On Friday 21 student entrepreneurship teams competed for around $20,000 in prizes at the NewVenture Competition and Showcase at the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona. Each of the teams were given three minutes to pitch their idea to a panel of judges, followed by a two minute question and answer period. The judges then picked finalists for the second round later that day. Out of the 21 teams only three could be victorious and receive money for their startup business idea.
The grand prize winner receiving $10,000 for their idea was EasyEye, Instant Custom Readers. The team consisted of Jeffrey Hamilton, Ashley Hauer, Zachary Poll and Matthew Schwartz. According to the event program, “EasyEye is the Dr. Scholls for reading glasses. We provide a kiosk to walk consumers through the process of choosing which reader glasses to buy.”
According to their pitch, the user would be able to walk up to the adjustable focus eyeglass which then picks the correct prescription eye ware for the customer. Then on the kiosk the user is able to pick their style of frame and receive their reading glasses.
Despite their win on Friday, the team is unsure whether or not they will pursue the launch of their idea. “It could go either way,” Poll said.
Although EasyEye may not decide to launch, the second and third place winners, were adamant about launching their companies.
Third place winner Intelliwound, “develops wound care devices that aid clinical decision0making by providing objective tools to measure wond health. Early identification of non-healing wounds and infections helps reduce amputations,” according to the event program.
The Intelliwound team consits of Manish Bharara, Chris Marin, Anil Potharaju and Jeffrey Walcott. For third place they won $2500 and according to Bharara they plan on pushing ahead to launch their company. But before this happens Bharara said, “we need to identify the immediate next steps and take action. So based on how long it takes for us to get there I think that might delay the formation of the company a little bit.” Although Bharara said there are many steps to be taken still he plans on launching in about six months.
Although he and his team received third place in the competition, Bharara spoke very highly of his competitors. “I think they were all great, all the 21 teams did a great job. At the end it is the top three but I think everyone did a great job.”
Coming in second place receiving $5000 for their idea was a “mobile-based application that allows users to compete as teams for money by completing easy, mobile-based tasks that businesses create to gain exposure,” called Yamotask. The team consists of Trevor Cohen, Terrence O’Connor, Jack Padden and Zoe Thrope.
According to Cohen they do plan to launch their company hopefully by the end of the year. They plan on partnering with a mobile-application developer named 2XL Games based out of Phoenix to push on to develop their application. Cohen said that he and his team were “thrilled” to receive second place in the competition.
In addition to the three top winners there were five additional awards given out including the Best In Class Award which was chosen by the teams competing against eachother and the People’s Choice Awards which was voted on by attendees of the event through Twitter. Both awards were granted $1000. “Bottleknows Wines is a series of quality wines featuring educational labels that help novice wine consumers understand the wine world,” and they were awarded the Best In Class award. “The Liist is an addictive and engaging online social community for established couples, monetized by affiliate marketing and local ‘date-destination’ businesses,” and they were awarded the People’s Choice Award at the competition.
Although not every company was able win that should not discourage them from pursing their idea and launching according to Emre Toker, Senior Mentor-in-Residence at the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship in the Eller College of Managment.
“Some students feel a little discouraged, you know? Especially after the competition because they weren’t in the number one, number two, number three,” he said. “The thing that I want to tell all the students is that the only judge that matters is the customer. If you’re brave enough to go out there regardless of what the judges say that’s the only thing that matters.”