Two students hold a $10,000 prize check.

Candor wins UF AI Days Pitch Competition

Candor, a virtual communications company, was awarded first place in this year’s UF AI Days Pitch Competition. The company uses artificial intelligence to create a user-friendly platform for constituents to voice their complaints to local governance, providing an app that puts complaints directly into political leaders’ inboxes.

Founders Akshat Pant (BS ’24) and Nishant Nagururu (BS ’26) pitched the company at the competition, sharing their determination to use technology to contribute to democratic empowerment and political accountability. The teammates have been best friends since childhood, and both study computer science at the University of Florida.

“It feels surreal to win this competition,” the team said. “We have worked so hard over the past few months to identify the problem, develop our app and market it. Winning this competition is the first big sign that we are moving in the right direction.

“The positive feedback and belief in our idea from the experienced judges is extremely motivating and gratifying.”

Winning the competition comes with a $10,000 prize, which Candor intends to use to fortify their AI solutions by building the app’s cloud computing infrastructure. The app is already in use at the University of Florida and Georgia Tech’s student government with around 500 users.

“In today’s AI-driven landscape, many sectors are leveraging its power to innovate, but its potential remains untapped in the political arena – a void Candor aims to fill,” the team said. “With this innovation, users can effortlessly text or post their proposal, and our BERT LLM model ensures it reaches the most suited leader to address and resolve the issue.”

Whether posting about a broken water fountain on campus or a more serious issue, Candor’s technology gets the message to whichever political leader needs to see it. Governance officials can also create profiles on the app, boosting their public image and engaging directly with their communities.

To prepare for the competition, the team formatted information gathered during the company’s development to meet the competition’s requirements. Having pitched the company on a smaller scale in the past, the team practiced to ensure a seamless and effective delivery.

Two students a faculty member hold a $10,000 prize check.

Jamie Kraft with the winning team, Candor.

“The team did a good job of outlining the problem in the marketplace, defining a strong business model and showing traction with customers,” said Jamie Kraft, director of the UF Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center. “Each of the teams were impressive in their pitches and confidence, their ability to convey a compelling vision and their knowledge and experience using artificial intelligence to develop products and services.”

After Candor, three other teams won prizes in the Gator Tank face-off.

  • Second place ($6,000): BiomeFuture, a company by UF PhD students Jessica Tittl Nielsen and Monica Schul that creates a safer chemical portfolio for users and the environment.
  • Third place ($4,000): Toad Health, pitched by UF undergraduates Max Kieffer and Rohit Mittal with Christian Herman and Chuck Winters, improves the clinical workflow and catches prescription errors before they are sent to the pharmacy.
  • Fourth place ($1,000): Valora Solutions, by UF students Andres Espinosa, Oscar Diaz de la Rua and Sebastian Valdes, uses AI in its product, TRAFFIC, to make predictions and informed decisions on transportation.

Presented by the UF Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center in the Warrington College of Business, the UF AI Days Pitch Competition was created to help students launch and grow businesses that leverage artificial intelligence. The AI Days Pitch Competition is just one way that the University of Florida is bringing AI skills to every student across every field of study and empowering them to be leaders in advancing AI technology.