Announcing the 2014 Shobe Prize winners

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2014 Shobe Startup Prize. The two winning teams are Team Disco, consisting of Phannipha Arunyaangkul (MS, HCDE), Chia-Chen Kuo (MS, HCDE), and Yi-Chun Lin (MS, HCDE); and Team Fidgt, consisting of Kartik Rishi (BS, iSchool), Phill Pasqual (BS, iSchool), Carlo Valentin (BS, iSchool), Kendall Morgan (BS, iSchool), and Katlyn Edwards (BS, HCDE & iSchool & CSE). 

Team Disco App (left to right): Phannipha Arunyaangkul, Yi-Chun Lin, and Chia-Chen Kuo.


Team Fidgt (clockwise from left): Katelyn Edwards, Carlo Valentin,Kartik Rishi, Kendall Morgan, and Phill Pasqual.
photo by Daisy Fry, UW iSchool


Disco is a digital tool to create and share animated photos in a simple way, and Fidgt is a wearable ring that controls Bluetooth-capable devices to allow for eyes-free computing. 
Competing teams pitched their ideas throughout the winter quarter as the finalists were narrowed down. The 2014 competition was the largest to date, with more than 20 teams pitching their tech or design idea for the Prize. The final judging panel consisted of  Greg Gottesman, Managing Director, Madrona Venture Group; Dr. Beth Kolko, Professor, Human Centered Design & Engineering; Dr. Mark Zachry, Professor, Human Centered Design & Engineering; and Matt Shobe, "Serial Entrepreneur" and founder of the Shobe Prize.
Matt Shobe said this was the steepest competition he had seen in the four years since the Prize’s inception. "The 2014 winners, Disco and Fidgt, are teams with clear-cut member roles, ability to execute on their concepts, and a solid sense of how they want to achieve product/market fit. They've shown great capacity for taking feedback about their ideas already and I'm really psyched to help get them to their next levels: a launched title in the App Store and a ready-for-Kickstarter hardware product, respectively," Shobe said.
In addition to the $5,000 per team startup funds that the Shobe Prize offers, each team will be given office space and one-on-one mentoring from Matt Shobe, HCDE faculty, and industry partners. The goal is to have a proven prototype within six months that is ready to ship to the appropriate marketplace. 
Phannipha Arunyaangkul was thankful for the selection of Disco, saying "We'd like to thank the judges for believing in the potential of our idea. We're really excited to work with and learn from Matt Shobe. We'll be working hard next quarter to launch our product in the App Store."

Fidgt’s Kartik Rishi said “We are honored to have been selected as winners for the Shobe Prize; it really validates all the work we have done so far. The access to mentors in the UW and startup communities is something we really look forward to as we navigate incredible challenges in the wearable device space. In the near future we hope to launch on a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter and really gain some customer validation.

HCDE Department Chair Jan Spyridakis commented on how thankful she was for Shobe’s sponsorship of the annual event, saying “We are so fortunate to have such a generous and dedicated alumnus in Matt Shobe. I am eager to see the results of the students’ hard work.”