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Meet 2017’s class of entrepreneurs

Joshua Irvine

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The six best projects from the entrepreneurs class will be selected by teacher Daniel Vesper on Monday.  Those selected will then present their projects to a board of judges on Wednesday.  The project selected by that board will receive $500 and admission to a second round of competition between the victorious projects from other D214 schools, with a grand prize of $1,000 going to the winner of that competition.

Here is a summary of the 13 projects from which Vesper and then the board will select their candidate; this post will be updated regularly as the projects proceed through each round of competition.

Update #2: Mama Bear’s Delivery Company was selected to move onto the district competition by the board of judges at Wednesday’s event at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library.  Read the full story here.

Update #1: Derive, Inner Diamond, Playbook, Mama Bear’s Delivery Company, Skyline Studios, and Qlub have all been selected to compete at Wednesday’s tournament.

The following projects competed on Monday and Tuesday, May 7-8:



Who’s running it: sophomore Vince Leopardi, senior Christian Castro

What is it: “Self spotting” bench press designed to prevent injury.

What kind of money do they need: Want $47,000 from investors.

What’s the problem: Sensor technology doesn’t exist… yet.

Is it gonna work (according to creators): No.

Social Media/Website: Non-functioning Facebook.



Who: juniors Will Johnstone and Baloy Lagunes, senior Theo Kozil

What: An app that offers suggestions for essay topics based on a 20 question-style survey

The Money: Say they need $55,000 to finance the whole thing.

The Problem: See “The Money.”

Gonna Work: Yes.

Social Media/Website: brainstreaminc (Instagram), Facebook


Check it Off

Who: juniors Sam Alonzo and Jake Stearns, senior Matt Rejdak

What: App that connects elderly patrons in need of help with household tasks with contracted teens.

The Money: Want $5,000 from investors.

The Problem: Need a web domain + advertising that reaches both teens and elderly.

Gonna Work: Yes.

Social Media/Website: @Check_it_Off (Twitter)



Who: juniors Anna Brzezicki and Olivia Glowacka

What: “Travel management” app to help international businessmen navigate foreign locales.

The Money: Want $31,000 from investors.

The Problem: Producing revenue from app without charging customers to download.

Gonna Work: Yes.

Social Media/Website: travelwithderive (Instagram),



Who: junior Brian Massaccesi, senior Dylan Rueffer

What: Smartphone case that changes colors via an app on the phone.

The Money: Don’t know yet.

The Problem: Producing a functioning case that can interact with the app.

Gonna Work: Yes.

Social Media/Website: Non-functioning Instagram.


Inner Diamond

Who: seniors Megan Kopeny, Sarah Nalepa, Kendall Palmer

What: Non-profit multi-week “bonding sessions” between teens with cognitive or physical disabilities and unaffected teens.

The Money: Donation-based, but preferably $5000.

The Problem: Finding donors.

Gonna Work: Yes.

Social Media/Website: Facebook.


Mama Bear’s Delivery Corporation

Who: Seniors Sophia Cacioppo, Danny Gritt, Justin Zotos, Nick Spaid prior to his death in April 2017.

What: A web service where individuals select items from the site to be sent in “care packages” to college students.

The Money: Want $6,200 for 15% of company.

The Problem: Their website can’t yet process orders (Resolved as of May 8).

Gonna Work: Yes.

Social Media/Website: @MamaBearDeliver (Twitter) MamaBearDeliveryCo (Facebook)


Next Nutrition Box

Who: seniors Ramsin Gewarges, Luke Johnson, Noah Keene, Patrick O’Brien, Dominika Piczura

What: Order service for customized samples of nutritional supplements.

The Money:

The Problem: Garnering interest from supplement producers.

Gonna Work: Yes.

Social Media/Website: @nextlevelnutrition (Instagram)



Who: sophomore Alex Diaz, seniors Michael Haines, Alex Nickens, Nadir Sabet

What: Instructional video game for football players – “Madden meets huddle.”

The Money: “Lots” and/or $25 million.

The Problem: Lack technical knowledge of video game production/design.

Gonna Work: Yes.

Social Media/Website: None.


Snap Cleat

Who: junior Bobby Donovan, seniors Alex Chrisos, Matt Dickey, Shane Donohue

What: Athletic shoe with interchangeable cleats for different sports.

The Money: $16,450 for 19.3% of the company.

The Problem: Creating the actual cleat system.

Gonna Work: If they get the money, yes.

Social Media/Website: None.


Skyline Studios

Who: seniors Troy Fischer and Arthik Patel

What: Drone photography service that caters to local realtors.

The Money: Want $2,000 for 6% of the company from investors – already partnered with local realtor.

The Problem: Acquiring a commercial drone license

Gonna Work: Yes.

Social Media/Website: @skylinestudiosphotography (Instagram),



Who: seniors Aleksandra Kalita and Ana Karapetiani

What: Restaurant offering “multinational” cuisine.

The Money: Don’t know yet.

The Problem: Actually running a restaurant.

Gonna Work: No.

Social Media/Website: Wixsite, but 404 not found.



Who: Junior Hayley Skiko, seniors Oliver Harman and Michael Marzigliano

What: An after-school activity center a la the YMCA.

The Money: $30,000 or a million, depending on who you ask – ideal investor corporate sponsors like Under Armor.

The Problem: It’d be incredibly expensive.

Gonna Work: No.

Social media/website: @theqlub (Instagram)



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Meet 2017’s class of entrepreneurs