Syracuse University Invent@SU Students Win $50,000 Business Accelerator Competition

Syracuse University [email protected] Students Win $50,000 Business Accelerator Competition

October 30, 2019 1 By Jose Scott


It was a day that changed mechanical engineering
senior Russell Fearon’s life. He learned he had diabetes and he also learned
it meant a lot of changes. When I was first diagnosed it was obviously
extremely, extremely difficult. It’s like what do you do when the doctors
come to you and tell you, you have to do this, this is how your life is now. He had to adjust to regular blood sugar testing
and carrying testing equipment with him at all times. It was awkward and uncomfortable. And when Russell started the [email protected] invention
accelerator program he and teammate industrial and interactive design major Ricardo Sanchez
had an idea. To make diabetes monitoring a lot more convenient. Their idea – what if a wearable device could
take a blood sample and test it? Once the watch came about, the idea, it stuck
and we knew this was what we had to do Fearon and Sanchez developed a prototype over
the six week [email protected] program and pitched each week to guest evaluators and judges. Even though they did not win, they knew they
wanted to keep moving forward. The watch I was so passionate about. I knew, if I could actually get a watch to
work and take blood sugar that would change my life, that would make me feel so much better. Fearon presented at another competition on
Martha’s Vineyard just days after [email protected] and then applied to the American Heart Association’s
EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator Competition. At the same time, Fearon and Sanchez had also
improved their watch design and pitch while working with Blackstone Launchpad in Bird
Library. In talking to engineering professors we figured
out that we could use solenoid actuators on the inside to make it more usable and less
clunky and boxy. Fearon was named one of nine finalists for
the American Heart Association competition It was a little daunting at first because
I saw the lineup of people. And I’m like, I’m a college student going
up against really, really established people. And he would be would be presenting in the
Oprah Winfrey Theater in the National Museum of African American History and Culture to
a standing room only crowd. You go up and they say Russell Fearon, the
lights are shining, they have a huge spotlight in front of the whole entire theater. I really just looked into the audience and
I tried to be as personable and connect with them as well as I could. Fearon and Sanchez felt good about his presentation
and then had to wait. When they were announced as the winner of
the $5000 fan favorite award, they were thrilled. I had so much support from Syracuse university
from friends at home, family Then it was time to announce the first place,
$50,000 winner And they said my name. There is nothing like that feeling, there
is nothing like it I was at a loss for words, thank god they
didn’t have me say anything at the moment because it was so surprising. Ricardo was right there and I gave him a hug. Suddenly their idea their concept had been
affirmed in a major way It makes everything that we have been doing,
all the pain, all the sacrifices that I have made. it makes all that worth it.”Up until this
point everything I had done is just a school project or maybe a something small on the
side that I might be doing for myself but now this is a real project outside of school
with real results so that is super exciting. Still letting the win set in, Fearon and Sanchez
are balancing classes and moving their idea forward with Blackstone Launchpad. Adjusting to being inventors, entrepreneurs
and students all at the same time We wouldn’t be here without [email protected] without
having that month and a half where we dedicated ourselves to developing a product that is
making an impact. That’s the genesis, that’s where it all
started. [email protected] people are all really great at birthing
an idea, conceiving it, moving it forward, developing.We have a plan going forward and
milestones to hit. It can all be done.