Penn’s Annual AppItUP Challenge Returns For Its Fourth Year

PHILADELPHIA, PA -- PCI Ventures, a division of Penn Center for Innovation at the University of Pennsylvania that promotes entrepreneurial activities and new company formation, is back at it again with AppItUP, their annual mobile application idea challenge. AppItUp collects the best ideas from University of Penn students, faculty and staff and distills them into marketable mobile products by collaborating with industry leaders in mobile app funding, development and marketing. This year, the competition received 233 submissions from 10 schools across the University of Pennsylvania that proposed ideas in categories ranging from mobile health to virtual reality. Twenty-five venture capitals and angel investors reviewed and rated the submissions to select the following 10 finalists.

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The finalists will present their ideas to a panel of five software development companies at the AppItUP Challenge Fall Event on November 17th from 4pm-7pm at Quorum at the University City Science Center. The development partners will bid against one another for the opportunity to build a functional prototype of their favorite idea.   This year, David Mullett, the leading Virtual Reality Content Innovator and CEO of Virtualize, will be AppitUP’s keynote speaker.

“We like to describe AppItUP as ‘when Shark Tank Meets the Voice,’” said Karina Sotnik, Digital Enterprise Portfolio Manager at PCI Ventures and AppItUP Director.. “If more than one developer chooses the same app to develop, then the tables turn and the group presenting the idea has to choose between them.  We’re also introducing the virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) track into our challenge for the first time, so it is only fitting that David is our keynote.”

Past finalists include Rescufy, an app that allows individuals with severe allergies to get help in an anaphylaxis emergency, and Reclamate, a mobile application and dashboard that uses gamification and analytics to integrate the most effective anti-recidivism programs on the market today.

“AppItUP is an exciting competition in that it not only brings out the best in Penn’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, but also engages the startup community across the country,” said Michael Poisel, Director of PCI Ventures. “We expect venture capitalists, developers and entrepreneurs from California to New York to Boston to attend the event and help bring these apps to life.”

PCI Ventures will host AppItUP Demo Day in April 2017 as an opportunity for the finalists to present their app prototypes and showcase their businesses to potential investors. Ben Franklin Technology Partners, an innovative technology based economic development program, will be making an offer of investment to two out of five finalists on the spot, in true “Shark Tank” fashion.

About PCI Ventures
PCI Ventures, a division of the Penn Center for Innovation at the University of Pennsylvania, provides entrepreneurially-minded faculty, staff, and students with the resources and support necessary to commercialize great ideas through company formation.  Over the last six years, PCI Ventures has built several programs, including UPstart, UPadvisors, AppItUP, and DevelUPmed, which have resulted in an extensive portfolio of companies ranging from therapeutics and devices to robotics and digital solutions.  For more information, visit

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