Modern dating just might be safer now that the inventors of VELV have taken home the top prize in the 31st annual Paul J. Holloway Prize Innovation to Market Competition.
VELV, the team consisting of Christin Badylak-Reals ’19, Jessica Lavallee ’19 and Matthew Ross ’19, won the competition with their safe dating platform, which integrates with smart jewelry to allow a person on a date to discreetly push a button and receive help if a situation becomes uncomfortable. The platform was inspired by the horrific experience Badylak-Reals had as a survivor of sexual assault on a first date. Badylak-Reals, Lavallee and Ross hope their platform, in combination with the smart jewelry, will contribute to a safer modern dating scene.
Liquid Hops, an indoor hydroponic hop-growing facility that Jonathan Carrigan ’19 pitched as a more cost-effective way to supply small breweries, took second place in the competition. Carrigan says his company wants to both expand the versatility of eco-friendly farming using hydroponics and also help New England brewing thrive.
Coming in third place this year was Steven Schnobrich ’21 and his golf anger-management novelty product The Bogey Bag, a punching bag that can be securely attached to a golf cart to cut down on golfers taking their anger out on their equipment or the course. Schnobrich and The Bogey Bag also took home the People’s Choice award, a fan-voted award for the audience’s favorite team.