Team Sola Wins 2022 Georgia Tech InVenture Prize
Team Sola, comprised of mechanical engineers Wesley Pergament of Old Westbury, NY, and Brayden Drury of Park City, Utah, won the 2022 Georgia Tech InVenture Prize.
Using 70 years of tornado damage data, two Georgia Tech students have developed a proprietary model to help homeowners access financial support immediately following the devastation of a tornado.
Mechanical engineering students Brayden Drury and Wesley Pergament have used those seven decades of information provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service to come up with technology that can calculate the likelihood for future disasters and what payouts may be necessary.
“Essentially, it’s like our company has been around for 70 years,” explained Drury.
Because of limits and exclusions in insurance coverage, homeowners often have to pay out of pocket in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster. Team Sola hopes their model for a data-driven supplemental insurance plan with quick payouts will change that, benefiting homeowners as soon as they need it — while also benefiting home insurance providers.
With their $20,000 check for winning the InVenture competition, Team Sola hopes to start partnering with some of America’s major insurance companies. Drury and Pergament say it will also allow for them to pull in developers to continue to enhance their modeling software.
The judges noted Team Sola’s evident passion.
“How does one get passion for insurance?” asked InVenture Prize judge Kolby Hanley, 2017 InVenture Prize winner and CEO of UltraView Archery.
“These industries are so fascinating to look at, but they can be riddled with problems,” responded Pergament. “We’re just passionate about solving a big problem that hasn’t been solved yet.”
In addition to the cash prize, Team Sola will receive a free U.S. patent filing from Georgia Tech’s Office of Technology Licensing and a spot in CREATE-X, Georgia Tech’s startup incubator.
Second place and $10,000 went to Team Foambuster, a team of mechanical engineers that has developed a handheld tool to minimize the snow-like debris created by installing external insulation finishing systems.
And for the People’s Choice Award, the viewing audience used text and web platforms to submit their votes. That $5,000 prize went to Team Reflex, which is currently testing an emergency medical drone response system to deliver lifesaving medical equipment.
“There were so many amazing pitches, and these students are so amazing,” said InVenture Prize judge Duriya Farooqui, board director of Intercontinental Hotels Group and Intercontinental Exchange.
Hanley also expressed how impressed he was by all the finalists, noting, “All of these teams are going to be successful.”