3 Grinnell College students win $2,000 prize for their first-place startup idea

Three Grinnell College students have won $2,000 as their first-place prize in the Pioneer Weekend Innovation Competition, sponsored by the college's Wilson Center for Innovation and Leadership.

Pioneer Weekend is a competition in which students, in teams of two or more, showcase their ideas by going through the initial phases of creating a startup. The weekend culminates in each team creating a prototype for their idea. The top three teams, chosen by a panel of alumni and Iowa entrepreneurs, win a cash prize to help kick-start their ideas. This year's competition drew 20 participants.

The first-place team, comprised of second-year student Yash Gupta and third-year students Nicole Nie and Papa Kojo Ampim-Darko, formulated an idea called DSRPTN. DSRPTN is a website, like Squarespace or Wix, which allows users to drag and drop standardized "components" into a visual editor. DSRPTN uses software to create iOS, Android, Windows, Mac and Web applications all at the same time. The project's main goal is to enable anyone to sit down at a computer and create a feature-rich application for all major devices as simply as creating a poster or typing up a document. The DSRPTN team won $2,000.

The second-place team, comprised of seniors Emmet Sandberg and Henry Bolster and Gracee Wallach, a second-year student, pitched an idea called Doorway. Doorway is a location-based canvassing app that simplifies and personalizes political activism. It empowers citizens to get involved in making a difference and enables campaigns to intelligently interact with their supporters—all powered by data. The Doorway team won $1,000.

The idea for Roots, a vegetable-based nutrition snack bar with 100 calories and 0 grams of sugar, came in third place. The Roots team, which won $500, consisted of second-year students Julia Echikson and Alden Wahsono.

About Grinnell College

Since its founding in 1846, Grinnell has become one of the nation's premier liberal arts colleges, enrolling 1,600 students from all 50 states and from as many countries. Grinnell's rigorous academic program emphasizes excellence in education for students in the liberal arts; the college offers the B.A. degree in a range of departments across the humanities, arts and sciences. Grinnell has a strong tradition of social responsibility and action, and self-governance and personal responsibility are key components of campus life. More information about Grinnell College is available at www.grinnell.edu.