Thrive Smart Systems – a completely wireless sprinkling system that is reliable, environmentally friendly and affordable – took home the $40,000 grand prize and the first-place title at the 2019 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge at the University of Utah today. The event featured the best collegiate entrepreneurs in Utah competing for $100,000 in cash and prizes.
The Utah Entrepreneur Challenge is a statewide business-model competition open to all university students in the state. It is managed by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business, and sponsored by Zions Bank.
“The best part of the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge is to see how passionate the students are when they present their ideas, and the innovative and creative solutions they develop in order to solve problems,” said Youngjae Shin, a University of Utah student and marketing director of the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. “It is amazing to see how many teams across the state have participated in this competition and it is an honor to have the business competition held at Lassonde Studios. It was definitely a successful event.”
Additional prizes were awarded to the team with the best video, design, presentation, technology and more. Other big winners included SHERO with second place ($10,000), DeGraw Custom with third place ($5,000), DeGraw Custom with the Stoel Rives Best Technology Award ($3,000), True Adherence and NALZA with the Emerging Entrepreneur Awards ($2,000 each), and Desert Oak Phototherapy with the online voting People’s Choice Award ($1,000).
All top 20 teams walked away with a Top 20 Awards Packet, which included cash and prizes from Zions Bank, Workman Nydegger and Tanner Co. Additionally, all top 20 teams were awarded $500 for making it into the top 20. Participating teams also received mentorship from community experts and were judged by industry professionals.
Seth Bangerter, CEO and co-founder of Thrive Smart Systems, assembled his team in January 2018. His team worked hard to find a pain in the landscape industry. After interviewing hundreds of landscapers, Thrive came up with a wireless sprinkler system, eliminating the need for battery operated controllers.
“A lot of people were asking for a wireless sprinkler system since many people found wired sprinkler systems troublesome, and Thrive Smart Systems wanted to be the company to make this change,” Bangerter said. “The grand prize of $40,000 will go right back into the company, especially into developing the technology that sets Thrive apart. We anticipate the funds will be used to move our product into the beta phase and eventually have contractors implement the sprinkler system in the ground by this June.”
Bangerter and his team are excited about their big win and are excited to start working full time.
“The 2019 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge was a big success,” said Parker Andriese, a University of Utah student and chair of the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. “We had a wide range of teams in different fields in our top 20, which made for exciting pitching events. My team worked diligently, and the competition day’s success is attributed to their hard work.”
Learn more about the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge at lassonde.utah.edu/uec.
Winners of the 2019 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge
- Grand Prize Award, $40,000 (award sponsored by Zions Bank): Thrive Smart Systems
- Second Place, $10,000 (Zions Bank): SHERO
- Third Place, $5,000 (Zions Bank): DeGraw Custom
- Emerging Entrepreneur 1, $2,000 (Zions Bank): True Adherence
- Emerging Entrepreneur 2, $2,000 (Zions Bank): NALZA
- Best Speed Pitch Award, $1,000 (Zions Bank): Blue and White Collar
- Top 20 Finalist Awards: $10,000 ($500 per team): All teams
- Sustainable Business 1, $5,000 (F1 Payments): SHERO
- Sustainable Business 2, $5,000 (F1 Payments): Blue and White Collar
- Technology, $3,000 (Stoel Rives): DeGraw Custom
- Bootstrap, $2,000 (Actium Partners): DeGraw Custom
- Prototype, $1,000 (Espiritu Design): Freyya
- Best Video, $1,000 (Jones Waldo): Quantum Snow
- People’s Choice Showcase, $1,000 (Workman Nydegger): Beacon Sleep Solutions
- People’s Choice Online Vote, $1,000 (Ballard Spahr): Desert Oak Phototherapy
- Top 8 Teams: Thrive Smart Systems, Blue and White Collar, DeGraw Custom, Freyya, Grip’n’Strip, Lystant, PreOv, SHERO
Utah Entrepreneur Challenge 2019 Top 20 Teams
Here are the top 20 teams in the 2019 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. These teams will advance to the final judging, showcase and awards event. They are listed in alphabetical order:
- Beacon Sleep Solutions (UofU) – Beacon Sleep Solutions has developed a proprietary device, The Sleep Shield, designed to be the only device that could directly treat the 22.6 million people in the United States who suffer from sleep paralysis, as well as help the additional 38.8 million people in the U.S. with related sleeping disorders, including sleepwalking, night terrors, chronic nightmares and sleeping disorders related to PTSD.
- Blue and White Collar (UVU) – The company is founded on the belief that fashion, function, sustainability and affordability shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. That’s why their is to make sustainable, performance dress shirts affordable for everyone.
- Compost Cache Valley (USU) – Compost Cache Valley is a pre-consumer, food-waste collection and processing company. They are dedicated to developing a sustainable and local food system in Utah by building healthy soil, promoting healthy food, and supporting healthy families.
- DeGraw Custom (Snow) – DeGraw Custom is currently producing high-quality custom welded agriculture products. They expect to expand to serve the livestock industry as a whole with their DeGraw Portable Large Bale Feeders while continuing to fill custom agriculture manufacturing orders.
- Desert Oak Phototherapy (Dixie) – Desert Oak Phototherapy is the first durable medical-equipment company to specialize in phototherapy. They believe they can provide a high-quality service through industry specialization. The company currently owns enough inventory to handle the demand of the three pediatric clinics that have already agreed to send patients.
- Follow-Up (SUU) – Follow-Up works with B2B SaaS companies to ensure 100 percent of their web leads are contacted within minutes. They work with their clients to create a FAQ sheet and basic call scripts. After their client’s account is setup, web leads are directed to reps who contact them within minutes to answer basic questions, qualify and get them to the next stage of the sales process whether that is a product demo, a trial or a quote.
- Freyya (UofU) – Freyya has developed a patent-pending, force-measuring speculum, called the Forspec, that clinicians can use to quantify pelvic muscle force. They believe that the Forspec will make pelvic muscle force measurements simple and inexpensive so that it will become a routine measurement during appointments with an OB/GYN, much like blood pressure or weight.
- Grip’n’Strip (SLCC) – Grip ‘n’ Strip is a company that will produce water bottle sleeves that will declutter your pockets with a click-and-go feature that also protects your bottle from damage. Their mission is to provide high-quality products that help extend the life of your bottle and carry all of your essential items that leaves you hands-free.
- Guardian (BYU) – Guardian is a seed-stage company committed to improving the quality of life and financial wellbeing of individuals with diminished capacity by fostering greater efficiency and transparency in court-appointed fiduciary relationships.
- Insufflex (Weber) – The mission at InsuffleX is to supply customers with the ability to rapidly deploy an insufflation device that uses ambient air, ability to use multiple power sources and is portable to the global market to improve the surgical outcomes of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people.
- Lystant (UofU) – Lystant is a platform that connects people with saleable items (owners) to local freelance sellers (sellers). When an owner posts their item on Lystant, sellers optionally pick up the items listed for sale, post the item on multiple marketing channels, find buyers, and complete the transaction. Sellers take a small commission of the items they sell and Owners get paid for their items without the hassle of selling it themselves.
- NALZA (UofU) – NALZA is a contemporary sports apparel and equipment brand with a mission to revolutionize and capture the market presence of the fastest, toughest, and most artistic sports on ice. Founded in September of 2017 on the principles of quality and attention to detail, this brand was started after realizing that there was a gap that needed to be bridged between the competitive nature of speed skating and the culture that has been created within it. NALZA is dedicated to the production and cultivation of premium handcrafted skating gear that combines functionality, durability, and premium design.
- PreOv (UofU) – PreOv (PreOv) is a healthcare technology startup that empowers women throughout their reproductive journey. Women deserve a reliable and effective resource to optimize family planning. Whether it’s tracking ovulation to avoid pregnancy or identifying the time when conception is most likely, the PreOv device puts women in
charge of their fertility without hormones or other treatments.
- Quantum Snow (UofU) – The mission of Quantum Snow is to provide something that powder-hungry skiers have only dreamed about until now: fresh snow, nearly every morning, with the quality and feel of Utah’s legendary natural powder. They have developed a way to cultivate artificial snow with the same consistency and crystalline structure as the natural powder that Utah is famous for. The final product, currently known as the SnowCloud, will use this process to distribute exceptionally light and dry powder on the slopes.
- Salt Table (Westminster) – The Salt Table aims to serve all food-related businesses, especially the mobile-food segment by becoming a “one-source stop” for small business owners. In addition to the cooking and food-storage space, they plan to offer safe parking options, basic mechanical maintenance services, business guidance services (i.e., accounting, marketing and operations), resale of essential ingredients, special pricing from local food suppliers and partnerships with food truck providers to help potential new business owners.
- SHERO (UofU) – SHERO’s goal is to provide women around the globe with menstrual pads that are biodegradable, safe and comfortable. Destigmatizing the menstrual period and increasing access to feminine hygiene have become part of the global effort to empower and equalize women. With its innovative new menstrual pad, SHERO is well-positioned to capitalize on these trends and capture share in the $35 billion global feminine hygiene market.
- SmartBeat (USU) – Smartbeat is a video baby monitor that uses non-contact biometrics to detect breathing with no cords, wires or wearables. The application shows a real-time feed of the baby, real-time breathing statistics and historical information.
- Thrive Smart Systems (BYU) – Thrive is an innovative technology company that works in the irrigation sector to improve residential and commercial sprinkling systems. Their mission is to profitably deliver a completely wireless sprinkling system that is reliable, environmentally friendly and affordable.
- True Adherence (BYU) – True Adherence is a biomechanics training company that leverages infrared cameras and computer vision-based artificial intelligence to provide a real-time, data-driven fitness experience. Their initial application teaches best practices in resistance training and gives users real-time feedback on their movements to increase the safety and efficacy of muscle development.
- Turbo Wills (BYU) – Turbo Wills is a limited liability company that provides “do-it-yourself” estate-plan services.
About the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute
The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute is a nationally ranked hub for student entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Utah and an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business. The first programs were offered in 2001, through the vision and support of Pierre Lassonde, an alumnus of the Eccles School and successful mining entrepreneur. The institute now provides opportunities for thousands of students to learn about entrepreneurship and innovation. Programs include workshops, networking events, business-plan competitions, startup support, innovation programs, graduate seminars, scholarships, community outreach and more. All programs are open to students from any academic major or background. The Lassonde Institute also manages Lassonde Studios, a new five-story innovation space and housing facility for all students. Learn more at lassonde.utah.edu.