ShuffleMe, a digital platform founded by Britain Taylor, a Ph.D. candidate in intelligent systems engineering at the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, has been named the winner of the inaugural Spark Business Plan Competition.
The Spark Business Plan Competition, which was sponsored by Duke Energy and hosted by The Mill, a non-profit center for entrepreneurship based in Bloomington, saw entrants present their business plans to a panel of judges, who then provided feedback. ShuffleMe is an application that automatically tracks users’ moods when they engage with social media using artificial intelligence, computer vision, and predictive analytics. The app tracks moods daily then shares information to help inform users about their emotional health while using social media.
“To be selected as a winner is a wonderful feeling,” Taylor said. “Winning the competition encourages persistence. It motivates the ShuffleMe team to continue to be industrious. Our product is so unique, especially with stigmas surrounding mental health. As such, to be selected is a sign of support.”
For the past two years, ShuffleMe has been a client of the Shoemaker Innovation Center, known as the “Shoebox,” which supports and mentors aspiring student innovators and entrepreneurs as they develop their ideas into viable businesses.
“The Shoebox provided resources that helped us to progress with the development of ShuffleMe,” Taylor said. “It also furnished essential guidance to ensure that we created a product that is novel and commercializable. The Shoebox offered an atmosphere whereby other clients within the incubator provided feedback regarding our services. This component further supported innovative ways to update our app to better serve our target audience.”
ShuffleMe was awarded $2,500 for winning the Spark Business Plan Competition, which will be used to financially support the expansion of the software to reach a broader audience. Specifically, it will allow Taylor and her colleagues to complete the technological development of their software and prepare for their upcoming beta testing.
“Supporting and encouraging student entrepreneurs is one the goals our school,” said Dennis Groth, interim dean of the Luddy School. “The recognition our talented and innovative students earn in the real-world recognition for their business efforts is tangible proof of what can be accomplished thanks to an idea and the resources the Luddy School offers.”