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Startup Super Stars

Mit Patel and Daniel Mazur, seniors in mechanical engineering, recently won the Grand Prize in the 2021 Rice Business Plan Competition, the world’s largest and richest student startup competition.

The duo took home several awards, including the Business Angel Minority Association Investment Prize, and almost $450,000 in cash and in-kind prizes. Patel and Mazur beat out 53 other student startups, including teams from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.  

The two are among the first occupants of Auburn University’s New Venture Accelerator, where more than 8,000 square feet of office space is dedicated to fostering student startups.

Patel and Mazur are co-founders of SwiftSku, a scan data solution that leverages business intelligence and machine learning for independent convenience stores.

SwiftSku is no stranger to pitching before judges. In 2020, the startup captured Auburn University’s annual Tiger Cage Student Business Plan Competition and secured $25,000 in capital funding. 

The duo also recently took third place in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) U.S. University Startup Competition, earning up to $100,000 in AWS credits and $5,000 in cash. The AWS U.S. University Startup Competition is one of the premier student events of its kind in the country. 

“We were delighted to see an Auburn student-team place third in this prestigious national competition,” said Lou Bifano, director of Entrepreneurship Strategy at Auburn University. “Mit and Daniel are bringing an exciting data analytics service to market for independent convenience store owners. They will be able to put their AWS winnings to good use.”