Past Pitch Competitions
Our first two years of competitions were great successes, and we are excited to have innovative winning teams and many finalists that shared their new start-ups and business ideas with the UA and city of Akron communities. Every participant helps the EX[L] Center realize its' mission.
UA Startup Challenge
ProfProtects wins $10,000 grand prize!
Congratulations to the winners, Tanmay Jain and Amal Narayanan, Ph.D. candidates in the Department of Polymer Science for winning the grand prize, $10,000 for their company ProfProtects.
ProfProtects produces polymer wipes, called OPI-Wipes, that can instantaneously change color when in contact with opioids. These wipes are designed to warn first responders to the presence of lethal narcotics. The wipes, are simple and intuitive to use, give instantaneous results, require no additional equipment, and are designed to be low cost (~$10).
More about the event
The pitch competition took place Thursday, Nov. 21. at the Bounce Innovation Hub in downtown Akron. The keynote speaker was Patrick Finley, a trustee of the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, and founder and chairman of VITALIA Senior Residencies. The judging panel included Bernard Coleman, global head of inclusive engagement at Uber.
BE THE CHANGE 10K Challenge
Social Entrepreneurship/Nonprofit Pitch Competition
Thank you Kenneth Calhoun Trust for sponsoring #BeTheChange10k Social Entrepreneurship Challenge
Zach Gerdes wins $10,000 grand prize!
Congratulations to the winner, Zach Gerdes and his company LIFT, who won the grand prize Thursday, April 18. LIFT promotes better minds for men, by "using science we know, we can become the men we should be."
Float the River
Float The River is a social venture that will provide a full service floating experience on the Cuyahoga River. Their mission is to create a vibrant and sustainable recreational experience on the Cuyahoga River and to change perceptions about the water quality, history, and overall community tone.
- Savannah Snyder, UA PhD candidate in Analytical Chemistry
- TJ Mack
BE THE CHANGE 10K Social Entrepreneurship Challenge
Erie Open Spec wins $10,000 grand prize!
We proudly thank The Akron Leadership Foundation for sponsoring #BeTheChange10k Social Entrepreneurship Challenge.
The winning team, Erie Open Spec, is comprised of Dr. Jiansheng Feng, Banafsheh Khakipoor (Biomimicry PhD candidate,) and Kelly Siman (Biomimicry PhD candidate) who developed a low-cost DIY Spectrometer to measure Phosphate and Nitrate in water samples via a smartphone image.
The five silver winner finalists received $800 towards their startups.
Better Nutrition at Your Doorstep
- Sydney Goulden
- Elisha Banks
- Dajah Hughley
- Abby Perkins
- Christin Seher, MS, RDN, LD
- Corey Cargill
- Dmitry Klingensmith
Tail-Wags (for smiles)
- Anna Tombazzi
- Hannah Adams
- Katy Nichols
- Andrew Durr
- Bethany Friedrichsen
- Tim Elliot
UA Startup Challenge
Hungerperks is EXL's first pitch competition grand prize winner!
Sponsored by Burton D. Morgan Foundation, the first UA Startup Challenge finals were a great success and networking event for entrepreneurship.
The winning team, Hungerperks, is comprised of Sam Borick (Computer Science), Kyle Flynn (alum- Marketing Management), Julia Mallinak (alum - Marketing & Sales Management and Integrated Marketing Communications) and Nick Neral (Marketing Management).
November 30, 2017 at 5 - 9 p.m.
The Bit Factory 526 South Main St. Suite 511 Akron, OH 44311
Meet & Greet
How it worked
Each finalist gave a five minute pitch, followed by a Q&A with the judges, and presented a PowerPoint to expain:
- the problem they are trying to solve and the solution
- their go-to market strategy
- their target market
- how they are different from competitors
- overview of team and why they can execute
The winner was chosen based on 55% vote from judges and 45% vote from the audience and received $10,000. The five finalist "gold winners" received $800 towards their startup, the semi-finalist "silver winners" received $100 toward their startup and the "bronze winners" received $50.
Nick Crawford | Computer Science
Steven Gates | Computer Science
Russell Ratcliffe | Computer Engineering
DeepHire is a software tool that solves the two biggest pain points a business has in the recruiting process: we source and screen candidates for a business. On the mobile app, job seekers get to swipe between a list of companies and get an 'inside look' at particular company's culture. Our algorithms detect when a job seeker is engaged with a particular company. If the job seeker passes each personalized interview question, they are recommended to the company as a potential good hire.
Jeffery Lowery| Mechanical Engineering
Lowery Racing manufactures motorsports and automobile products for the flat track motorcycle racing industry, as well as reselling products purchased at wholesale.
Anna Tombazzi | Chemical Engineering, minor - Business, Mathematics, Chemistry
Ryan Kordahi | Chemical Engineering, minor - Business
To combat the negative effects of sitting for long periods of time, two chemical engineering students, who are also minoring in business, have set out to create an ergonomically-sound portable device that fits under a desk and mimics the movement of walking.
Nikolai Ruhe | Engineering
Reed Jacobsen | Engineering Creighton Cloud
Nathan Dornback | Engineering
Walker Grossman | Engineering
This team of senior electrical and computer engineering students are on a mission to break the world record for the longest drone flight by a multi-copter. With their patent-pending technology, they believe they can achieve indefinite flight times. Applications include surveillance, delivery, cinema and more.
Dustin Ficker | Mechanical Engineering Technology
This company uses drones paired with high resolution camera sensors to get accurate and high res photos for inspection of tall or intricate infrastructure. Traditional methods are dangerous, time consuming and can yield mediocre results. Their method allows for cost reductions, efficiencies two to three times as high as traditional inspection methods and increased quality.