Thunderbird Pitch Day offers up business ideas of the moment

Timing is everything, and the winning ventures at the Thunderbird Pitch Competition on Friday are capitalizing on the trends of the moment.

The grand-prize winner is taking advantage of the newly legalized industry of sports betting, and the second-place team is creating a business to rid the planet of plastic straws. They were among seven projects in the pitches led by students in the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University.

The winning venture is called Streaker, a platform that would allow people who bet on sports to find the best forecasters. Created by Nicholas Vandam, the system would use the blockchain digital recorder to validate the results of people who make predictions. Successful predictors could sell their picks and Streaker would take a cut.

“The bottom line is — there’s no human involved,” Vandam said. “It’s a third-party software that doesn’t care about money. It’s just saying ‘true’ or ‘false.’”

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