Zaymo, a drag-and-drop, email-design tool that enables users to embed interactive web apps in an email, won the $30,000 Simon Gibson Grand Prize and first place in the 2023 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge today at the University of Utah campus.
The statewide business-model competition is managed by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, and sponsored by Zions Bank. The final event featured the best collegiate entrepreneurs in Utah competing for more than $70,000 in cash and prizes.
The Zamyo team expects to use the prize money to continue growing their company and improve how businesses communicate with their customers.
“Zaymo enables e-commerce stores to send shoppable emails where consumers can actually shop and buy in the email,” said Brice Douglas, a co-founder of Zaymo, a team from Brigham Young University.
“We really want to make this a way to change the way that brands communicate with their customers,” Douglas said. “We think that making email, SMS and other methods of communication much more clear and direct and interactive will make communication a much more pleasant experience for customers and marketers.”
Other top winners at the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge final event included: MindSmith, a team from Brigham Young University that won second place and $10,000; and Pure Solutions, a team from the University of Utah that won with third place $7,500. Find a complete listing of prizes and descriptions of all the finalist teams below.
Zions Bank is a long-time sponsor of the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. Bank president and CEO Scott Anderson attended the final event to help celebrate all the finalists and award the prizes.
“We partnered with the University of Utah and the Lassonde Institute to try to create a spirit of entrepreneurship among college students and encourage them to come up with their ideas, start businesses, and then go out and create new industries, new businesses, new jobs to build the economy, and build their wealth, and hopefully, they will then come back and sponsor and contribute to the program,” Anderson said.
Over 30 judges with diverse industry expertise judged the student startup teams through multiple rounds of judging. Competing teams impressed judges with their innovative and original ideas. The top-20 teams advanced to the final event, where they pitched their ideas in person at the University of Utah.
Alex Louisot, a student co-chair of the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge, commented on the quality of the teams this year.
“I am continually impressed by my peers, their creativity and their entrepreneurial spirit that will most definitely make a significant impact going forward,” he said. “Congratulations to Zaymo. We’re excited by the potential of every team we saw.”
The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute hosts the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge to help foster student entrepreneurs in Utah.
Anne Bastien, program director at the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, said, “I’m so impressed with the student entrepreneurs across the state. We were excited to host them, and we look forward to seeing them accomplish their milestones.”
UEC Winners 2023
- Simon Gibson Grand Prize Award, $30,000 (award sponsored by Zions Bank) – Zaymo
- Second place, $10,000 (Zions Bank) – MindSmith
- Third place, $7,500 (Zions Bank) – Pure Solutions
- Bootstrap, $2,000 x2 (Actium Partners) – SelMeat and Qwela
- People’s Choice Award Speed Pitch, $2,500 (Zions Bank) – Pure Solutions
- People’s Choice Online Vote, $1,000 (Zions Bank) – Homestead Hands
- Judge Awards (Zions Bank): Hushie ($800); Inxson ($800); Pure Solution ($800); House of Posters ($800); Village Mobile ($800); Minnow ($2,000); Zaymo ($2,000); Swish ($1,500); Photohive ($500); On-V $500; SelMeat ($500); Mentally Real ($1,000); Qwela ($1,000); Beadology ($2,000); Homestead Hands ($1,000)
- Finalist Team Awards $500×20 (Zions Bank) – All the top-20 teams
UEC Finalist Teams 2023
Here are the top 20 teams in the 2023 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. These teams advanced to the final judging and awards event. They are listed in alphabetical order:
- Beadology (Utah Valley University): Beadology is a DIY bead studio located in Provo. This is the place to create a beaded accessory that is unique, personal, and memorable. Beadology hosts workshops, birthday parties, church activity groups, and more. Hundreds of bead options are available and frequently updated, so customers can have a brand-new experience every time you come.
- Budget Buds (Snow College): Budget Buds is a floral rental company. Their mission is to create a fast, easy, and affordable way for people to focus on the moment at hand.
- Homestead Hands (Utah State University): Homestead Hands is an agricultural consulting company dedicated to teaching private landowners how they can successfully produce food on their property and maximize their land through renewable production practices. The company began in 2021 providing in-person consultations, and since then, they have created a consulting membership and a long-term, soil-health software.
- House of Posters (Utah Valley University): The House of Posters designs and sells posters targeted to college students ages 18-24. They believe college students deserve to feel at home in temporary living situations and that walls deserve art. They are selling online, and they are in two retail stores in Utah County. This year, they are opening up a platform for other graphic designers to sell their posters on. They will handle print and fulfillment.
- Hushie (Salt Lake Community College): Hushie is an exclusive and unique product that promises to change the lives of mothers and fathers. Hushie provides sound-proof, blanket baby-carrier covers. They block noise while still being breathable, durable, weather proof and cute.
- Inxson (Southern Utah University): Inxson is an audio entertainment business. They produce audio stories using 3-D sound technologies to create realistic audio representations of the elements in a narration, giving the listener an immersive and engaging experience.
- Mentally Real (Weber State University): Mentally Real provides advocacy and access to solutions for those with mental-health challenges.
- MindSmith (Brigham Young University): MindSmith is a generative, AI microlearning authoring tool and learning management system.
- Minnow (Utah Valley University): Minnow is an e-commerce analytics platform designed to help small businesses and solo entrepreneurs better manage their business. They get the data, provide insights, and encourage customers to take the next steps necessary in growing their business.
- Off the Rack (University of Utah): Off the Rack is a brand that cultivates a community for young creative entrepreneurs. The company does this by hosting monthly pop-up events at universities.
- On-V (University of Utah): On-V is designing a nano-camera system that can snap onto dental handpieces. Their mission is to improve customers’ work and leisure lives with better visualization. They will do this by improving ergonomics and reducing neck strain through using Bluetooth imaging during dental procedures. This will allow for long procedures to be done while sitting up straight and looking at a screen instead of being hunched over for a long period of time.
- PhotoHive (Utah State University): PhotoHive is a hub for endurance race photos. Race participants can find their photos among thousands of others in seconds. Race directors can use the site to help them gain traction in the future, and photographers can use it to make some money and get their name out there.
- Pure Solutions (University of Utah): The Pure Solutions Anchor Series is an innovative line of products that enables consumers to easily and comprehensively analyze water samples within seconds. Unlike current testers on the market, their design is reusable, affordable, and accessible, allowing anyone to learn more about the quality of their water. They hope to have a water tester in every home and community so that we can work toward preventing water-borne illnesses around the world.
- Qwela (Salt Lake Community College): Qwela is a subscription-based, smart, scheduled, and subsidized bus system running on a mobile application for daily commuters. In most parts of Africa, Asia, and South America, the majority of the population relies on public transport for their daily commute. Qwela customers schedule their rides in advance and pay once a month. Qwela then partners with a bank that receives all payments and reinvests this money at an agreed interest rate, which creates profits for Qwela.
- Santa Cruz Savory (Utah State University): Santa Cruz Savory is a shoppable ingredients business. Their mission is to get people cooking. They do this by letting foodies easily transfer recipe ingredients to grocery delivery services via their favorite recipe website.
- SelMeat (Snow College): SelMeat Company is a wholesale meat-subscription delivery service that provides high quality, locally produced and processed lamb and beef from their pasture to your doorstep. This company strengthens the ranching industry as well as building strong relationships with local communities.
- Swish (Brigham Young University): Swish provides pickleball tournament-management software.
- The CR3W Museum (Southern Utah University): The CR3W Museum gives artists the opportunity to showcase their work to a global audience. With their innovative 3D technology, artists can create virtual galleries, upload their pieces, and provide information about their art and themselves. Their virtual museum offers an immersive experience that allows viewers to explore and connect with the art in a way that is not possible in a physical gallery.
- Village Mobile-Based Rehabilitation Program (Weber State University): The Village Mobile-Based Rehabilitation Program is leveraging technology to improve development of children with disabilities.
- Zaymo (Brigham Young University): Zaymo is a drag-and-drop, email-design tool that enables users to embed interactive web apps in an email. By reducing friction for calls-to-action, Zaymo clients can see up a three-times increase in response rates. Zaymo primarily works with Shopify stores to increase engagement and purchases from customers.
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 five-story innovation space and housing facility for all students. Learn more at lassonde.utah.edu.