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    LWSD Teen Startup Challenge a success despite new, virtual setup


    It was moved from in-person meetings in board rooms to virtual sessions on the computer, but this year’s Lake Washington School District (LWSD) Teen Startup Challenge was as successful as ever. Participating LWSD students showed their innovation, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit during the sixth annual event. Teams of students submitted ideas from providing virtual concert experiences, to creating STEM Maker-Kits and face masks, to developing web applications that may change the world. Eight teams were eventually selected to create a 10-minute, "Shark Tank” style video pitch for a panel of judges representing various professions. All student submissions and judging was completed remotely. Students were competing for a chance to pitch their ideas at the Kirkland Investor Sharks Event held virtually November 5, with a grand prize of $2,000, courtesy of local businesses. 

    Three teams from Lake Washington School District were selected to move on to the Kirkland Investor Sharks event. Here are the students’ names and their investor ideas:

    Alex Tsao Teen Startup

    Redmond High School - Alexander Tsao – Grand prize winner of the Kirkland Investor Sharks event: 

    • Tsao’s company Rocks2Dogs is a nonprofit business that repurposes used rock-climbing ropes, fashioning them into highly functional dog leashes.

    Tesla STEM - Anya Vaish

    • Vaish pitched her product Kool Kar Seat, a child car seat that notifies parents when a child is left in a car accidently, monitors the car's temperature and automatically cools the seat to a safe temperature. 

    Tesla STEM - Rahul Rao and Saanav Somali

    • Rao and Somali pitched their product Arterial, BI Blood Pressure Band, a noninvasive, cuffless method of measuring blood pressure.

    This year's judges and event team included: 

    • Richard May, Strategic Placement Leader of Epic Brokers, 
    • Dr. Paul Rossman, Ret. Boeing Engineer and College Professor, 
    • Jacqueline May, Ret. Educator, 
    • Michael Rubenstein, Ret. Mastercard and American Express, 
    • Matt Tedesco, Executive Underwriter of Chubb,
    • Jon Knorr, LWSD Videographer, and 
    • Beth Watson, LWSD College and Career Readiness Specialist 

    Kate Atvars, from the LWSD College and Career Readiness Department served as the lead facilitator for the event. After viewing each student's formal business pitch, judges gave virtual constructive feedback and encouraged students to continue in their business endeavors.

    LWSD Teen Startup is coordinated by the Lake Washington School District College and Career Readiness Department, in partnership with The Greater Kirkland Chamber and Redmond Rotary.