An oil change for the better: Rowan team wins 54-hour entrepreneurship competition

An oil change for the better: Rowan team wins 54-hour entrepreneurship competition

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Rowan students (from left) Mark Tallaksen, Mac Hennaut, John Dunn, Zeaenna Brackett, Chase Finnigan, and Matthew Jenkins won the TechStars StartupWeekend Philly entrepreneurship competition for their idea for a less messy oil change.

An interdisciplinary team made up entirely of Rowan University students took top honors in Techstars StartupWeekend Philly, a 54-hour community startup competition held recently.

The team, comprised of students from three different colleges at Rowan, pitched Quick Change, a product that makes oil changes fast and mess-free.  The team spent the weekend of Nov. 9-11 designing and prototyping a coupling system to ensure that oil changes don’t result in stains to clothes, hands or the floor.

The team moves on to compete in the Techstars 2018 Global Startup Battle in the coming weeks.

The Quick Change product was the idea of junior nutrition and exercise science major Mark Tallaksen of Blackwood.  Tallaksen cut and burned his hand while changing the oil of a car the evening before the competition began, leading him to pitch a better system to his teammates.

The Rowan team went through a number of iterations of prototypes for making the oil change process seamless, ultimately going with a custom-engineered 3-D printed value designed by junior mechanical engineering major Matthew Jenkins of Philadelphia.

Other team members included: junior entrepreneurship major Mac Hennaut from Estell Manor; senior management major Zeaenna Brackett of Woodbury; junior biochemistry major Chase Finnigan of Berlin; and sophomore management major John Dunn of Blackwood.

Altogether, 68 individuals from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and California competed in TechStars StartUpWeekend Philly, three days of pitching new ideas, forming teams and meeting with mentors to move ideas forward. The teams pitched their ideas and demonstrated their products or services before a panel of judges.

Eric Liguori, executive director of the Rowan Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Rohrer College of Business, arranged for Rowan’s participation in the competition. Rowan entrepreneurship advisory council members Dan Ruotolo and Greg Payton coached teams over the course of the competition.

Techstars StartupWeekend Philly was held at 1776 UCity in Philadelphia.