Optiglass, Diamond Challenge 2019 Finalist
Arunima Saxena and Sidharth Anantha may only be high school students, but their entrepreneurial venture is beyond impressive. Arunima has been passionate about bringing technology to the masses since she was a kid. After Sidharth showed her the unique, wearable technology he was working on, Arunima partnered with him to build a business around it and make it more affordable for the masses. That is when their Diamond Challenge venture, Optiglass, was born. Their device uses echolocation and machine learning to give the blind access to greater mobility. The company’s mission is to improve the lives of the visually impaired community and help them better navigate the world. OptiGlass participated in Diamond Challenge 2019 on the business innovation track, ultimately coming in second place. For Arunima, the competition was an enlightening experience, and she’s grateful for the chance to pitch to real venture capitalists and entrepreneurs.
“Diamond Challenge enabled me to learn how to take an idea and turn it into a profitable business,” says Arunima. “It also helped me improve my ability to listen to others, absorb their feedback and incorporate it to take my idea to a new level. This helped us take our Optiglass proposal to a level we never thought was possible.”
For any high school students interested in entrepreneurship, Arunima suggests applying to the Diamond Challenge. She believes that the program provides learning experiences that aren’t offered in a normal school curriculum. Arunima says, “It is an amazing experience. It’s the best program to introduce young high school students to entrepreneurship, and it teaches a lot about leadership as well. The Diamond Challenge will teach you how to take an idea and build a robust business out of it by evaluating it from many different angles.”
The success of Optiglass and her overall experience with the Diamond Challenge has reaffirmed Arunima and Sidharth’s professional goals. Sidharth will graduate next spring and hopes to attend college for engineering. Arunima plans to apply to colleges next year and would like to major in business. She says, “The Diamond Challenge helped me realize my passion for business and entrepreneurship.”
Until then, the Optiglass team is focusing on perfecting their concept and increasing their global impact. Arunima and Sidharth’s mission is to build a supply chain around Optiglass so that the cost can be significantly reduced and Optiglass can become affordable to blind people even in countries with high poverty rates. Arunima believes that technology becomes most powerful and accessible when a profitable and efficient business is built around it. Sidharth and Arunima plan to test Optiglass in India this summer.
No matter where our Diamond Challenge alumni go, we are constantly amazed by how they continue to make an impact on the world for the better.
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Horn Entrepreneurship serves as the University of Delaware’s creative engine for entrepreneurship education and advancement. Built and actively supported by successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders, Horn Entrepreneurship empowers aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs as they pursue new ideas for a better world.