Congratulations to the TRSM student teams behind startups Sneakerdeck and Scuto for each winning $25,000 in the Slaight New Venture Competition, hosted by StartMeUp @ Enactus Ryerson, on March 2, 2018.
For 17 years, the Slaight New Venture Competition in TRSM, generously supported by the Slaight Family Foundation, has fostered student entrepreneurship by awarding two $25,000 prizes of startup seed money to two TRSM students – one female and one male. This year’s winners were Vilirsa Rajadurai (BComm, Global Management Studies) for Scuto, a two-sided mobile application which serves event creators and vendors, and Owen Osinde (BComm, Entrepreneurship and Strategy) for Sneakerdeck, an online resell marketplace for sneakers.
Rajadurai, Scuto’s Creative and Marketing Director, and her team made up of Kartik Balasundaram (BComm, Business Technology Management) and Navine Manivannan (Waterloo University, Computer Engineering), created the Scuto app to allow users to hire reliable vendors and create the perfect events with the help of virtual reality and artificial intelligence.
According to Rajadurai, “We were about to apply for a loan to continue with our project as costs started to rise. Luckily, we entered the Slaight New Venture competition, were accepted to the finals, and won.” She explains, “We will be using these funds to further develop our product, implement the technology we hoped to integrate, and promote our app without having to get a loan.”
The team, which received help from Kostyantyn Grabar (Project Manager, Enactus) plans to launch their app in the iOS and Android store by July 1st, 2018, three months sooner than if they did not get funding through the competition.
Osinde, CEO of Sneakerdeck, and teammate Jason Abraham created an online resell marketplace that allows individuals who are passionate about sneakers with a place to resell their shoes. They protect buyers from purchasing fake sneakers online by providing an authentication service added to the platform before the product is received by the buyer.
After two previous tries in the Slaight New Venture Competition, the Sneakerdeck team finally won this year. The funds won through this competition will help the company strengthen their product technically and scale their product to the next level.
“I am extremely thankful to the Slaight Family, Ryerson University and StartMeUp for this opportunity,” Osinde says. “We will use these funds to grow Sneakerdeck and make it the world’s largest e-commerce sneaker business.” The team also received help from Grabar.
Through the Basecamp program run out of Sandbox by Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone, the two competition winners will be connected to support and mentorship opportunities in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, including Ryerson University Zones and a one-year free subscription to Clausehound’s library of small business contracts.
Other finalists that competed at the event included Jenifer Maney (PlantBox), Lakshmy Subramoniam (Tejo), Marcelo Reyes (Bloom & Roots) and Saathveehan Basgarathas (Giftora). One of the judges for the competition included TRSM alumni Chris Kay.