On a spot-lit stage Wednesday April 4th, 2012 in downtown Chicago, DFA’s SwipeSense team, Mert Iseri and Yuri Malina stood before more than 250 venture capitalists and angel investors to pitch their idea — a portable, BlackBerry-size hand-sanitation device that attaches to the belt of health care providers. The goal: To raise $1 million for their nascent company, SwipeSense, to fund five pilot programs at some of Chicago’s largest medical centers.

Not only did this dynamic duo make it on the cover of the Chicago Tribune’s business section, but they are also inspiring the next generation of DFA project leaders. Among those in the audience were some of DFA’s Fruit Buddi team and here’s what they had to say about the experience.

“It’s wildly inspiring to think that SwipeSense was at one point in the same stage we’re in now, particularly because it was also a DFA Summer Studio Project and because we’re going through the same design process.  We keep trying to ground ourselves in reality, talking about how unlikely it is that we land any major incubators or accelerators.  On the other hand, I can’t help but feel unreasonably excited about Fruit Buddi’s potential for improving childhood nutrition and obesity.  I walked away from that day thinking that if we really put in the effort, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be in a similar position in a year.” – Brandon Rivera-Melo, BioTech ’13

“Seeing SwipeSense’s pitch definitely influenced how I interpret Fruit Buddi’s future.  If anything, it shows the capabilities DFA has as an organization to actually make a difference; things are getting implemented.  And as a team, we hope to be on a similar stage within the next year, so seeing Mert and Yuri’s success has given us confidence and that extra drive to keep pushing Fruit Buddi forward.”  -Taylor Reynolds, English ’13