By: Dale King Contributing Writer
Entrepreneurial competition based on television’s “Shark Tank” has caught on at a couple of Boca Raton institutions dealing with students looking to succeed in business.
The Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce conducted two “pitch” contests during its 2017-2018 Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA). Top contenders won money and the top-notch finisher went on to regional competition.
Lock It Plates, a product created as a more convenient way to transport food, won first place and $12,000 in prize money at this year’s Florida Atlantic University Business Plan Competition.
And finally, late in the school year, FAU’s Tech Runway hosted its 2018 Launch Competition and Demo Day. The annual event provides promising startups and talented entrepreneurs an opportunity to join a year-long program bringing competition winners “best-in-class” instruction, mentoring, resources, networking and assistance in raising capital, among other things.
The 21 winners in “Venture Class 6,” the winning entrant, were announced during the awards ceremony, with the top seven finishers each receiving a $15,000 check, totaling $105,000 in cash investments.
Winners came from the community, faculty and student body. The seven cash investment award winners were:
- Contiguity Spatial Solutions – provides customized solutions to businesses in the geospatial field by developing tools and applications using the latest technologies.
- Deal Coach Pro — an A.I. SaaS-based software methodology designed to have a radical impact on sales revenue. The SaaS-based application allows for a virtual “war room” where the deal team can collaborate, share content and accelerate great ideas into winning strategies.
- Extreme Comms Lab — works to leverage an innovative method of acoustic communication to create a “Wi-Fi”-like network of aquatic sensors that can quickly exchange information over long distances underwater.
- Interchecks Technologies — provides a payroll marketplace designed for the Gig economy. For payers, it is the only platform that offers Gig worker benefits, free payments and free 1099s. For Gig workers, it is the first frictionless tool to manage finances across payers.
- Rooster — provides software that independently owned service businesses can use for a back-office system to manage their clients, appointments, payments, marketing tools and more. Rooster then turns the information in the system around so clients can use search tools to find and book the best service provider for their needs 24/7.
- Nesvio — is a parent company of TV LAKAY, nesvio Internet, WAHLTV, Holatele, akotele and TeleAfrik, an American subscription-based internet and live streaming cable company.
- Zimit — Developer of a software platform that efficiently manages the configure-price-quote process for specialized services that small and mid-sized companies must source and procure.
“Selecting the seven cash investment award-winners for Venture Class 6 was very challenging for our judges because we had an exceptionally talented pool of entrepreneurs and innovators,” said Rhys L. Williams, associate vice president and managing director of FAU Tech Runway®.
“All 21 of the Launch Competition winners will receive comprehensive support critical to propelling their ventures to new heights.”
Venture Class 6 winners all join a robust community of fellow entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, instructors and top-level support professionals. They will be provided with working space, training and mentoring from nearly 50 MIT program-trained mentors, instructors and staff members, all at no cost.
FAU Tech Runway® is a public-private partnership formed to foster early-stage technology companies, under the purview of FAU’s Division of Research.
In just three years, FAU Tech Runway companies have generated 298 jobs, created 94 internships, employed 53 FAU students, created 139 corporate partnerships, earned more than $23 million in revenue and, as of this month, raised more than $55 million in investment capital.