An innovative I School project incorporating advertising into CAPTCHAs has been named a finalist in this week's UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition.
The project, called "Picatcha," is being developed by School of Information master's students Chulki Lee (MIMS '12), Dhawal Mujumdar, and Satish Polisetti (both MIMS '11). CAPTCHAs attempt to ensure that an online form is submitted by a human rather than a computer; they often require the user to type letters or digits from a distorted image that appears on the screen. Picatcha monetizes image-identification CAPTCHAs through targeted advertising; it is specifically designed for mobile devices where traditional text-based CAPTCHAs are ill-suited. The system allows any site that uses CAPTCHAs to present advertisements to users via image CAPTCHAs
The students claim their system will benefit client sites by offering effective CAPTCHA functionality, a targeted advertising opportunity, and a revenue opportunity, and will benefis users with a less frustrating and potentially enjoyable CAPTCHA experience.
Picatcha was one of eight finalists chosen from among a pool of 202 entrants. Thirty-seven semi-finalists presented their projects on Tuesday, and the eight finalists are presenting their business plans today for the panel of judges. After a public presentation at Berkeley's Haas School of Business this evening, awards will be presented to the winners of the $20,000 grand prize, a $5,000 people’s choice prize, and a $1,000 elevator-pitch prize.
The UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition was founded in 1999 to foster budding entrepreneurs. The program offers student entrepreneurs opportunities for education, networking, team creation, mentorship, and new venture financing, to help turn innovative ideas into real businesses.
This evening's final round of competition will be live webcast here (6:45 - 9:00 pm).