Saturday, April 9th was a big day for start-ups at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville.
Eight teams made their seven-minute pitches in the finals for their shot at over $20,000 in prize money and a big step towards launching their ideas. The day culminated with famous Shark Tank entrepreneur Daymond John taking the stage to speak to the start-up minded students at TTU and announcing the winners.
Tennessee Tech, LaunchTN and the Biz Foundry formed a trifecta partnership months ago that culminated in the third Eagle Works competition and its grand finale.
The more than 250 people in attendance got to see the best of more than 40 teams that were whittled down to 15 coming into the preliminary judging round on Saturday morning with the top eight taking the stage at 10 a.m. They were phenomenal.
Michael Aikens, Director of Student Innovation & Entrepreneurship at TTU, beamed with pride as he said, “These teams and their ideas keep getting better. They were outstanding! I just can’t wait for next year.”
Gigamunch, proclaiming themselves the “Etsy for food”, took 1st place and $8,000 in prize money.
VIPid, a team setting out to “change the exchange” of business cards, took 2nd place and $6,000 to help launch their idea.
Spotted, an app for spotting parking places, crossed the line at 3rd and received $4,000 for their efforts.
Fourth place went to AM Optics, “custom 3D printed glasses for the masses” at your optometrist’s office. They took home $2,000 to help build their system.
The Biz Foundry pitched in with mentors, training, pitch advice and help with running the event. President Jeff Brown says, “I think Michael and I were high-fiving more than the teams. This is what we live for.” Brown also mentioned that they are already working with three of the teams to help them launch the companies in the coming year.
Departments from across TTU schools pitched-in with assistance ranging from funding to technical expertise and really made this year interdisciplinary.
Deans Thomas Payne from the School of Business and Joe Rencis from the School of Engineering spoke at the event and both stressed the importance of more interdisciplinary events like Eagle Works.
Additional winners were: Ascension Engineering for Greatest Social Impact, Real Whirled Dynamics for Best Technology, and Gigamunch got to double dip with the Crowd Favorite award.
Congratulations to all!