Happy Valley Startup Into-Int is turning clicks into wisdom


By Holly Riddle

Felicia Vijayarangam, Christina Fontaine and Kendall Reed earned first place in the 2024 Bardusch Family IdeaMakers Challenge. Credit: Jena Soult / Penn State

Penn State Startup Week powered by PNC is an excellent example of the university’s commitment to encouraging entrepreneurship both among the student body and the larger community. This year’s event, held March 18–22, brought together students, entrepreneurs, industry, investors and others to enjoy informational sessions, workshops and competitions, during which new startups and entrepreneurs vied for monetary prizes to help fuel their growth.

One competition was the College of Information Sciences and Technology’s 2024 Bardusch Family IdeaMakers Challenge, where teams of Penn State students with early-stage business ideas work for over a month to further flesh out their pitches, and then deliver those pitches in hopes of winning an investment. This year’s winner is team of three who, like many entrepreneurs, saw the needs of those closest to them — in this case, younger siblings — and were determined to fill those needs.

“This is a product that everyone saw the need for”

Christina Fontaine, Kendall Reed II and Felicia Vijayarangam are the founders of an app called Into-Int, with its tagline “turning clicks into wisdom.”

Reed explained, “Into-Int is an interactive application that aims to curb the negative behaviors developed by kids on the internet. The idea, inspiration [and] background behind this type of application came from the fact that me and Christina both have younger siblings around the same age, and…have watched their process, growing up with the development of the internet and the way the internet is a lot more accessible to kids at a young age. They’re able to communicate with so many other people across the world, without any sort of innate regulation.”

Fontaine added, “I realized that, without this regulation, there should be a curriculum in place about the dangers and how to access that kind of power safely, but there isn’t.” It was Fontaine who initially came across the IdeaMakers Challenge and assembled the team. A cyber security analytics and operations major, she tapped Reed, also studying cyber security, and Vijayarangam, who’s studying both data science and economics.

They describe the application as operating similarly to how PBS offers interactive programming for kids, particularly those ages 4 through 9. Educational content is designed to capture kids’ attention, with gameplay that reinforces online safety best practices.

Approximately 50 teams initially applied for the IdeaMakers Challenge, but, by the time Startup Week rolled around, the competition had been whittled down to fewer than 20 teams. So what made Fontaine, Reed and Vijayarangam successful?

They point to their thorough research into the problem they hoped to solve and the market opportunity (they’ve already been in discussion with elementary educators to learn more about how an app like Into-Int could be implemented in a school setting, as well as what kind of questions kids are asking about online safety), as well as their dedication to seeing the business venture through, regardless of whether or not they won the IdeaMakers Challenge.

“We’re all thinking about the parent and student relationship and how [Into-Int] could work in schools,” said Vijayarangam. “A lot of the judges and even just people in the room came up to us afterward, [saying] ‘This is such a good idea. This is something that I want my kids to have.’ It seems like this is a product that everyone saw the need for.”

The IdeaMakers Challenge first-place prize was $3,000, but the team doesn’t receive that prize money to spend however they wish. Instead, they’ll be working with Professor Marc Friedenberg to put together a plan for the best way to spend those funds and grow the business accordingly. For now, they’re focused on further customer discovery.

The three credit Happy Valley’s entrepreneur community for helping them get thus far in their journey, calling it “super-supportive” and “always happy to give feedback.” For those looking to break into the Happy Valley entrepreneur scene, Fontaine offered one key piece of advice: “Cold email everyone you see… These people are extremely passionate about what they do, and they’re eager to help [those] with an idea who want to get it off the ground.”

While all three founders plan to pursue doctorate degrees in their fields of study, they do foresee Into-Int as playing out as part of their future careers.

In the weeks ahead, we’re covering a handful of the new startups and young entrepreneurs that were highlighted at Penn State Startup Week, so be sure to stay tuned to learn more about the latest and greatest ideas coming out of the Happy Valley entrepreneurial community!


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