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Tuesday, Feb 27, 2018 at 11:59 pm

Live at 6 | Whitman Students Competing in Business

Nicole DeMentri – Syracuse, N.Y. (CitrusTV) – It’s not the most conventional spring break trip: Toronto, Canada.  Three Syracuse University upperclassmen will be heading up North to compete in the regional division of the Hult Prize.

“The experience of building this up, preparing a pitch, working with people around campus and the community around the world has been an amazing opportunity,” said Jason Kuperberg, co-founder.

The Prize is dubbed “the Nobel Prize for student startups.”  This year, students across the world were tasked with transforming the lives of 10 million people by 2025.  Teams needed to also fall into the competition’s theme: “Harnessing the Power of Energy.”

It was natural for Team Drop Top to compete, but the journey to regionals began in the most unlikely of places: entrepreneurial class.

“Matt, one of the co-founders, and I were working on a project for that class and it was how you can create the biggest impact with just $5,” Kuperberg said.  

The two combined their interests to make a drip irrigation product that saves water and increases agricultural output.  Kuperberg, a biotechnology major, and Matt Goodman, a design major created the product to snap onto a hose and team Drop Top was born.

“We started researching drip irrigation.  We started at what we could 3-D print like little pieces that could kind of regulate how much water is distributed to each individual plant,” Kuperberg explained.

It wasn’t until Drop Top presented their idea to a group of judges for the class that they decided to move further with the project.

“The judges really encouraged us to think bigger,” Kuperberg added.

And they did just that.  One thing was missing, though.

“We needed someone that had a ton of enthusiasm, could really help us out with our pitch, and kind of bring everything together,” he said.

Cue senior Serena DeSeta. Her experience from past presentation teams made her the perfect third addition to Drop Top.

“The company…it’s socially focused and an awesome business plan.  It was an easy yes to make.  How could I not get involved in something so awesome?” she  said.

The now trio perfected their six-minute pitch for weeks leading up to various campus-wide competitions, one being the qualifier for the Hult Prize.  They will be competing the weekend of March 9th.

“I don’t really know what my job is,” DeSeta joked. “I think they just needed a third person.”