Past winners of Open Pitch Week share their experience

As part of Launch Days each fall and spring semester, we host Open Pitch Week. Open Pitch Week is a week full of Open Pitch events where current ASU students are invited to share any idea they have in a 2-minute pitch for the chance to earn $250 in funding to move their idea forward. Students also have the opportunity to obtain real-time feedback and suggestions from Entrepreneurship Catalysts on how to improve their pitch.

This past fall, we had more than 30 ideas pitched across the five Open Pitch events! Ideas ranged from a clothing app, to redesigned planner notebooks, to transportation solutions, and even innovations in virtual reality. We were able to award five different students with $250 in funding. Here are a few of the winners and the ideas they pitched at Open Pitch:

David Rodriguez is a second-year undergraduate student majoring in Global Management at the Thunderbird School of Global Management. The idea he pitched at Open Pitch, Translistico, seeks “to disrupt the transportation industry by becoming the ‘Uber’ of trucking, by connecting drivers and shippers directly.”

Prashamsa Thapa is from Nepal and is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Innovation in Global Development program at the School for the Future of Innovation in Society. The idea she pitched at Open Pitch revolved around finding a solution to combat the 2021 Dengue outbreak in Nepal. She came up with an idea to take solid/household waste and convert it as an ingredient used to produce fertilizer for farmers and other agricultural uses. 

Mijail Zegalo is from Argentina and is a second-year Master’s student in Global Management at the Thunderbird School of Global Management. His idea, Greenloop, is a circular economy company with the goal of reducing waste. His idea involved recycling plastic and using it to create plastic wood that can be used for decking, railing, tables, and other various items. 

I asked them to provide some insight on their experience as an entrepreneur, what they are planning to use their funding for, and how their overall experience at Open Pitch went and here’s what they had to say:

What does entrepreneurship mean to you?

  • (David Rodriguez) “Entrepreneurship is pursuing your idea and bringing something of value to the market. Entrepreneurs are risk takers that have taken their passion and desires from dreams to reality.” 
  • (Mijail Zegalo) “It is a mindset. It is about finding solutions to gaps that could be seen in life. It is the mindset to see those gaps with the passion to build something out of them.”

What inspired you to pitch your idea at Open Pitch?

  • (Prashamsa Thapa) “In recent years funding in such projects have fallen short making it difficult to accelerate our vision of creating a circular economy around solid waste management in Nepal. So, when I found out about the Open Pitch from my colleague… it inspired me to join as this could be an opportunity for me to refine and work on my idea.”
  • (Mijail Zegalo) “To practice my pitch in front of people, polish it and get some feedback, [and] get some exposure.” 

How do you plan to use the $250 in funding you earned as the crowd-favorite? 

  • (David Rodriguez) “I plan to create business cards and marketing merchandise that I can hand out to prospective shippers to join the Translistico network.” 
  • (Prashamsa Thapa) “I am planning to visit Nepal next year (2023), I am planning to use the funding for my travel to rural municipalities for potential collaboration in regards to the project.” 

What did you enjoy most about your experience participating in Open Pitch?

  • (Prashamsa Thapa) “The way Open Pitch is structured where you have only 2 minutes to present your idea, it silences all the noise and stays true to presenting your idea as consciously and directly as possible. Furthermore, feedback you receive at the end of your pitch is very instrumental in strengthening your idea so, I enjoyed that a lot.”
  • (Mijail Zegalo) “The easiness and accessibility. The attitude of the host. The chance to see other people pitching.” 

What encouragement or advice would you give a future Open Pitch participant? 

  • (David Rodriguez) “I encourage anyone that has an idea to express it and not shy away from the Open Pitch opportunity.”
  • (Prashamsa Thapa) “The advice I have for any future open pitch participants would be if you have any idea even if they are nascent [early or budding], do not be scared or hesitant to participate, it is a very friendly space where you can obtain some valuable insights. And you never know, you might win.”
  • (Mijail Zegalo) “Just go and have fun!”

These are just a few of the many wonderful ideas pitched each semester during Open Pitch Week. Open Pitch Week will be hosted again this February throughout the week of February 20th – 24th, so if you’ve ever been interested in just attending or even pitching an idea that you have, I hope that you are inspired to do so! For more details and where to RSVP for Open Pitch Week this February, visit

Bailey Gading

Program Manager, Student Outreach and Engagement

[email protected]

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