Project Aura Wins Business Bout-Project Olympus - Carnegie Mellon University

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Project Aura Wins Business Bout

Business Bout winners Ethan Frier and Jonathan Ota, who were granted the $25,000 prize for their bicycle lighting business Project Aura, said the money has already helped them build prototypes and hire much-needed engineers.

Project Aura, a product that lights the entire wheels of bicycles to indicate different actions and to illuminate riders on the streets at night, caught the attentions of judges for its originality and marketability, said Mr. Zappala, who is cousins with the county district attorney.

"It's visually appealing and it's the sort of product that's really needed because we're using outdated methods of lighting bicycles," he said.

But for Mr. Frier and Mr. Ota, 22-year-old Carnegie Mellon University students who were receiving university support to build the product as part of their senior projects, one of the greatest benefits of the prize is access to Hustle Den and the mentors that come with it.

"I think what's great about Hustle Den is that you're able to connect with mentors like Bobby and Luke and they're able to connect you with others," he said. "It's important, especially for early-stage startups, to be able to talk to a lot of people who have done this before and that's a great tool [Hustle Den] offers." Read More...

By Deborah M. Todd / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette