The votes are in, and the winner of the 2023 Crossroads Collegiate Pitch Competition is rScan! Co-founders Rod Baradaran and Dmitri Brown took home a $2,500 investment from Flywheel Fund and access to their network of investors and mentors.
rScan’s app simplifies the process of selling returned merchandise online. One of three products purchased online is returned, CEO Rod Baradaran explained in the winning pitch. Retailers are struggling to keep up with the volume and sell returns for pennies on the dollar. Returns resale has become an $800 billion market. For a person with garage space or a spare bedroom to store product, the opportunity for extra income could be substantial. But inspecting and posting product is time-consuming.
That’s where rScan comes in. rScan’s technology cuts the time to post an item for sale from 30 minutes to under two. rScan makes a lucrative returns side hustle much more feasible for the average consumer.
2023 Crossroads Collegiate co-presenter Dmitri Brown is the CTO of rScan. He developed his technical chops over nine years of working in natural gas trading and business development, where he built optimization algorithms for energy assets. rScan uses a sophisticated reverse lookup algorithm to gather detailed product information. Each entry can then be customized. The product also uses a neural network algorithm to generate price comparisons.
“The 2023 Crossroads Collegiate program was a wonderful experience that brought together driven college entrepreneurs with exciting new ideas,” said Baradaran. Rod is a graduate student in the MBA program at Indiana University. “Winning the pitch competition is a great achievement for us. It provides a validation of the hard work that we have put into developing rScan. We will be using the prize money to expand our user base and add great new features that will take our app to the next level of success!”
Prior to co-founding rScan, Baradaran co-founded Midwest Bitcoin and grew that startup to over $1.5 million in revenue before being acquired. In addition to Baradaran and Brown, rScan’s other cofounders include Ryan Ryker, Julian Marquez, and Michael Altenburger. COO Ryker is a business administration graduate of Ivy Tech and active member of the Startup South Bend – Elkhart Pre-Accelerator. He previously led operations for Gryphon, a national apparel supply company. Marquez, Chief Evangelist, mostly recently worked at Jayco, Inc., building traditional and guerrilla marketing campaigns. Altenburger, a Notre Dame graduate, was an Innovation Fellow at Enfocus in South Bend, ge now runs an internal corporate startup development program in the healthcare field at Anthem.
rScan released their beta in 2023. The company is currently located in South Bend and plans to expand in 2024 to Indianapolis, the returns headquarters of the country. To date over 31,000 unique items have been scanned using rScan, representing $1.6 million in product value.
“Rod and Dmitry exemplify the startup spirit,” said Andy Lehman, Head of Accelerator Programming here at The Mill. “They’ve identified a unique opportunity in a growing market, and built great technology to make that opportunity accessible.”
About the 2023 Crossroads Collegiate Competition
The 2023 Crossroads Collegiate competition included 39 contestants representing Indiana University, Ivy Tech Bloomington, Ivy Tech South Bend, Notre Dame, Purdue University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Taylor University, and Wabash College. Crossroads Collegiate is open to any student currently enrolled at any Indiana university or college with a startup based in Indiana.
Even though the competition is run out of The Mill in Bloomington, we use panels of expert, outside judges, so it’s really anyone’s game. We love seeing the diversity of students and companies every year.
The 2023 Crossroads Collegiate finals were held live over Zoom and judged by Amanda Findlay (Managing Director, MatchBOX), Adam Gross (Executive Director, Career Coaching & Employer Connections at Ivy Tech), Kelli Jones (General Partner, Sixty8 Capital), Cerwin Rush (Senior Data Consultant, Onebridge), and Ty Tjoelker (gBETA Indiana Director, gener8tor). The five finalists were rScan (Rod Baradaran, IU Bloomington), Campus Closet (Emily Mooney, IU Bloomington), The Country Market (Filip Kubiki, Notre Dame), HiFive (Paul Gipkin, IU Bloomington), and JL Innovators (Lextin Willis, Taylor University).