10th Annual Shark Tank Winner Announcement

Shark Tanke winner holding large check

The 10th annual Shark Tank Competition was held on Sunday, April 16th in the Performing Arts Center, hosted by HC Launch through the Ciocca Center. Held in person for the first time since 2019, this year’s competition displayed a new generation of Holy Cross entrepreneurs. From photography, candlemaking, to tech solutions, there was a variety of creativity and problem solving involved.

Three well-seasoned business professionals volunteered their time to select this year’s winners. The judging panel included former Ciocca Center Director David Chu, Venture Forum Executive Director Zak Dutton, and Inmedix Co-Founder Tim Sciarrillo ’82, as teams competed for $9,000 in prize money. Along the way, each team was connected with a mentor who provided guidance and feedback. Thank you to our mentors Brendan Candon ’10, Rob Murner, Larry Naughton ’93, Bill Phelan ‘04, Nalani Ramos Ruiz ‘21, Kelly Shaw ‘09 and Eamon Troy ‘11.

The team of HC Launch managing directors organized this annual event, including Liz Garfield ‘24, Will Sampson ‘24, Katie Browne ‘25 and Alexander Christie ‘24. Sampson emceed the afternoon, and upon winner announcement, Browne handed Jacob Azzi ‘23 his oversized check for $3,500. “Pitching my small business at the Shark Tank competition made me fall in love with photography all over again,” starts Azzi, ”it reminded me why I started taking pictures back in 2019.” He plans to use his prize money towards furthering the mission of azziphoto by contributing to the emerging creative community in Boston, MA. The Ciocca Center extends congratulations to all of the contestants for their impressive pitches. All of the ideas were feasible, creative and impressed the judges. We hope that this experience helps each of you to grow and continue to develop your ideas. 

Two separate groups of business ideas competed. The first group, the Concept Stage, competed on their ideas for a business that is set to launch.

  1. Prize: First Place, $1,500
    TrivFlic: An app to foster a community around daily trivia questions with the intention for launch on July 1 of this year.
    Students: TJ Haigh ’26 & David Luigs ’26
  2. Prize: Second Place, $1,000
    Memory Hub: A home device geared towards dementia patients and elderly who live alone or have difficulty in remembering tasks. This product would utilize AI image processing, a multi-room system, and voice activation. 
    Students: Marie James ’24 and Katie Stathoulopoulos ’24
  3. Prize: Third Place, $500
    Cribby: The revolutionary roommate-finding app and ultimate solution for anyone who wants to find their dream roommate and perfect living situation quickly and easily. Download the app and start swiping.
    Students: Drew Parsons ’23 & Elias Berhane ’23

The second group, the Operational Stage, competed on strategic growth plans for businesses already generating revenue.

  1. Prize: First Place, $3,500
    Azziphoto: A business focused on contributing to the emerging creative community through photography.
    Student: Jacob Azzi ’23
  2. Prize: Second Place, $1,500
    CreoReality: An Etsy shop for digital products, including stickers of science diagrams and body parts, for studying based on visual recall.
    Student: Kamill Dawkins ’24
  3. Prize: Third Place, $1,000
    Bright Eye: A generative and analytical all-in-one multipurpose artificial intelligence app that creates text, images, analyzes photos, and more. The first tool of its kind on the app store.
    Student: Etelson “Sonny” Alcius ’26
  4. Prize: Fourth Place, Mentor Guidance
    Manifest Candles: A candle company promoting and manifesting positive energy.
    Student: Jamil Davis ’23

    This annual event was open to viewing by the campus community and demonstrates the positive direction of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program at Holy Cross under the management of new Ciocca Center Director and entrepreneur-in-residence, Robert Murner.

    Special thanks to Phoebe Wong ’26, Media Assistant, for photographing the event and, Alexander Christie ’24 and Tessa Meehan ’24 for contributing to this post.