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Joshua Walsworth, Harrison Keating and Noah Magill

Three UCF cybersecurity enthusiasts won UCF’s 2024 Joust New Venture Competition on Thursday and earned $12,000 to grow their company, an immersive information security simulator that puts teams in realistic cyber warfare scenarios.

Computer science major Harrison Keating, information technology major Noah Magill, and cybersecurity master’s student Joshua Walsworth three other teams in the Shark Tank-style competition at The Celeste Hotel.

With a mission to help user defend against cyber threats and safeguard companies from being the next victim their venture, CyberColosseum Solutions, is the first software company to win since 2015.

“Building out our product and discovering customers will be our main two focuses early on,” says Walsworth, who is a security engineer at Lockheed Martin. “Down the line, you can start to expect more businesses relying on our product to train their cybersecurity staff to become experts in defending against cyber-attacks.”

Similar to ABC’s Shark Tank, the four teams made their pitches to a panel of six judges, including Jacques Fu, founder of PETE Learning; Kevin Miller, president and CEO of Addition Financial; Mark Norato ’91, vice president of North American Partners in Anesthesia; Michael O’Donnell ’09, founder and CEO of MOD Ventures LLC; John Paccione ’95MBA, president of Red Horse Ventures; and Edward Schons, former president of the Florida High Tech Corridor and assistant vice president for university relations at UCF.

The Joust is UCF’s annual premier startup showcase event. It is hosted by the College of Business’ Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and open to students of all majors. Competitors present their models for a viable business venture and compete to win money and other resources to pursue their venture. This event celebrates student entrepreneurs, introduces them to community leaders and provides key resources to help launch their ventures.

CyberColosseum Solutions was one of four finalists that emerged from a semifinal pool of 16. Unbound Disability Claims, represented by Rollins College student Samson Lachman and company founders Amanda McDonald and health sciences major Alyssa Wilbanks, created a Turbo Tax-like platform that streamlines Social Security Disability claims and finished runner-up, earning $7,000. ZuLeris Interactive, a team consisting of mechanical engineering major Liam Etan, computer science and mathematics major Jacob Noel, and photonic and electrical engineering major Zackary Zuniga, created an electromagnetic warfare virtual training environment that supplements live learning systems and took home $4,000 for third place. Emergency Insights, featuring Aref Abdala, Javier Arocha and Julio Wall Chirinos, aerospace engineering majors, and Sonia Alvarez, a mechanical engineering major, developed hazard awareness technology that evaluates the risks associated with any address and earned $2,000 in fourth place.

The 2024 Joust New Venture Competition was made possible by in-kind sponsors NPerspective, The Orlando Law Group, the Institute of Internal Auditors, Ecobyte, UCF’s Business Incubation Program and Think Integrated.

Story from CyberColosseum Solutions Takes First Place at UCF’s 2024 Joust New Venture Competition by Tatum Swanson for UCF Today