Abhinav Sikharam and Joshua Kelly take home top prizes for JagStart 2020


After months of students working hard and polishing their projects, the JagStart judges had come to a consensus, and the crowd had voted. 

The JagStart competition is an annual event where students from IUPUI showcase product ideas, business ventures, or answers to social problems in an elevator pitch style competition. If students win, their ideas can become a reality. 

Abhinav Sikharam came one step closer to seeing his project, Project Ma, become a reality when he became the winner of JagStart 2020.

Sikharam, who is pursuing a master’s degree in human computer interaction, was working on a project as part of his curriculum when he realized the potential for a way to market his idea to consumers.

“We started doing some user testing throughout the university, and through that user testing, we found some key insights, and we found that people were really interested in the product,” said Sikharam.

Sikharam’s project was a smart desk gadget that works to keep people who traditionally work desk jobs healthy, active, and hydrated because sitting for hours every day can lead to sedentary lifestyles. To do so, the desk gadget changes colors to alert its user when it is time to stand for activity or to drink water to stay hydrated.

Joshua Kelly, a sports management major, will also get a chance to realize his dreams since he was selected as the audience choice winner.

Kelly, an avid basketball enthusiast, created a subscription-based service called Full Court Analytics that offers professional-level statistical insights into high school and Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball.

Kelly’s service would allow coaches to make the most informed decisions when drawing up a playbook and making roster decisions by being able to look at player stats beyond points scored or assists made.

Both winners received cash prizes sponsored by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and an invitation to take part in the Elevate Ventures Origin Program, a program developed to help aspiring entrepreneurs create an investor-ready business model for their start-up.

For anyone considering taking on JagStart 2021, Sikharam said to jump in and do it. “You have to take the chance to learn and develop an idea. We have good mentors and a good community to help, so I would just say to take the chance,” said Sikharam.

More information about JagStart and Engaged Learning Week may be found on the Opportunities Page on the Institute for Engaged Learning website.

For more information, contact the Division of Undergraduate Education Office of Communications at duecomm@iupui.edu.