Tech students to compete in China this summer

While many students may be going to China for work or studying abroad this summer, three students will be traveling there to compete against entrepreneurs from all over the world in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Global Student Challenge (PolyU Global Challenge).

The students and friends–Elizabeth Blumer, a fourth-year MGT major; Joy Buolamwini, a fourth-year CS major; and Sarah Vaden, a fourth-year AE major–joined together to create Cross Path Music, a platform for users to create and collaborate with other users from around the world to create music.

For the challenge, participants had to create business plans for their products, and compete against each other to win the grand prize of $5000. Additionally, students also could compete for the title of Best Commercial.

The competition called for a brand new product, and Buolamwini and Vaden were veterans of the entrepreneurship and innovation game. Buolamwini has developed a number of different projects in the past, and Vaden won second place at Tech’s Inventure Prize 2010.

Inspired by their own music experiences, Buolamwini, Blumer and Vaden sought to mix aspects of an increasingly globalized society with the jam sessions and music production. The result of their hard work was Cross Path Music, which allows for musicians all over the world to collaborate using existing technologies such as an Xbox or a laptop.

“[Cross Path Music] blends, or provides the ‘cross path’ of amateur musicians from all over the world, social networking, talent recruiting and acquisition, and education. What differentiates us from the current market is that we provide less ‘lag time’ in the music making experience, giving users the feeling of making music as if the were actually playing together in the same room. Further, we capitalize on the desire to ‘get seen’ by labels and the need for streamlined recruitment process by giving A&R scouts listen-in privileges to our secure jam sessions,” Vaden said.

“Our initial target market is amateur musicians of all levels, from beginner, just learning an instrument, to expert,” Blumer said. “Also, while initially starting in the US, we will expand the technology and business overseas, allowing you to create and play music with a drummer from Ghana, a trombonist from Germany, and an electric guitar player from Los Angeles.”

The business plan creation process was not always hard work, according to the trio. In addition to creating their product and its business plan, the team is also competing in the Best Commercial competition, which they filmed together and wrote the jingle for.

“We realize the concept of Cross Path Music is a valuable idea, one that we will not squander and throw to the wayside. Based on how the competition goes and our plans for the immediate future, I could see it being a few years before we actually launch an updated and more researched version of Cross Path Music,” Blumer said. “I definitely want to continue to get constructive feedback, and pursue some more aggressive market research. Given all three of our busy schedules, it’s a little early to say whether or not we anticipate launching this full time in the immediate future.”

Although the future of their product is still hazy, Blumer, Buolamwini and Vaden will be traveling to China on June 11 and will be competing against other student teams from Carnegie Mellon University, Princeton, and a number of other international universities.


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