MONT ALTO, Pa. — Two Penn State students, Stephen Leshko and Omar Rady, won first place at the 2023 LION Tank pitch competition.
LION Tank, hosted by the Mont Alto LaunchBox, was held on March 22 at Penn State Mont Alto. Patriot Federal Credit Union and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development sponsored the event.
Five entrepreneurs competed in this year’s event with the top three pitches receiving prize money of $2,000, $1,250 and $750, respectively.
“Our finalists proved, yet again, that the level of advancement and innovation just continues to build year over year. They all did a fantastic job.”
—Helen McGarry , director of the Mont Alto LaunchBox
First-place winners were Penn State students Leshko and Rady, who conceived the idea for an app, Vera, to help students prepare for interviews, using artificial intelligence. The app uses algorithms to analyze the job description and suggest the most relevant key words and phrases to use in a targeted and optimized resume.
Second place was awarded to Lehigh University student Justin Gelwicks, who founded WoodGoods Lacrosse LLC. This sports equipment start-up specializes in making high-quality wooden lacrosse shafts and is the only company who custom-engraves onsite at lacrosse tournaments.
Third place winners were Penn State students Shridhi Khandelwal and Urja Singh, who created Physio (AI)d, an app using artificial intelligence designed to support the physical therapy industry, including personalized treatment plans for the patient, to allowing therapists to use real-time data to improve patient outcomes.
"Our finalists proved, yet again, that the level of advancement and innovation just continues to build year over year. They all did a fantastic job," said Helen McGarry, director of the Mont Alto LaunchBox.
The competitors pitched their business plans to a panel of judges with experience in entrepreneurism and business development. To help prepare for the pitch competition, contestants were paired with a pitch coach who worked with them on their business plans and presentations.
The Mont Alto LaunchBox offers free services to entrepreneurs and small businesses, including workshops, one-on-one coaching, and legal and intellectual property services. More information about the Mont Alto LaunchBox is available at montalto.launchbox.psu.edu.