Indiana Wesleyan Student Wins Inaugural Crossroads Collegiate

by Apr 29, 2021

Our inaugural Crossroads Collegiate Pitch Competition is a wrap! And we couldn’t be happier. Huge thanks to our spotlight sponsors, Purdue Ventures and Velocities, as well as our other sponsors, our amazing judges, and of course the fifteen fantastic startups who brought their A game.

ProBook Sports won first place. Founder and CEO Andre Harakas from Indiana Wesleyan University took home a cash prize of $5,000, priority access to the Indiana University Maurer School of Law IP Clinic, and a guaranteed spot to pitch at the prestigious Elevate Nexus Pitch Competition.

ProBook Sport streamlines sports team management, allowing coaches to track and foster athlete development while building team culture through an all-in-one app that allows them to share game videos, set goals for athlete nutrition, share chat and news in a team feed, message players and their families, and more. Harakas and co-founders Carter Dood and Graham Terry have already developed an MVP (minimum viable product), secured celebrity sports ambassadors, and begun selling in a market they estimate at $1.78 billion in size.

Harakas, who had taken his last exam as a senior as Indiana Wesleyan just one hour before pitching to the judges, said the Crossroads Collegiate prize money will go toward marketing the app this summer.

Zokos, a startup from Ryan Ryker at Ivy Tech South Bend, placed second in the competition and will also pitch at Elevate Nexus. Zokos is a software company that has developed a proprietary app for resellers of liquidated e-commerce returns to process and post products to online marketplaces up to seven times faster.

Crossroads Collegiate Pitch Competition was open to any student currently enrolled at any Indiana university or college with a startup based in Indiana. Fifteen startups competed from eleven campuses around the state, including Butler University, Hanover College, Indiana University, Indiana Wesleyan, Ivy Tech Bloomington, Ivy Tech South Bend-Elkhart, Purdue University, Taylor University, the University of Notre Dame, and Wabash College.

The four finalists were Naxos Neighbors (Joanne Kelley Cogdell, Ivy Tech South Bend, and Kirk Hoey, Ivy Tech Richmond), ProBook (Andre Harakas, Carter Dood, and Graham Terry, Indiana Wesleyan University), Spoke Locally (Matt Baggott, Hanover College), and Zokos (Ryan Ryker, Rod Baradan, Julian Marquez, and Michael Altenburger, Ivy Tech South Bend).

“Crossroads Collegiate attracted some terrific student entrepreneurs,” said Andy Lehman, Head of Accelerator Programming for The Mill. “Indiana college students are not just thinking about entrepreneurship; they’re already creating exciting, viable startups, while they’re still in school. We were impressed by their innovation, their passion, and their market savvy. ProBook is an outstanding startup with a very bright future.”

Each student submitted an executive summary, a pitch deck, and a 10-minute pitch video to the competition. A panel of seventeen judges of entrepreneurs, investors, and business experts selected four finalists, who pitched live by Zoom. This was the first year for the collegiate pitch competition, which was inspired by The Mill’s flagship event, the Crossroads Pitch Competition. The fifth annual Crossroads Pitch Competition will be held October 13, 2021.

Learn more about Crossroads Collegiate Pitch Competition.

Learn more about the flagship Crossroads event.