Formidable Toys wins grant from the Entrepreneurship Club in fall 2014.

E-Club Awards $42,000 in Seed Grants

The University of Utah Entrepreneur Club (E-Club) awarded more than $42,000 to student business ideas in the fall 2014 semester through the monthly Get Seeded pitch events. In total, 54 teams comprised of more than 130 students from universities around the state applied to pitch their ideas. Of these teams, 31 were invited to pitch to the club.

“It’s an incredible opportunity to get assistance with your idea,” said Dustin Carlson, a student who pitched his idea for an innovative tomato cage. “All things can be improved, even tomato cages, finding money to improve them is the challenge. The Get Seeded program is a great way to get help.”

The Get Seeded program is funded by Zions Bank and managed in partnership with the U’s StaC program.

The ideas funded ranged from devices that can update the traffic grid in real-time to colorful toy swords with interchangeable components. The E-Club encourages students from all Utah schools to apply to pitch their ideas.

When invited to pitch, students have several minutes to present their ideas to an audience. The pitch is followed by a Q&A from the audience. Then the audience votes on which ideas should receive funding.

The Get Seeded program distinguishes itself from traditional business competitions in that all ideas can receive funding, not just the winners.

Tim Cooley the club president explained: “In many tournaments you can have a lot of good ideas that don’t receive money, the Get Seeded program will award money to all the participants if the audience agrees that their ideas are good.”

Over the fall semester, the Get Seeded program awarded 18 teams an average of $2,400 to help reach their business milestones. If you have an idea, or want help developing an idea, please reach out to the Entrepreneur club. We are continually looking for great student ideas to fund.

Join the Entrepreneur Club and learn more at

Teams Funded Fall 2014

Pitch Event 1

  • Mark Pittman (team lead), S’ync (team name), U of U (school), $4,750 (money awarded), Using GPS location data from cell phones and devices to update the traffic grid in real time and use that data to synchronize traffic lights in near real-time (description).
  • Dustin Carlson, Home Garden Solutions, U of U, WSU, $400, A redesigned home garden tomato cage to address the problems with traditional tomato cages.
  • Mark Jensen, PrimeSwords, U of U, $7,000, Colorful toy swords with interchangeable components.

Pitch Event 2

  • Cory Merrell, The Beach, U of U, $3,000, A venue that offers year round sand volleyball in Utah.
  • Tim Cooley, StepPets, U of U, $500, A game that encourages incremental amounts of walking by awarding “treats” that players can use to buy virtual pets and accessories.
  • Casey Koon, ACES, $500, A company that uses drones to record real estate and subsequently use that video to show prospective home buyers the home/area.
  • Danny Noall, Hydr8, USU, $1,100, An inline flavoring system that attaches to the end of the existing hose of a hydration bladder, with liquid flavor cartridges that are interchangeable when a different flavor is desired.

Pitch Event 3

  • Nick Roberts, StoryBox, U of U, $2,250, An app that allows you to create, upload and share audio stories in real-time.
  • Tim Cooley, Steppets, U of U, $4,500, A game that encourages incremental amounts of walking by awarding “treats” that players can use to buy virtual pets and accessories.
  • Jackson Nadar, ClickIP, U of U, $4,750, An affordable cloud-based SaaS used by organizations that work with intellectual property that has a tiered subscription model that they can customize a la carte.
  • Alex Carr, Char Poles, U of U, UVU, $500, Versatile filming utility poles, functioning as and all-in-one solution
  • Ryan Ferrin, SenseMed, U of U, $400, A medication sensing device that notifies people, through any internet enabled device, if they forget to take their medication.
  • Susan Woodhouse, FollowMyGig, U of U, $4,500, An automated web and smart device negotiation system so that venues can selectively route independently tailored booking offers to a prioritized list of artists and artist group members.
  • Carter James, BREATHR, U of U, $1,920, A pollution mask in which the frontal area of the filter material is much larger then the leading mask by using a rippled filter material similar to the technique for engine air filters.

Pitch Event 4

  • Chris Fowles, Tive, U of U, $2,060, A captive portal that goes between a company’s router and modem, which lets users access wi-fi by viewing advertising content first.
  • Nicole Allen, Small Town Guru, USU, $800, A website for people living in small towns that is a one-stop shop for finding things to do, places to eat and places to stay (hotels for visitors).
  • Andrew Titensor, Svelte Wallets, U of U, $2,500, the smallest and thinnest wallet solution available, made of durable tyvek material that is waterproof and tear-resistant.
  • Colby Russo, Evōk, U of U, $1,040, Creating a company where we support and promote local artists by featuring their work on shirts, while giving back to the salt lake community.

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