Diving into the shark tank



From left to right, seniors Ryan Trinh, Kilik Ov and Jacky Chen present their product, called Click, to a panel of judges.

Christina Liu, Staff Writer

In an event based on the popular reality television show, Diamond Bar High School Future Business Leaders of America threw students into the “Shark Tank,” challenging them to pitch an innovative design to a board of judges.

In its second year, the competition gave students three days to create a product in groups of one to five members.

The groups then presented their creation before a panel of judges, with the presentation split into two rounds.

This year, students were allowed to use a PowerPoint presentation as a visual aid. DBHS staff members Kurt Davies, Mary Gaxiola and Patrick Murphy returned as judges for the second round while Matthew Brummett, Jon Hurst and Sabrina Ruiz-Emmons also joined the judging panel.

The first round was judged by the FBLA senior board officers consisting of co-presidents Rajvir Dua and Ashvini Bhupathiraju, vice president Kaitlyn Lee, director of competitive events Rishil Pansuria and director of communications Jefferson Chang.

Each team gave a two minute business presentation, which was followed by a four minute interview with the judges on their product.

“Last year, I was a participant in the competition itself and I still remember the heartbreak I felt when my team lost in the final round by four points,” Dua said via Facebook. “Acting as a judge this year, I gained new insight on business pitches as I was able to view it from a new perspective.”

Out of the seven teams that participated, only three teams made it past the preliminary round: Click, QuickCash Co. and PugMug.

Click showcased their idea for a clothing app which would offers fashion style suggestions to customers based on their preferences.

QuickCash Co. came up with AutoWallet, a digital wallet that would dispense the amount of cash or card requested by the user, saving them the trouble and time of searching their wallet.

As a part of PugMug, freshmen Annoushka Bhat and Anna Chen designed a collapsible water bottle with digital screens on the top and bottom of the cup where the user could upload pictures from an app of the same name.  

During the  second round of the event, each team had the  chance to give a five minute business pitch, which was followed by a five minute interview.

“It was still a little daunting standing in front of judges and I shook a little bit, but overall it went well,” Anna Chen said via Facebook. According to Chen, the event went well since the product was better received than expected.

The designs were judged on a scale of one to ten on presentation, creativity, feasibility and financial information.

PugMug ultimately came out on top with 156 points. Click came in second with a total of 151 points followed by Quick Cash Co. with a total of 128 points.

“Most teams create apps or other technological software, but the winning team went a little off the beaten path by inventing an innovative twist on a classic water bottle, and it worked to perfection,” Dua said.

With Shark Tank being a relatively new event on the DBHS campus, Bhupathiraju expressed her hope for the competition to be publicized to a greater extent in the following years so that more students are given a chance to participate.

“Our Shark Tank event allowed students to start their entrepreneurial skills, and this is just the beginning of the idea,” Bhupathiraju said via Facebook.