cycle of illiteracy by delivering early education content and activities to low-income moms. The Dost platform sends mothers pre-recorded voice messages with tips on learning activities and child development. It also collects data on the users’ demographic profiles and goals in order to customize the content. Dost also won second prize in the social startup category at LAUNCH and was a GSVC finalist this year in Bangkok.