SimpL Startup Wins Prize in Rice Business Plan Competition

Kunal Gandhi in a blue vest and collared shirt

Pitt senior Kunal Gandhi’s startup, SimpL, was recently awarded $30,000 in the prestigious Rice Business Plan Competition

Gandhi also won a Young Entrepreneur Award from the NFL Players Association this winter. Gandhi, a neuroscience and computer science major at Pitt, has been developing an app that uses artificial intelligence to show people in real-time whether their posture or technique is correct while training.

A former master trainer at the University’s Petersen Events Center, Gandhi recognized that many athletes were hurting themselves due to repeated strain resulting from poor training technique.

The app delivers feedback to users during workouts when they are not demonstrating correct posture and form.

The Rice competition bills itself as the “world’s largest and richest” student startup competition. In 2017, Forest Devices, a medical device company founded by Pitt School of Medicine student Matt Kesinger, won the top prize. SimpL becomes the second Pitt team to place in the competition.

“The most valuable part of SimpL for me was having the opportunity to represent the University of Pittsburgh at a national level. We get to show the rest of the country that great innovation takes place at our University,” Gandhi said. “Additionally, I would say meeting other passion-driven founders as well as investors was a great opportunity for us. I found that the most valuable part for us internally was working as a team and pushing ourselves to keep up with the other incredible schools and founders."

SimpL was awarded two prizes during the Rice Business Plan Competition Awards Ceremony: the $25,000 "Spirit of Entrepreneurship" award, given to the team that most exudes the thrill of entrepreneurship, and the $5,000 seventh place prize.

Gandhi received training and help from Pitt's Big Idea Center, an on-campus, inclusive innovation catalyst that develops the innovative and entrepreneurial skills of the Pitt student community.