TE Student wins pitch competition: device AIDS firefighters with communication

Jan. 28, 2013 -- Technical Entrepreneurship master's degree student Azim Sonawalla '12 '13G recently won the "Best Idea Stage" award during a venture pitch competition at the Ismaili Professionals Network LaunchPad event in California's Silicon Valley.

Sonawalla pitched his company, Second Shift Innovations, and device that helps firefighters speak more clearly when wearing self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) masks. The competition was divided into three groups of companies: Ideation stage, seed stage and venture capital stage. Sonawalla's product and company were selected for a five-minute presentation in the ideation category and came out a winner.

The three day event -- Jan. 25-27, 2013 -- was a national launchpad for budding Ismaili startup founders and investors from across the United States. It featured about 100 select company founders and 50 investors, who participated in startup and pitch workshops, networking, a speaker series and competitions.

Sonawalla and Second Shift Innovations also recently won the EUREKA! Ventures Competition Series Joan F. and John M. Thalheimer '55 Grand Prize in the EUREKA! Ventures Competition Series hosted by Lehigh University's Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation to recognize outstanding student entrepreneurs.