Student’s phone app takes first place at business competition

David Parshenkov and his team won $10,000.


Senior business administration and marketing double major David Parshnekov and other winners take home their monetary prizes. Photo courtesy of David Parshnekov.

Alexandra Van Erven, Staff Writer

Florida Atlantic’s Business Plan Competition has crowned its 2016 winner — FacePlay, a picture and video messaging platform that lets users see their friends’ reactions to what they’re watching.

The competition took place on April 11 on the Boca Raton campus, where senior business administration and marketing double major David Parshnekov’s app took first place, along with $10,000. Parshenkov won alongside his team of non-FAU students — Ahmed Fathi Bekhit, Youssef Gamal and Sean Bakko.

“The judges … basically said the reason we won was because of three things; one was me, how I presented myself, and then our team, and there was a niche market and they liked the idea,” said Parshenkov. “But the big things were the team and they really believed in me, and I thought that was really amazing, we really do have a good team.”

According to the senior, the purpose of the app is to bridge the gap between human interaction and technology.

“You could send a picture to someone but you don’t know if they’ll reply, or if they saw it, sometimes they saw it but they don’t reply at all or they reply in five hours but with us as soon as they see it you get the reaction back, and the reply,” he said. “We were fixing a problem we saw everyday.”

The app idea began when Parshenkov talked to his friends about what is missing in the current market.

“We didn’t see it exactly like an opportunity, but we were like, what’s a problem we face everyday? And we just noticed that we don’t get enough feedback from people.”

The app made it through three rounds of competition. During one round, the five judges asked 10 semifinalists to present seven minute pitches, according to Parshenkov.

With the previous judges’ comments in mind, the final five presented revised business plans for 15 minutes in front of a new panel of judges — leading to FacePlay’s $10,000 victory.

Parshenkov said the winning funds will be used for further developments on the app, including adding another developer to the team for feature expansion and efficiency upgrades.

Following FacePlay’s success, the organizers of the FAU Business Plan Competition asked Parshenkov to represent the school in the Sixth Annual Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition on May 17 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The competition invites universities throughout Florida to participate.

Parshenkov said he is no stranger to technology and app development.

“I always wanted to make an app. I did a few websites, one was for Powerhouse Gym,” he said. “Me and a few of my friends, we did their whole website, all their sub sites, I always liked technology.”

He continued: “I was actually a social media influencer, so I’ve done brand partnerships for companies, I had throughout my Twitter and Vine and everything … over a million followers, if you put it all together. I really enjoyed social media, and growing.”

As for possible future developments, Parshenkov is sticking to FacePlay for now.

“I’ve had millions of ideas, as an entrepreneur you think of a million things, but this is the one I’m really into. But if anything, I have my backups as well.”

Alexandra Van Erven is a staff writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet her @therealalexav1.