Skandalaris Center

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Learning to Pitch is a Summer with Skandy Special!

Gage Menk (LA '23)
July 29, 2022

Skandalaris Center community members had their pitching skills put to the test with teamwork, quick-thinking, creativity, and most importantly, plenty of fun. On July 26th, the Summer with Skandy: Learning to Pitch event was hosted by the St. Louis Entrepreneurial Fellows Gabriela Pedreros, Sangwook Suh, Ryan Wu, and Shawn Zhu.

After dividing audience members into small groups, each team was given a problem, tasked with creating a solution, and had 30 minutes of preparation before pitching that solution to a panel of judges. Problems ranged from the lighthearted ‘Your partner has morning breath’, to the all-to-real scenario of ‘Your haircut never turns out how you like’, and even the dilemma of  ‘Government surveillance drones (birds) are invading your privacy.’ Teams were judged on how well they communicated their problem and identified their market and competition, the relevancy of their solution, and how effectively they worked together and presented to the panel.

Upon conclusion of the brainstorming period, the pitching teams were judged by the following community guests:

Cam Loyet is the CEO and co-founder of Honeymoon Chocolates – craft chocolate sweetened with raw honey. They focus on solving two key problems: the decreasing supply of cacao and honeybees worldwide, and to allow consumers to remove refined sugar from their favorite foods. Cam is a WashU Olin Alum where he started this business in a dorm kitchen in 2016. Today, Honeymoon has a storefront & factory in Clayton and sells to various retailers and e-commerce sites nationwide.

Byron Pierson is the CEO and co-founder of EDUrain – a one-stop software to apply for financial aid, scholarships, grants, and off-campus housing. Empowered to create actionable change, Bryon and the team have spent six years studying the financial aid process. Working with politicians, families, college access organizations, corporations, leasing agencies, foster-care organizations, Black-oriented organizations, counseling services, and much more, he’s recognized the many inefficiencies in higher education and hopes to help students, parents, and colleges alike reap the benefits of EDUrain.

Peter Webb is the co-founder and CEO of MARSfarm – project-based learning kits and products to increase student engagement with STEM and to inspire the future farmers and space explorers. Peter’s background “STEMs” from databases and DIY prototyping. Peter graduated from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with a business degree in Information Systems. He has been practicing project-based learning all his life and believes that the best way to teach is to create an environment that is optimal to grow and learn.

The judges offered their comments and advice to each group. Loyet and Pierson were impressed with the quick thinking and authenticity that teams brought to their pitches. Pierson in particular loved the humor that many groups included, complementing the sillier scenarios some teams were given. Webb appreciated that teams added an ‘Ask’ to their pitch (such as what resources are you asking for?) after his short notice suggestion. The winning pitch was given by Team 8, whose problem was ‘Your haircut never turns out how you like.’ Their solution was a platform that would connect customers to hairstylists based on hair type and other preferences. The judges appreciated the thoughtfulness of their model, as well as going beyond the scope of their problem to include a hair product subscription service that would make recommendations using the same information from the customer’s hairstylist preferences.

The Skandalaris Center will continue its Summer with Skandy event series until August 10, with a bonus IdeaBounce® at TechArtista UCity. To RSVP or stay up-to-date on all events, go to