The Utah Entrepreneur Challenge (UEC), the state’s largest collegiate entrepreneur competition, announced the top 20 teams for 2019 today. Hundreds of students from colleges across the state entered the business-model competition. The teams are competing for over $100,000 in cash and prizes, including a $40,000 grand prize. The winners will be determined at a final judging and awards event on March 30.
The competition is managed by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, a nationally ranked division of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, and sponsored by Zions Bank.
The top 20 startups in the 2019 competition come from colleges all over the state. The list includes teams from the University of Utah (7 teams), Brigham Young University (4), Utah State University (2), Weber State University (1), Snow College (1), Dixie State University (1), Salt Lake Community College (1), Utah Valley University (1), Westminster College (1) and Southern Utah University (1).
“This year’s Utah Entrepreneur Challenge is not going to be like any other,” said Parker Andreise, the student competition chair. “Our total submission number from students throughout the state stands as one of the highest in competition history. Pairing this with our focused judging rounds, we are in for a treat come competition day as our finalists are going to be stronger than ever. The wide spread in ideas is refreshing. I am excited to see what team takes the cake!”
The top teams are competing with ideas ranging from innovative medical devices and technologies to new transportation apps to virtual reality platforms. (Find a complete list of the finalists with descriptions of their ideas below.) The next step will be online video voting, which is open to the public from March 14 until March 29. Vote online here. The top teams also advance to the final event, where they will meet for the last judging round and a public showcase and awards ceremony on March 30 at Lassonde Studios at the University of Utah. All are invited to the public showcase and awards ceremony at 4-6 p.m.
“The teams competing continue to improve every year and showcases what student entrepreneurs in Utah have to offer,” said Anne Bastien, director of programs at the Lassonde Institute. “We are seeing everything from medical devices and fitness applications to apparel and SaaS companies. This year, we have seen a high level of engagement and preparation from all of the teams around the state. All top 20 teams have a chance of making it to market. It should be an exciting experience for all competing and watching on competition day.”
Student startups advanced to the top 20 in the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge by either winning a qualifying event at their individual colleges in the Opportunity Quest competition series or by entering the open round that was judged by professionals across the state through an online process.
The Lassonde Institute also hosts a high school version of this competition called the High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. Those teams are competing for $30,000 in cash and prizes. Learn about that competition at lassonde.utah.edu/hsuec.
Learn more about the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge at lassonde.utah.edu/uec.
[Edit note: This press release was edited on March 22, 2019, to update the list of finalist teams.]
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.
Utah Entrepreneur Challenge 2018-19 Season Timeline
- Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018: Applications open for submission
- Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019: Application submission deadline, midnight
- Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, to Monday, Feb. 22, 2019: Online judging
- Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019: Top 20 announced at noon
- Tuesday, March 12, 2019: Top 20 video submission deadline, midnight
- Thursday, March 14, 2019: Live voting for top 20 videos begins
- Thursday, March 28, 2019: Top 20 PowerPoint submission deadline, midnight
- Friday, March 29, 2019: Video voting ends at midnight
- Saturday, March 30, 2019: Final judging and showcase at the University of Utah
- 8 a.m.-4 p.m.: Pitches and judging at the Spencer Fox Eccles Business Building
- 4-6 p.m.: Public showcase and awards ceremony at Lassonde Studios
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.