Baltimore-based nightlife app Happinin wins UT’s Pitch & PourWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
A record turnout of more than 300 people witnessed the presentations of six teams competing to win the third Pitch & Pour business competition at the University of Toledo on Oct. 9.
Happinin, the only team from outside the Toledo area, won the competition, which the judges reported was a difficult decision after all six teams made impressive presentations. The winner was chosen based on their business ideas as much as their presentations, the judges said.
Happinin is based in Baltimore and its team was in Toledo for another meeting so it decided to compete in the Pitch and Pour event at UT, according to team member Tyler Kelly. The team won $2,500 in cash and another $4,000 in services and office space in UT’s LaunchPad Incubator.
Happinin is developing a mobile app platform to help young adults plan and design their perfect night out. The 24-hour, seven-day social program offers real-time user-generated video clips that provide complete visual transparency of what is actually happening in any specific location.
Happinin’s app offers increased social interaction for users where they can add their own locations and search by interest on a video aggravation platform. It means people can make a better decision on where they spend their free time, Kelly said.
He said the team is currently looking for investments to fund further development of the app and market it directly to consumers.
The runner-up award in the competition was given to Daily Fantasy Cricket (DFC), a team led by Jeff Green, which won $1,500. DFC was launched in summer 2013 and already is among the top 1 percent of visited websites around the world.
Green said the team is looking to add additional development capabilities as well as a targeted marketing campaign that could include standing outside cricket stadiums to sign people up for it. Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world.
T & E Designs is led by two physical therapy students at UT, Eric Olson and Tony Boyle, who made the most entertaining presentation of the six teams. They want to create prosthetic joint models for training uses in medical teaching institutions across the country.
The team is looking for engineers to help develop this technology and investors to fund the startup business. They have set a goal to have fully-developed prototype products by Oct. 25.
The three other teams in the Pitch and Pour competition — Grocery Heroes, Petrichor, and StatSims — had a common denominator of being coached and advised by Rocket Ventures, according to Bob Savage, CEO of the venture capital firm that was one of the major sponsors of the Pitch and Pour event.
Grocery Heroes wants to provide a turnkey, online grocery shopping service for independent grocers to meet the demand for that growing trend. They will provide shared turnkey platform to help grocers connect with consumers, thus removing the cost and technology barrier for the retailers, Andrew Urban said.
Urban and Phil Baskey said they already have some local clients who use the service in their supermarkets, including Walt Churchill and Mike Bassett.
Petrichor, the only team with its own cheering section in attendance, is the creator of Cycle, an automations platform that enables organizations to quickly develop websites and applications that can be scaled for millions of customers around the globe, according to Jake Warner.
The team reported that they are already connected to global servers on all continents and plan an official launch date on Jan. 5, 2015. Cycle is infinitely scalable and always up-to-date with a turnkey operation for customers to use and it saves businesses money, the team said. They are seeking to raise $176,000 to develop and market the service.
StatSims has developed sports software for an NFL football prediction system that would appeal to 187 million football fans, 148 million social game players, and 120 million sports bettors. They are currently marketing it directly to customers on social web sites.
Steve Olson of StatSims said the team is raising 100,000 to sustain the program during the 2014 season, and possibly need as much as $600 million for the NFL’s 2015 season.
The judges for the Pitch & Pour event included Jason Bacher and Brian Buirge, both described as designers, educators and entrepreneurs. Bacher is co-found of GFDA and Buirge is adjunct professor at Kent State University. The other judges were Bradley Hoos, head of Community Partnerships and Co-Founder at Grand Circus in Detroit, Richard Schulman, well-known consultant who helped shape many of top software products on the market, and developer of his Skribl app.
Kristin Kiser is senior director of Digital Strategy for Communica, Inc. an international marketing company in Toledo. She is a founding partner of Avatar, LLC, a local software and digital products company and owner of local independent coffee shop, Black Kite Coffee.
Nagi Naganathan, interim president of UT, and Steven LeBlanc, interim dean for the College of Engineering, attended the Pitch & Pour event along with Lawrence Burns, vice president for external affairs.
The third Pitch & Pour event was held at the Tom and Elizabeth Brady Innovation Center located inside the Nitschke Technology Commercialization Center on UT’s College of Engineering campus.
(Caption for photo of winning team)
The winning team of Happinin includes from left, Mike Cianos, Kyle Eddins, and Tyler Kelly at the 3rd Pitch & Pour competition at UT. Toledo Free Press photo by Duane Ramsey)