Grad Students: Compete with Your Startup

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This semester, Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs will be holding our biannual Investment Competition (TVLIC) online on Friday, December 4. This virtual competition will offer a unique opportunity for UT graduate students to pitch their startup ideas to a panel of investors and entrepreneurs.

Past participants, such as the founders of uShip, BeatBox Beverages and Ordoro to name a few, have gone on to do great things after launching their startups at TVLIC. Many other participants have leveraged their TVLIC experience and feedback from the judges to accelerate their careers outside of entrepreneurship.

Along with the new format, we are rolling out an exciting new suite of prizes including:

  • Grand prize of $15,000 plus in kind services
  • A seat in the newly founded Company-in-Residence program
  • Fast-track startup ecosystem support from our partners

There will also be thousands of dollars in other cash awards, not to mention all the glory of bragging rights! Check out all the prizes. 

Deadline to apply: Nov. 15 at 11:59 PM

Online Application: http://bit.ly/TVLIC_App

Competition date: Dec. 4 (semi-finals begin at 9 AM, finals at 2 PM)

Where: Online via Zoom

The competition is open to any UT graduate student. For questions, please see the Rules and FAQs or contact us at infoTVL@mccombs.utexas.edu.

JBTVL and Plexus Technology Opens Nasdaq Aug. 31

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Nasdaq Tower 2020

Every year, the winner of the Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition has the opportunity to visit the the Nasdaq Stock Market with the JBTVL team. This is the 18th year we will be participating in a bell ceremony and normally we would be in New York City for the event, but this year, we will be in Times Square virtually.

This year’s featured TVLIC winner, Plexus Technology, provides a closed mesh dome for events and crowded locations to provide customers location and messaging capability without cell tower carriers. We are excited to be opening the Nasdaq virtually with Plexus Technology on Monday, August 31.

Watch a recording of it on Nasdaq’s Bell Ceremonies page.  Click on the See More link on that page and scroll down to August 31.

We enjoyed our time on the big screen.

JBTVL Accelerator Info Session on July 7

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July Info Session hero image with dates and registration link

Join us for an introduction to our unique approach and learn how Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs (JBTVL) can help your company reach the next milestone. Pre-Revenue and Post-Revenue companies looking for specific expertise: don’t miss this information session. We will discuss our various programs with a focus on how we engage with early-stage ventures, what the application process looks like, and the results we’ve seen from our alumni companies. We will also provide ample time for Q&A and interaction with the JBTVL team.

Since 2010, JBTVL has worked with both pre-revenue and post-revenue startups from the Texas region to help them by consulting on strategy, planning, competitive and market research projects. These free consulting projects conducted by highly talented UT graduate students have helped over 240 companies solve business problems and accelerate growth to reach the next milestone.

July 7 2020 from 11:30 AM until 12:30 PM
Register for the info session: tvlaccelerator_info.eventbrite.com

Feel free to take a look at our JBTVL Company Application to see what questions you might have about the application process or what will be required, or if you feel ready to apply, go ahead and do so. Either way, we look forward to answering any questions you have about our accelerator or other programs!

Ready to apply now? Application: http://bit.ly/JBTVL_company_app
Deadline to apply: July 12, 2020 at 11:59 PM

More information on JBTVL Accelerator Program: https://www.mccombs.utexas.edu/Centers/Texas-Venture-Labs/Startups

Startups apply by July 12 for JBTVL Accelerator

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The JBTVL Accelerator is a zero cost, zero equity program that collaborates with Texas-based startups who want to work with graduate student consultants for up to 300 hours of high impact business consulting over the course of a 14-week semester. We accept applications from both pre-revenue and post-revenue companies who have a working prototype or product, can clearly define 2-3 projects for students, and are ready to engage with the student team.

We welcome startups from ALL industries! In addition to our MBA, MSTC, and McCombs MS students, many of our graduate students come from science, engineering, and computer science disciplines. Since we are embedded in an academic institution and surrounded by brilliant scientific and technical talent, startups who can leverage technical PhD and Masters students in their project work are always encouraged to apply.

Startups interested in working with our graduate students should apply here by July 12 at 11:59 PM: https://bit.ly/JBTVLAccelerator

Oxymoron Ink Wins TVLIC

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Oxymoron Ink winner of 2020 Spring TVLIC

Oxymoron Ink won first place in the first ever virtual 2020 Spring Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition (TVLIC) on May 8, 2020. Because of COVID-19, the competition was conducted over Zoom.

Millions of people around the world are interested in tattoos, but avoid them because they know they might regret their decision later in life. Oxymoron Ink solves this problem by offering inks that disappear after six months, nine months or one year.  The company manufactures the world’s first semi-permanent tattoo ink. These biodegradable, patent-pending inks were developed at UT Austin by CEO Matthew Miller, a NSF Graduate Research Fellow in Chemical Engineering.competitive with manual processes.

As the first place winner, Oxymoron Ink receives a cash prize of $15,000 and a seat in the Company-in-Residence Program at the McCombs School of Business plus a wealth of services including free three months at Capital Factory, access to the LeanStack.com tools and a personalized coaching session with the creator of the Lean Canvas, Ash Maurya and $10,000 in Amazon Web Services credits.

Release won the $5,000 second place prize plus $3,500 in Amazon Web Services credits. Release is a web and iOS based platform which offers tenants a straightforward and painless alternative to finding sublessees in Austin by taking over the subleasing process from end-to-end.

The third place winner of $2,500 and $1,500 in Amazon Web Services credits was CooMoo Travel. CooMo Travel is an online platform that allows an individual to plan and book their entire trip, from start to finish, while allowing other real users to provide recommendations and suggestions based on their own personal experiences.

The E. Craig Nemec Elevator Challenge Award honoring Craig Nemec, a successful graduate and entrepreneur, gives out three $1,000 awards to the teams with the best three-minute elevator pitches.  This year’s winners were Good Apple, Empire Learning and Oxymoron Ink.

The James D. Pippin Veteran Award awards $1,000 to a team with one or more U.S. military veterans. The award was endowed by the founders of RideScout to honor James D. Pippin, a Retired Command Sergeant Major with the U.S. Army who served with Joseph Kopser. CooMoo Travel was this year’s winner.

Hosted by Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs at the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin, TVLIC is open to all graduate students at any University of Texas System school. TVLIC simulates the real world process of raising venture capital.  In evaluating the student ventures, judges function as an investment group seeking to reach consensus on the business venture they would most likely fund. This spring’s competition featured 24 startup companies.

For more information on the teams selected to compete in the 2020 TVLIC, visit the JBTVL blog announcement or to learn more about JBTVL’s programs visit tvl.utexas.edu.

ABOUT JON BRUMLEY TEXAS VENTURE LABS
Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs (JBTVL) at The University of Texas at Austin is a campus-wide initiative to accelerate both student and community startups. The mission is to help graduate students learn to take their innovations to market and become great entrepreneurs and business leaders. Since 2010, TVL has accelerated over 220 Austin-area startups in a wide range of industries and 43 percent of these companies have gone on to raise total funding in excess of $836 million. Over 716 graduate students from a variety of disciplines have earned experience working with these area startups. In addition, JBTVL has helped launch more than 80 graduate student companies through the Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition (TVLIC).

Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition Schedule of Spring 2020 Competitors

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Semifinals – May 8, 2020

Division I

9:00 AM – Empire Learning
Real estate professionals are required to complete continuing education (CE) in order to renew their license. At Empire Learning, we make CE easy. We are the highest rated online provider in the nation, providing a seamless user experience in 11 states.  John Wheeler, MBA ‘21

9:35 AM -ConsultEd
ConsultEd helps today’s students seamlessly navigate multiple educational systems, into the jobs of tomorrow. ConsultEd’s foundation is built through the use of blockchain to secure student records, machine learning to better inform institutions and policymakers which student pathways are broken, and real-time geographic economic data provided by economist labor reports and investment banking analysts, to shape students major selection. Matthew Parson, MBA ’20

10:10 AM – Find My Fit
A B2B fashion technology plug-in licensed to online retailers that replaces the size guide button by plugging into individual product pages to enable customers to accurately predict their size across any brand using 2 – 3 photos taken on their smartphone. The proprietary technology will analyze the image as data points and marry this information with the fabric composition of the item, the individual’s dimensions/proportions and fit preference to predict size with 90%+ accuracy. Heidi Mackay, MBA ’21; Lindsay Marsh, MBA ‘21

10:45 AM – Actionly
Actionly is a multi-sided platform providing users with small daily actions and connecting them to affiliate products that match the challenges of their daily lifestyle and improve their health and well-being. Clayton Key, MBA ’20

11:20 AM – BarTab
BarTab is a mobile payments platform that vastly improves the bar experience for customers, bars and bartenders by streamlining the drink ordering and tab management process. Users are provided with demographic data and friends’ locations via the platform in order to facilitate social experiences. BarTab also provides real-time analytic data to bars in order to improve decision-making related to pricing and forecasting. Jessica Stenglein, Law ’20; Abby Chua, MS Computer Science ’20; Colin Morris, MBA ’21; Tommy Fang, MBA ‘21

11:55 AM – Nudge Analytics
For K-12 school districts who are facing budget issues caused by low student attendance, Nudge Analytics provides a plug and play solution to reduce truancy. Our platform will use machine learning to identify at-risk students and research-driven messaging to get them back in the classroom. Sam Hogan, MBA ’21; Chuk Orakwue, MBA ‘21

Division II

9:00 AM – iTree
iTree is a shading solution, re-imagining solar power in a beautiful form. It replicates the ecological value of a tree, estimating it will qualify for 1,450 metric tons of C02 credits, addresses instances where urban development limits space for a tree, offers water conservation with a vertical growing bio-skin. The bio-solution is a low maintenance alternative for landscaping, making it an attractive alternative to a tree. Rudy Dunbar, MSTC ‘20; Kailey Euceda, MSTC ‘20; Ashley Duffins, MSTC ‘20; Atif Syed, MSTC ‘20; Christian Quinones, MSTC ‘20

9:35 AM – CooMo Travel
CooMo Travel is an online platform that allows the individual to plan and book their entire trip, from start to finish, while allowing other real users to provide recommendations and suggestions based on their own personal experience. In addition, those that plan their trip through the platform will have the ability to see other travelers that will be traveling to the same cities at the same time, allowing people to potentially meet in real life! Tyler Moyer, MSTC ‘20

10:10 AM – KNX
Everyone has looked at business networking from one way only. As a result, existing social business networking gives a false sense of big network and results in superficial, transactional and inauthentic connections. The KNX APP fosters unprecedented and revolutionary ways of business networking. The job search starts with identifying the best smart matches by location, interest and hobbies to meet on a golf course, yoga class, tennis, at the park while walking the dogs etc. Larisa Olteanu, MBA ‘21

10:45 AM – Talent.ai
For enterprises struggling to monitor and give feedback to their remote employees, Talent.ai offers a HR transformation tool that integrates with their primary modes of communication. It then analyzes the mix of written and video communication to provide development plans for the employees and valuable HR information for the managers. It uses AI deep learning techniques, NLP and Vocal/Facial Analysis. Sean Stallings, MBA ‘21

11:20 AM – StyleTravels
StyleTravels is an AI based technology platform that services customers who need help in planning their style choices during their travels such as outfits to wear, accessories to match including shoes so that customers can enjoy their vacation with less hassle and focus more on doing things they love. Sneha Vyas, MBA ’20

11:55 AM – Tripology
Tripology is a field trip marketplace that exists to empower educational institutions. We are an online platform for field trip providers and field trip planners to market, find, and book and manage educational field trips. Nicole Pennington, MSTC ’20; Robin Reynolds, MSTC ’20; Scott Wentworth, MSTC ’20; Nathan Pena, MSTC ‘20

Division III

9:00 AM – StrongPeople
StrongPeople is a health company. We enhance our customers’ health by consistently delivering a quality gym experience.  John Schenck, MSTC ‘20

9:35 AM – Functional Furniture
Functional Furniture is the home gym designed for your living room. Existing solutions on the market are either unwieldy or impractical for an apartment or are poorly made, unsightly and not versatile. During the era of COVID-19, a new use case emerged – the need for a simple and effective bodyweight-focused home gym to supplement existing exercise activities and enable home training for sport-specific needs. Alexander Darvishian, MBA ‘21

10:10 AM – Helios
Helios makes and sells modern Greek sandals. We redesign timeless Greek styles with modern synthetic materials, creating the first sandal on the market to bridge classic design with modern comfort and functionality. Stuart Smith, MBA ‘21

10:45 AM – Zeus Wild
Our company is developing a solar powered camping tent made from fabric that charges and stores energy during the day to provide self-powered lighting at night. Carlos Colon-Vonarx, MBA ’20; Gokhan Koyuncu, MBA ’20

11:20 AM – Oxymoron Ink
Oxymoron Ink manufactures the world’s first semi-permanent tattoo ink. Millions of people around the world are interested in tattoos, but avoid them because they know they might regret their decision later in life. We solve this problem by offering inks that disappear after 6 months, 9 months or 1 year. These inks are made possible using intellectual property developed at UT Austin. Matthew Miller, Chemical Engineering PhD ‘20

11:55 AM – bruxAway
bruxAway is developing a smart wearable night guard to disrupt the over $10B market of bruxism (unconscious teeth grinding) disorder. One in 5 people suffer from bruxism disorder, but over 80% of people are undiagnosed. We’re solving this through our smart wearable night guard, a custom solution medical-grade night guard designed to protect your teeth and significantly reduce bruxism. It connects to your smartphone and provides analysis of your nightly bruxism behavior and sleeping patterns through an intuitively built app. Sarnab Bhattacharya, Electrical and Computer Engineering PhD ‘22

Division IV

9:00 AM – Allmost Home
Allmost Home is an amenity grocery brand on a mission to empower healthier urban living by making food options more accessible within apartment communities. We build small-footprint, in-building mini-markets which provide personalized grocery selections to building residents at competitive margins, while bringing in additional revenue through partnerships with rental operators. James Wright, MBA ‘21

9:35 AM – Good Apple
Good Apple is an Austin-based produce delivery service on a mission to end food insecurity. We partner with local farmers to rescue produce that would otherwise go unsold. We then operate a 100% locally sourced, organic produce delivery service for paying customers. For every produce box sold, we deliver another box directly to a family in need. Zack Timmons, MD ’21; Alex Wright, MBA /MD ‘21

10:10 AM – Bundle of Joy
At Bundle of Joy, we assist parents by providing more convenient and safe options for taking care of their children while on the go. We do this through a combination of subscription services to the home and daycare as well as conveniently placed vending machines. For those parents who are challenged with the expenses of raising a child, we will donate one diaper for every Bundle of Joy kit sold back to the community. Hiroki Mochizuki, MBA ’21; Tyrone Smith, MBA ’21

10:45 AM – Geo Homes
Geo Homes offers a flexible solution to evolving residential needs. Capitalizing on the runaway popularity of detached Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs, otherwise known as granny flats or mother-in-law units), Geo Homes differentiates by offering semi-permanent, ADUs-on-demand. Geo Homes ADUs can be quickly installed, easily removed, continually reused and eliminate permanent alteration to your property. Paul Peterson, MBA ’21; Jonathan Ruud, MBA ’21; Joshua Goodman, MBA ’21; Rahul Sekhar, MBA ‘21

11:20AM – Lost Aisle
Lost Aisle delivers the service and product selection of an upscale corner store in a mobile form factor brought directly to your home. Lost Aisle will offer produce from local farms and pre-made meals from local restaurants. We don’t just deliver your order, we deliver the entire store! Customers can order the Lost Aisle truck to their home as if it were an Uber or schedule a weekly stop to restock the pantry. Destin Douglas, MBA / MS Computer Science ‘21

11:55 AM – Release
University students must often sign 12-month lease contracts, even though the academic year is much shorter. As a result, students are often left on the hook to either find a new tenant for themselves or unnecessarily waste money on a vacant apartment when the academic year ends. Release, a web and iOS based platform, offers tenants a straightforward and painless alternative to finding sublessees in Austin by taking over the subleasing process from end-to-end. Justin Malone, MBA ’21; Christian Hundt, MBA ’20; Elmer Melendez, MS Computer Science ’20

TVLIC Info Session on April 23

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Join JBTVL virtually on Thursday, April 23 from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm, where we’ll be discussing our upcoming virtual pitch competition, the Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition.

This session will cover how to apply, what the virtual format is going to look like, and some best practices for pitching virtually. We’ll also share some tips on how to think about and present your investment opportunity in the context of this competition. Please join us for some Q&A and insights on putting your best foot forward!

You can find out more about the competition by taking a look at our TVLIC application, Rules, and FAQs. If you have a chance to review those beforehand, you can come prepared to ask any questions that might come up for you.

Check it out at https://utexas.zoom.us/j/97918105952

TVLIC Going Online for May 8 Competition

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2019 Fall TVLIC winners

This semester, Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs will be holding our biannual Investment Competition (TVLIC) online. This virtual competition will offer a unique opportunity for graduate students from any UT System school to pitch their startup ideas to a panel of investors and entrepreneurs.

Past participants, such as the founders of uShip, BeatBox Beverages and Ordoro to name a few, have gone on to do great things after launching their startups at TVLIC. Many other participants have leveraged their TVLIC experience and feedback from the judges to accelerate their careers outside of entrepreneurship.

Along with the new format, we are rolling out an exciting new suite of prizes including:

  • Grand prize of $15,000
  • A seat in the newly founded Company-in-Residence program
  • Free three month membership at Capital Factory
  • Access to the LeanStack.com tools and a personalized coaching session with the creator of the Lean Canvas, Ash Maurya
  • $10,000 Amazon Web Services credits

One finalist will be selected for six months free mentoring through Austin Technology Incubator. One finalist will receive a “Golden Ticket” entry to SEAL summer program. There will also be thousands of dollars in other cash awards, not to mention all the glory of bragging rights!  Don’t pass up this amazing opportunity… Apply for TVLIC today!

Deadline to apply: April 27 at 11:59 PM    Online Application: http://bit.ly/TVLIC_App

Competition date: May 8 (semi-finals begin at 9 AM, finals at 2 PM)

Where: Online via Zoom.

The public is welcome to watch these aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their ventures. The full presentation schedule will be sent with the Zoom link before May 8. RSVP at bit.ly/TVLIC_Spring2020 to receive the Zoom link.

You must have a Zoom account to participate in Zoom meetings at UT if you don’t have a UT email address.  Fortunately, it is free and easy to set up. Just go to https://zoom.us/download to download the application.   You will need to set up a user name and password.

Check out the Rules and FAQs. Contact us at infoTVL@mccombs.utexas.edu with any questions.

JBTVL in 2019: Year in Review

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New Year 2020 Hero Img

JBTVL in 2019: Year in Review

As we wrap up 2019, marking our 35th year of supporting entrepreneurship at the University of Texas at Austin and beyond, we take a look back and reflect on how JBTVL made a positive impact with the help of all our stakeholders.

JBTVL Investment Competition

Our flagship event, the Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition (TVLIC), is held towards the end of each Spring and Fall semester. We get hundreds of applications from UT Austin graduate students that want to pitch their startup ideas and compete for cash prizes and the chance to go to New York and participate in a Nasdaq bell ceremony.

In 2019, TVLIC selected 47 companies from the many high-quality applications we received for our Spring and Fall competitions. For the 10 student startups that made it to the finals from both events combined, we gave out over $58,000 in prizes!

Mark your calendars for the next TVLIC, which is scheduled for Friday, May 8, 2020.

JBTVL Practicum

One of the main ways we support entrepreneurship is by working with graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin in our JBTVL Practicum class. This multi-disciplinary class gives select graduate students from all across campus a behind-the-scenes view of how startups build their businesses. By matching the student teams with companies from our JBTVL Accelerator, the students get hands-on experience by providing consulting and market research to help accelerate growth.

Looking at both the Spring and Fall semesters in 2019, we had 148 applicants and accepted 95 into the class. Those students contributed hundreds of hours of hard work to our accelerator companies, conducting semester-long projects to give a deeper understanding of industry and market dynamics, target customer profiles, financial modeling, marketing strategy, and much more. From all that hard work, we can point to millions in fundraising done by our alumni companies since leaving those cohorts and many students that have gone into their careers with a richer understanding of working with a new venture.

Our Spring 2020 class is shaping up to be another amazing group and we can’t wait to get started in January. We will also begin recruiting for the fall semester starting in February.

JBTVL Accelerator

We recruit early stage ventures from all across the Texas startup ecosystem to participate in our equity-free, no-cost accelerator program. These companies get hundreds of hours of research and consulting from UT Austin’s best and brightest graduate students who apply for our Texas Venture Labs Practicum.

The 2019 Spring cohort of the JBTVL Accelerator was comprised of 14 amazing companies ranging from aerospace manufacturing robotics, AI-enabled drones, and 3-dimensional data visualization to safety eyeware innovation and a Latin food company. Many of those companies have gone on to raise more funding from grants and investors.

Our 2019 Fall cohort saw 12 companies take strides towards their next major milestones. This group included tasty innovations in the health-food market, promising new methods for delivering supplements, advanced methane detection, a wearable device for cattle health, groundbreaking energy storage technology, and advanced AI for sensor data in manufacturing, along with other fantastic up-and-coming companies.

Stay tuned for details about our upcoming cohort and the projects that JBTVL will be helping them with starting in January.

JBTVL Venture Expo

Both nights of the JBTVL Venture Expo, our biannual celebration of early-stage startups, were full of world-changing potential. A total of 59 companies from across the UT startup ecosystem participated. These startups, including 26 from our Spring and Fall accelerator cohorts and 23 from the ranks of our accelerator alumni, came together to show off their progress, find new partners, attract talent and connect with investors. We had hundreds in attendance and many meaningful connections were made.

Our next Venture Expo is tentatively set for April 23, 2020.

Well…that’s a wrap on 2019 and another successful decade. Have a wonderful and prosperous new year!

Stay connected with JBTVL in 2020 by subscribing to our newsletter or following us on social media!

2019 Fall TVLIC Winners Announced

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Plexus Technology earned first place and the $10,000 award in JBTVL’s Fall 2019 Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition (TVLIC) on December 6, 2019. As Texas Champion, Plexus Technology also won the priceless opportunity to close the Nasdaq in New York City and advising from the Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs staff.

Plexus Technology provides a closed mesh dome for events and crowded locations to provide customers and administrators location and messaging capability without cell tower carriers. Their communication and location services platform is reliable in limited cell environments. The company’s CTO is Casey Roberts, McCombs MBA ‘20.

The other four finalists included HiPR Innovation in second place receiving $5,000. Prolonged contact and pressure caused by sitting on a wheelchair leaves patients at high risk to develop pressure ulcers. To solve this, HiPR is developing the first reactive, smart wheelchair cushion that can dynamically alleviate high pressure and prevent pressure ulcers.

2WayLive placed third receiving $4,000. 2WayLive is an interactive tele-education platform aiming to connect good teachers with students around the world. Using two-way high definition audio/video, real-time chat and synchronous assessment, a teacher can reach, teach, assess and interact with students sitting in several remote classrooms.

Functional Furniture placed fourth receiving $3,000. Functional Furniture enables active living by designing and producing ready-to-assemble furniture that serves the intended household use case while also acting as exercise equipment, promoting functional movement and therapeutic benefits.

CooMo Travel placed fifth receiving $2,000. CooMo Travel is an online platform which allows the individual to plan and book their entire trip, from start to finish, while allowing other real users to provide recommendations and suggestions based on their own personal experience. Those that plan their trip through the platform will have the ability to see other travelers that will be traveling to the same cities at the same time.

In addition to awarding the top five teams, Slick Sigma received the James D. Pippin Veteran Award of $1,000 given to the most promising startup in TVLIC with one or more veteran co-founders.  L’MO is a platform that connects retail merchants to crowdsourced delivery options for next day delivery of household goods to end users, homes or businesses. The solution involves ordinary shoppers and the infrastructure currently available through Uber and Lyft style drivers to perform the deliveries to provide a low cost opportunity for local retailers to compete in ecommerce.

The E. Craig Nemec Elevator Challenge Award is given to the best elevator pitches delivered by TVLIC competitors in honor of E. Craig Nemec, a successful McCombs alum. Our three winners this semester were HiPR Innovation, Legacy Project Studios and Plexus Technology. Each team will receive $1,000.