Eberhardt students pitch innovative product ideas in "Tiger Tank"

Students stand next to a poster with a backpack on a table in front of them

The team behind O2 Backpacks pitches their product idea at "Tiger Tank."
(L-R) Amira Kurnfuli, Ana Alice Martinez Do Amaral, Andrea Anguiano and Dharavi Yegireddy

Armed with market research and product prototypes, students in the Eberhardt School of Business vied for votes from “investors” during “Tiger Tank,” part of a product innovation course, modeled off the TV reality show “Shark Tank.”

The event was the culmination of semester-long projects in which students conceptualized an idea, conducted research and created sample products with help from the CUBE, Pacific’s technology and innovation center in the William Knox Holt Memorial Library and Learning Center.

Students had one hour to pitch their ideas to professors, students and other attendees.

“This project was beneficial because it allowed us to work together to create an idea from scratch and come out with a product,” said Steven Nam ’22, a marketing and data analytics major.

“It was very experiential for the students,” added Professor Bidisha Burman. “They really grew through the process.”

Four groups of students presented prototypes based on the theme “Innovation with Impact:”

•    O2 Backpacks – Custom-designed backpacks for children to hold oxygen tanks.
•    Steadybrush – A toothbrush designed to help people with Parkinson’s disease brush their teeth.
•    Senior Tech Care – An app that helps older people with technology
•    FitSync – A fitness app that provides yoga for the Deaf community.

“We wanted to address the lack of support older people get for their tech questions,” explained Sahila Shah ’23, a marketing major who helped design the Senior Tech Care app. “We chose them as our target market because all of us have connections.”

The team behind FitSync was inspired by a guest speaker at the start of the semester who works extensively with people with disabilities. 

“FitSync is an app that aims to bring the fitness community and the Deaf community together,” said Nam. “We wanted a safe space where the Deaf community can share personal progress and achievements and have a good time with like-minded people.”

After developing their ideas, students analyzed demand and compared how their products stack up to the competition. 

“We can see that we've ranked highly among our competitors in terms of what our product features,” said Amira Kurnfuli ’23, a marketing and human resources management major who helped create the O2 Backpacks, which received the most votes at “Tiger Tank.” “It was very exciting to see that nobody in the market has a product like this.”

This is the first time students in the class have been able to bring their visions to life by utilizing the CUBE’s resources, including a 3D printer and sewing machines.

“One of our product team members has a lot of experience with sewing machines, so she did the sewing while the rest of us cut fabric,” said Kurnfuli. They also 3D printed an oxygen tank to fit inside. “That took 12 hours (to print), but it was very exciting to put it all together and have a product we could show,” she said.

A student stands next to a projection screen with an app displayed

Joseph Edward Manglona, one of the students on the Senior Tech Care team, shows some of the features their app would include.

The SteadyBrush team also used the 3D printer to create a prototype of their toothbrush, while the FitSync and Senior Tech Care teams got support designing mockups of their apps.

Highly regarded social entrepreneur Nicole Joseph-Chin, who was also Pacific’s inaugural CEO of Color in Residence, gave students input on their products throughout the process.

“She gave them real-life perspective, so they understand this is not just for the classroom,” said Burman. “They can patent it and look for investors. Their ideas are quite impactful, and they don't have much competition.”

Some students are already looking at the possibilities.

“We want to create a patent (for O2 Backpacks) and copyright and trademark this brand and this name so that later in life if we want to proceed with this idea, we can,” Kurnfuli said.