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Startup culture is one of the many things I love about Computer Science. So when I heard the opportunity to join an on-campus startup competition during my first months of college, I pounced at the opportunity. was run out of Siebel at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, hosted by Illinois Founders. Upon arriving at the event, we started with pitches, moved onto a networking dinner, and then formed our teams for our 54 hours together. I was part of a team called CurbSpot with the idea of bringing the concepts of Airbnb to parking. I was in charge of developing the mobile app prototype and backend server while the rest of my team worked on the business plan and break-even projections. That Sunday, we pitched our startup in front of judges from companies like Capital One, and I demoed the app I had developed and designed in a mere matter of hours.

I worked with a professional UX designer in creating the prototype, and got feedback from professionals in industry. The judges gave us really positive feedback and we were awarded 2nd place and a grant in the finals out of nearly 20 teams. About a month or two later, we were invited to present at ThinkChicago as a recognized student startup.