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Student startup makes final 32 in national competition

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A team composed of two PNW students progressed to the final 32 in the Student Startup Madness competition for their project, Sound Cycle.

The project, a creation for the Marketing 480 class at PNW, was one of four from the university that initially made the final 64, the other three being: Low Red, Nimbus and SmartMat. The Student Startup Madness competition is a nationwide competition for college student startups, with the finals taking place in March at South By Southwest Interactive in Austin, Texas.

Kristin Augustyne, senior marketing major, and Rada Tanasijevic, marketing Fall 2018 graduate, said Sound Cycle is a sensor that would be manufactured into cars to detect the sound waves from a motorcycle at a certain decibel level. Similar to blind spot detection, a small light would emit in the side mirrors of the car when the sensor is triggered.

“It is simply a precautionary measure to make sure that drivers are aware of motorcycles when they are near their vehicle. If the music is too loud or you can’t see them in your rear view, at least you would be able to see the flashing light in your mirror,” Tanasijevic said. 

Augustyne said the idea grew from a brainstorming session where her partner mentioned a bike detector and dismissed the idea thinking she was referring to bicycles.

“Then I brought it up again and she said, ‘no, I meant motorcycle!’ After that we realized both our dads had motorcycles, so it was something we were passionate about together,” Augustyne said.

A flurry of ideas developed between the two including the ultrasonic sensors, name and logo.

“We had many words written down that we could use for the name but we couldn’t find two words that we liked together. We also drew some horrific motorcycle sketches for the logo but then our advisor, Matt Hanson, came out of nowhere with his artistic abilities and helped our logo come to life,” Augustyne said. 

Tanasijevic said her initial idea was formed due to losing former classmates and acquaintances in motorcycle accidents and feeling that there needed to be something to help further protect motorcycle riders.

“Like my dad and most of the men in my family, they have ridden motorcycles starting at the age of 18. My dad has been in a few accidents, and luckily he made it out unharmed. What bothers me is that most of those in motorcycle accidents don’t,” Tanasijevic said.

The pair said that some of the challenges while creating the project was ensuring they were using the right terminology and creating an entire marketing plan as if it was a real brand.

When she saw the news that they had made the final 32 in the competition, Augustyne said, it didn’t quite sink in until she saw it announced on PNW’s College of Business Facebook page and Hanson told the entire class about it. 

Tanasijevic said that at this point, the duo are not sure what they would be able to accomplish in the future in regards to their project.

“It’s hard to step into the mindset of the possibility that this could actually become something revolutionary. It was only for a school project, but we feel very passionate about what we have come up with so far, and if it feels right, we could always move forward to the next step,” Tanasijevic said.

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