Texas Tech University

Startups Advance to Pitch for Funding in Texas Tech's Own 'Shark Tank'™-Like Experience

Kay Boren

March 25, 2019

iLaunch presentation

The finalists will compete April 4-5.

The Texas Tech University Innovation Hub at Research Park has announced the 10 teams of startup entrepreneurs advancing to the 2019 iLaunch Competition finals for a chance to win the top prize of $10,000. The Hub's own "Shark Tank"™-like experience is a pitch-to-investor event April 4-5 designed to identify, grow and launch startup companies.

The finalists are:
GeoBricks – A cheaper and stronger brick with zero carbon footprint for a sustainable future. Team: Suraj Khadka and Priyantha W. Jayawickrama.
FatBurnNano – A weight-loss medical product that decreases overweight users' body fat by more than 20 percent and brings more than $100 million in annual revenue to pharmaceutical companies. Team: Shu Wang and Dr. Yujiao Zu.
Hearing the Homeless – A secure crowdfunding platform for the homeless. Team: Kevin Price.
InOut Biome – A non-invasive, non-digestible capsule that can directly sample the fluid in the digestive tract. The InOut Capsule can access all parts of the digestive tract including parts of the small intestines (jejunum and ileum), which have never been able to be sampled before. Team: Melissa Genetti.
Nickel – A social network that works to connect creators to the financial support of fans and build communities through exposing the user to creative work made by local talent. Team: Seth Suhas.
Pombox – A timed smartphone lockbox that physically separates users from their mobile devices so they can focus on their job, academics, relationships or sleep. Team: Jared Steele.
ReFormance – Exists to connect young athletes, their parents and coaches with practical, science-based training programs that will improve their performance and protect them from injury. Team: Toby Brooks.
Therapoints – Aiding in the cognition of fine motor control, this workbook helps people with cognitive difficulties regain functional capacity in their fingers. Team: Sierra Singleton.
U-Wash – A peer-to-peer app-enabled laundry service for college students and junior military members living in dormitories to make life easier for customers by helping them save time and make money. Team: Sean McGinty.
VxMED – Center that transforms medical school textbook and lecture content into a virtual reality training experience for first- and second-year medical students preparing for board exams. Team: Antony Betteridge, Nathan Lloyd, Jad Abdoulhosn and Sean Montplaisir.

At 4:30 p.m. April 4, the iLaunch Competition's 10 finalists will participate in a "Minute to Pitch It" event during the Lightning Round Reception in the Texas Tech Student Union Building's Red Raider Ballroom. Finalists will pitch their idea to the audience, which will vote for its favorite. The winner will take home the $1,000 People's Choice Award.

From 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. April 5, the public also is invited to the Innovation Hub, 3911 Fourth St., to watch the iLaunch finalists present their pitch to a real investor panel. The panel will award $10,000 for first place, $3,000 for second place and $1,000 for third place. Attendees will see firsthand how startup founders make their pitch and the tough questions investors ask.

The iLaunch Competition is a unique component of the Spark Conference, which is part of "Discoveries to Impact" Week at Texas Tech. Held April 4-5 at the Innovation Hub, the conference brings together investors, innovators and industry leaders to showcase entrepreneurship at Texas Tech and in the West Texas community. It features numerous panel discussions and networking opportunities. Conference attendees will have the opportunity to learn the secrets of successful startups and how to overcome struggles. The conference is free and open to the public.

Reserve tickets to all "Discoveries to Impact" events by registering online or visiting the Innovation Hub website.