Field of 10 student entrepreneurs compete in 'Shark Tank' round of InNOLEvation Challenge
The long-awaited Shark Tank round of the InNOLEvation Challenge — one of the nation's largest collegiate business plan competitions — gets under way at 8 a.m. on Friday, April 13, at Florida State University's Turnbull Conference Center, with the final 10 business startups vying for $250,000 in cash and in-kind services. The winning company will be announced at 12:30 p.m.
During this third and final stage of the competition, the 10 competitors, culled from a field of 78 student businesses, will make their pitches for funding to a six-member panel of judges, representing the investment community. The ranking of the teams is based on the judges' willingness to invest in the company. Scores are based on the written business plan, an oral presentation and business viability.
Sponsored by the FSU College of Business and The Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship, the InNOLEvation Challenge kicked off in late October 2011 with a business abstract workshop, followed in January with a business plan development workshop.
Following is each company's mission description and the time of their pitch on Friday:
8:10 a.m. — CalSpark
CalSpark offers users a high-quality productivity application across all customer devices via the web. CalSpark's product is designed to make it easy and convenient to organize day-to-day activities and connect users with events of interest. It also allows users and businesses to promote their events.
8:30 a.m. — Piano Conservatory of Tallahassee
Piano Conservatory of Tallahassee's goal is to provide high-quality preschool, precollege and adult piano instruction to residents of Tallahassee, using the Carnegie Hall Achievement Program Curriculum. The company offers comprehensive music education, including applied lessons, music theory and appreciation classes, and ample opportunities to perform.
8:50 a.m. — CampusZilla.com
CampusZilla.com's mission is to provide free, useful and reliable information tailored to the needs of individuals interested in learning more about the college experience. The company provides advice on selecting the right school, career guidance, and identification of the best housing environment, among other things. Providing the full spectrum of personalized collegiate information for anyone interested is the foundation of CampusZilla.com.
9:10 a.m. — High-Throughput Revolution
This company's mission is to save lives by leading frontier explorations in the drug discovery pipeline. High-Throughput utilizes expert knowledge-driven research to facilitate affordable groundbreaking solutions, innovative products and provide superior services for small and large companies. It is a research and development team based at Florida State University. Its purpose is to modernize the drug discovery paradigm while asserting superior solutions, techniques, and products.
9:30 a.m. — College Cleaners
College Cleaners, LLC is a janitorial company concentrating in the cleaning and sanitation of student homes/apartments, fraternity/sorority homes, and commercial offices, as well as bars, clubs and restaurants. College Cleaners also specializes in the busy college town summer-turn period, during which students moving out are quickly replaced by new student tenants. College Cleaners seeks to fill a market need for cleaning services for both residential and commercial properties.
10:00 a.m. — Wordio
Wordio aims to make the consumption of digital information more efficient. By transforming written content on the web to audio instantly, the company enables its users to listen to their favorite web articles while driving, exercising or relaxing.
10:20 a.m. — Startupism
Startupism has created a startup business simulation game to be sold to universities as class material. Much like simulators used in most business schools, Startupism's game will be based on famous cases so students can compare their decision-making against real-world business leaders. Case material will be written by academics, and Startupism will create the game platform and user interface.
10:40 a.m. — LESS
LESS designs products that allow utility companies to increase efficiency and customer satisfaction and decrease peak load usage. LESS plans to develop three products to achieve this. The first product is designed to change consumer behavior so users shift power consumption to times of lower demand. The second product is an application for utility companies to increase efficiency in the field, and as such, to recover from outages more quickly. The third product is an integrated hardware and software solution that allows consumers to turn key appliances off during peak load times for short time periods.
11:00 a.m. — NP Group (Nanotech Patronas Group)
NP Group is in the damage monitoring and prevention business that uses innovative triboluminescence sensor systems for engineering structures, such as aircrafts, buildings and bridges. The company was founded in 2011 after more than five years of research and development on the triboluminescence sensor systems.
11:20 a.m. — Nutrition Experts (NX)
Nutrition Experts' goal is to create increased access to registered dietitians and medical nutrition therapy services. The company initially plans to launch in the Big Bend area of Florida. It offers flexible and up-to-date services using the Internet and mobile technology. The company intends to align with health care providers and target its services to the insured, families, and children.
This competition was supported by corporate sponsors, including ALCOM, Palo Alto Software, Strategic Media Arts, Viera Williams, P.A. Attorneys at Law, MarketDone, LooksForBooks.com, Notelog.com, PayOut USA, RoomSync, Duncan-Williams Inc., Energent Ventures, Specialissues.com, Creative People Consulting, Honey Tree, The Prescient Consulting Group and VC Mentor.
For more information about the InNOLEVation Challenge, contact Ron Frazier, Entrepreneur-in-Residence in the FSU College of Business and The Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship, at (850) 556-1897 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Barbara Ash of the College of Business at (850) 728-7014 or email@example.com.