CCT Student Victoria Gomes-Boronat Wins $1,000 at the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Challenge Finals

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CCT’s very own entrepreneur-in-the-making, second-year student Victoria Gomes-Boronat, participated in the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Challenge (GEC) this year, where she reached the finals. Victoria’s Metaverse-based community-building platform, LUCIO, received a prize of $1,000 for placing as a finalist at the GEC Finals held on April 7, 2022.

Read on to learn more about what LUCIO is, how Victoria’s CCT experience helped her pitch LUCIO at the GEC, and her advice for other budding entrepreneurs such as herself at CCT!

What is LUCIO? 

LUCIO is a relationship-building, geo-localized mobile metaverse that provides opportunities for safe, healthy, and exciting connections through the use of games and a psychology-informed UI/UX design. Although LUCIO enhances reality by facilitating the creation of relationships through the use of various technological features, it is specifically designed to not replace reality. Through partnerships with local businesses, users of LUCIO can easily take their online relationships offline – strengthening their connections and their local communities.

How does LUCIO work?

LUCIO has three main functionalities: 

  • The Matching Board: The user profile is displayed on the board among 10-20 others. The profile consists of a bio, photos, text prompts, and interactive personality test results, i.e. the Myers-Briggs Test, The Love Languages Test, etc. Using AI, compatibility scores will also be displayed on the profiles of other people on the board.  
  • The Chat: Users can text, call, video call, and even play games with users they have matched with. Asynchronous turn-based games will be integrated within the chat to give users a more fun and organic way to communicate with one another.
  • The LUCIO geo-localized Metaverse: The user has an avatar and public-facing profile they can use to express their identity, explore the metaverse, play games and interact with other users of their age and location preferences. Local businesses that actually exist in the area will have a virtual location within the metaverse where users can play games together and win coupons and deals to go together to the physical locations.

How does the Metaverse figure into LUCIO?

I came into CCT knowing that I wanted to create a psychology-informed application that helped people create healthier connections, however, I did not get the idea to incorporate games and the Metaverse until my first semester in the program, more specifically, during Professor Irvine‘s Leading by Design class. We started the program during the peak of COVID in 2020 so all classes and social interactions, in general, were virtual. My friends and I stayed connected by playing the extremely popular, multiplayer online game Among Us. I didn’t realize how effective games were at bonding and connecting people (especially ones where you brutally murder and betray your friends) until then. We shared so many laughs and fun experiences that we felt closer than ever, even if we weren’t physically close.

One day, I was curious and went into one of the public rooms and found that people were connecting through the shared enjoyment of the game there too. Players would really hit it off with other players and ask A/S/L (age/sex/location) in the chat to see if the players they vibed with were of their age and in their vicinity. They wanted to see if it was appropriate and even possible to take these relationships offline as well. Unfortunately, 99% of the time there was either too big of an age difference or they were too far from each other to feasibly meet offline. That’s when the idea struck: what if there was a gaming virtual world where users could meet and play games (kind of like Club Penguin or Roblox) but with other users of their age and location? The technology for it already existed- it was just a matter of combining them! 

By combining the matching and geolocation algorithms of dating apps with the fun and exciting ways to connect that gaming platforms provide, LUCIO creates a more fun and exciting way to connect and get to know others online and offline. The partnerships with local businesses make it that much easier and fun to meet offline- strengthening the connections formed in LUCIO, while simultaneously helping the local communities thrive. 

So why is it called LUCIO? 

In the romantic languages, LUCIO is a name that means “light” and “illumination”. My hope is that people can find the communities and connections that light up their lives through exploration, play, and the connections they make along the way in LUCIO.

How did your time at CCT help you along the way?

I have always been extremely fascinated by psychology and interpersonal communication. Because of this, I chose to pursue a Broadcast Journalism and Psychology dual-degree during my undergrad. I realized that to get to know people and be able to best tell their stories, I had to know how to best communicate with them and understand their motivations. I believe this is also true in creating strong connections. I learned various principles that helped my own relationships simply because I was able to communicate my desires and needs, understand the desires and needs of others, and learn how to mitigate the differences between myself and another person. I chose to pursue a Masters in Communication, Culture, and Technology because I wanted to create a tool or platform that would allow people to build strong connections through exploration and play. CCTs interdisciplinary approach was perfect for that. I was able to strategically choose classes that would directly help me develop this project. 

I can also not stress enough the immense support I’ve received from the CCT community, whether it be the professor or my peers. Everyone has been so incredibly helpful, and I would not have had the courage to even apply for the GEC preliminaries if it hadn’t been for the CCT community’s support. Because I used all of my classes to work towards different aspects of this project, the influence and input of my peers and professors was instrumental to the development of this app. Together, we made LUCIO. It is fitting that an application that intends to build strong and healthy communities was built through the support of a strong and healthy community. 

My journey to the GEC was very ~meta~ since it was almost entirely fueled by connections. That’s not to say I didn’t put tremendous work and time into my project, but if my CCT professors hadn’t believed in me and connected me with Entrepreneurs in Residence at Georgetown’s entrepreneurship program, I would not have made it as far as I did. Those connections I made with the EIRs helped me find the confidence I needed to enter a field that was entirely out of my comfort zone: entrepreneurship. Everyone was so kind, and with every person I was connected to, the better my pitch became and the less fearful I was. I am tremendously grateful for all of my professors at CCT, my peers, and all of the amazing EIRs at the business school who guided and inspired me throughout this journey. 

Finally, what advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs at CCT such as yourself, who might also want to pitch their ideas at the GEC in the future?

My best advice for those looking to pitch at the GEC (or Georgetown students in general) is: don’t be afraid to connect! The Georgetown community, including the entrepreneurship community, is so welcoming, and everyone you meet is extremely passionate about what they do and have so many insights and experiences that they’d love to share. I know it may seem daunting, and you don’t want to be a burden, but you have to remember that they all have been in your situation at some point – they know how scary but important it is to reach out to people who may be further along in their careers than you. They too had mentors and people who have helped them throughout their entrepreneurial journeys. So send that email to the CEO of the company you admire, have those informational conversations with the people you look up to, and one day you will be able to pay it forward and be that person for someone else. 

Congratulations again, Victoria!