Friday, February 24, 2012 - 4:02am

In one sleepless weekend, entrepreneurs at Rochester Institute of Technology could create your new favorite app or website. In fact, by March 25 it could be downloaded to your smart phone.

RIT48 returns March 23-25. For the third consecutive year, students, alumni and faculty from across campus are challenged to pitch, plan, develop and launch Web and mobile start-up companies-all within one 48-hour period.

Multidisciplinary teams-spanning expertise in programming, design and marketing-will create some form of Web-based applications that provide a new service or leverages an existing business opportunity. Last year's winners created The Bar of the Day, a service that provides its users a one-day discount to a different bar every night of the week.

"RIT48 is awesome because you see innovators from all different disciplines working together to develop business plans, design and code," says Matt Gardner, a fourth-year information technology student and organizer of RIT48.

Registration for RIT48 gets under way at 9 a.m. March 23, followed by an opening ceremony in the Center for Student Innovation. Pre-established teams and individuals affiliated with RIT who are looking to join a team must register online by March 15.

Teams compete for cash prizes, and winners will be selected based on evaluations presented to a panel of experts. Judges include Pete Karl, managing director for Bocoup; Marc Weil, founder and engineer at CloudMine; Darrin Nelson, vice president of software sales at Sirius Computer Solutions; Greg Koberger, Web developer at Mozilla; and Eric Carlstrom, co-founder and CTO at EverTrue. All are also RIT alumni.

"Each team gives an elevator pitch for the judges at 10:15 a.m. on Friday," explains Gardner. "This is a 60-second spiel that conveys the team's preliminary ideas. Hopefully by Sunday, the business is something the team can run with."

Go to the RIT48 website for more information and to watch the live-streamed opening and closing ceremonies March 23 and 25.

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