On April 30, seven Carey Business School teams and students competed for funding to infuse into their startups as part of the Student Startup Challenge. Andrew Lyle, a Flexible MBA student, took home the top purse in both the first and second rounds of the challenge, totaling $15,500, to invest in his newly launched telemedicine site, Sifter.
The Student Startup Challenge encourages Carey students and entrepreneurs to bring their visions to life and their ideas to market. As solo entrepreneurs or in teams, students compete for two rounds of funding by pitching their business plans to a panel of investors and industry experts. In the first round, the top team or teams receive various amount of seed funding to develop their concepts, meet monthly with an industry mentor, and receive valuable investor feedback. Then they reconvene for a second round to show their progress, with one winning team taking home the $10,000 prize.
In both rounds, Lyle competed against six other Carey Business School teams with pitches including an AI platform that predicts the success rate of new drug candidates, an app that increases visibility and traffic for local restaurants, and a platform that facilitates and guides Chinese families and students through the application and acceptance to U.S. universities, among others.
The winning pitch
Lyle swept both rounds in the Student Startup Challenge with his telemedicine platform, Sifter, a website that helps consumers navigate and compare telemedicine options. Just like Expedia, Lyle’s site gives patients the opportunity to select their telemedicine preferences: choosing their treatment, price point, and location to find the best provider.
“How can we simplify this process?” Lyle asked. “I came up with this idea for a central database for telemedicine companies that puts the decision making in the hands of the patient.”
Lyle used his initial round of funding for web development, user experience design, and paid media to drive traffic. The site launched mid-April, and since then he has seen continued growth of the platform, new visitors, and conversions. He’s heard from telemedicine providers asking to be included.