New Video Messaging Platform Wins Business Plan Competition

FAU student David Parshenkov is the winner of this year’s Business Plan Competition with an idea for a communications tool he hopes will bring users together to share an experience via picture and video.

David Parshenkov, center, won this year's FAU Business Plan Competition. Pictured behind Parshenkov, from left to right, are Lauren Koff, Quinn Russell, Isabel Badell, Asya Yanchinova, College of Business Dean Daniel Gropper, and Patrick Mansell.

By james hellegaard | 4/15/2016

Florida Atlantic University student David Parshenkov is the winner of this year’s FAU Business Plan Competition with an idea for a communications tool he hopes will bring users together to share an experience via picture and video.

A senior in FAU’s College of Business with a double major in Business Administration and Marketing, Parshenkov is developing a messaging platform he calls Faceplay.

“What happens is when I send you a video, as soon as you open it, your front-facing camera starts to record your facial expressions, your reactions to what you’re watching,” he explained. “So you get a detailed look at how people really feel, more genuine and authentic feedback.”

Parshenkov wants to make sharing videos between friends on their phones more like in-person interaction. With Faceplay, he said, users can bridge that gap. He credits the mentorship he received from Jeanne McConnell, an instructor who taught him in the entrepreneurship and advanced business strategy courses in the College of Business, for helping him win the competition.

“David is tenacious, hard-working and extremely smart,” McConnell said. “This competition gives these students exposure to the real world, makes them stand up on their feet and take something from an idea to something that can become real.”

Second place and $5,000 went to Patrick Mansell, a student whose company, Aquarum, is the exclusive producer of Gold Water™ — a simple, pure, naturally alkaline, filtered spring water with a naturally high pH of between 7.8 and 8.0, combined with 1mg of 23 karat gold flakes per half liter bottle.

Third place and $2,500 went to students Isabel Badell, Quinn Russell and Asya Yanchinova. They developed DesignIQ, a newly founded company offering architectural tours utilizing local architectural students, professors and practicing professionals as tour guides. 

In addition, one of the semifinalist teams, Mind&Melody, received a $1,000 prize for winning the Best Video Pitch competition, as voted on by the public in an online balloting process. The team includes Cristina Rodriguez, Lee Sutherland and Lauren Koff, who accepted the award on behalf of Mind&Melody, a non-profit organization focused on using music to improve the quality of life for people experiencing dementia, Alzheimer’s and other neurocognitive impairments.

Roland Kidwell, Ph.D., director of the Adams Center for Entrepreneurship, which hosted the event, thanked Tonya May of the College of Business dean’s office for the countless hours she spent coordinating this year’s competition, noting she played an instrumental role in its success.

“We are extremely pleased with the level and quality of student participation in this year’s FAU business plan competition,” said Kidwell, who also serves as professor and chair of the Department of Management Programs within FAU’s College of Business. “We could not have had such a great competition without the high caliber mentors and judges who volunteered their time and expertise to assist us.”

With the $10,000 he won in the competition, Parshenkov plans to bring in another programmer to work on Faceplay. One of the judges, Scott R. Silverman, chairman and CEO of VeriTeQ, commended Parshenkov for his smooth presentation and said he sees the market for Faceplay in his young children. While the company faces some major hurdles to get off the ground, he said, the impression Parshenkov and his team made on the judges won them over.

“The interesting part of where we made our conclusion on this was really you and your management team,” Silverman told Parshenkov. “We like it. It’s student-led, it’s driven, it’s young, it’s hungry and it’s invigorating.” Quoting fellow judge Meredith Madsen, founder and owner of Madsen Advertising, he said: “We’re not sure if this idea is the exact one that you’re going to make a lot of money on, but you and your management team will make a lot of money because of the team that you put together and the vision you have for the future.”

The Business Plan Competition was held April 11 at the FAU College of Business.