Business & Government

Student Entrepreneurs Compete For Cash At Inaugural Aggie Pitch April 20

April 17, 2018



By Kelli Levey Reynolds, Texas A&M University Mays Business School

The public is invited to watch the finals on April 20 for Aggie Pitch, the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship’s inaugural pitch competition in which students from Texas A&M System schools and branch campuses pitch their business concepts.

Registration will start at 9 a.m., and the program will begin at 9:30 a.m. The awards luncheon will begin at noon. RSVP here:

In recent weeks, the participants have gotten a chance to showcase their ideas. In addition to a cash prize pool of $50,000, the winners potentially will be considered for nomination to additional business plan/pitch competitions across the nation.

Finalists invited to the April 20 event will be evaluated and scored by a panel of prestigious entrepreneur/investor judges who volunteer with the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship. The judging panel includes Blake Teipel, Ph.D., a local entrepreneur and former student collaborated with the McFerrin Center in 2015 to win a number of business plan competitions around his company concept, including the Rice Business Plan Competition. The Aggie Pitch award winners will be announced at the luncheon shortly after noon.

The goal of Aggie Pitch is to encourage all Texas A&M students to explore entrepreneurship and learn how to deliver their business concepts in the most compelling fashion.

The judges are:

  • Blake Teipel, Co-founder and president of Essentium Materials LLC, co-founder of TriFusion Devices, and winner of the 2015 Rice Business Plan competition
  • Graham Weston, Entrepreneur at Trout Capital, Ltd., co-founder and past chairman and CEO of Rackspace Hosting, and an Aggie 100 Honoree in 2005, 2006, 2009 & 2011.
  • Molly Cain, Director of the Office of Venture & Innovation at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a contributing leadership & lifestyle writer for Forbes Magazine, and founder of Glass Heel.
  • David Wesson, Founder, President and CEO of GEODynamics and Aggie 100 Company in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2014, & 2015, executive VP- Downhole Technologies for Oil States International, and serves on the Advisory Council for the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship.
  • Jennifer McFerrin-Bohner, Businesswoman, investor, executive director of the McFerrin Foundation and curator of the McFerrin Collection. She sits on numerous boards and committees in an effort to impact the leaders of tomorrow, and to help others achieve their goals.

The McFerrin Center is part of Mays Business School, which consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its programs and for faculty research.

The finalists are:

  • Bezoar Laboratories: This invention tackles every element of our planet’s complex web improving its health by creating a safer, more nutritious protein sources for all. Student team: Ryan Springer, manufacturing and mechanical engineering technologies; and Grace Tsai, nautical archaeology
  • Botryonyx LLC: A company on a mission to build integrated systems for carbon capture, water treatment, and algal biomass production, to enable power plants and chemical refineries to create value from carbon emissions. Student team: Daniel Browne, biochemistry
  • Christopher Robotics, LLC: Founded with the idea of adding medical sensing capabilities into your home to better monitor the health and safety of your family. Student team (From Texas A&M – Corpus Christi): Jared Stowell and Hailey Chapman, both of computer science
  • Exosphere Performance: Strives to make fitness more accessible, so we can help make this world a healthier place. Student team: Connor Pogue, MS in business
  • Levitation Transport Technologies: Creating a levitation technology in the world capable of hovering at millimetric heights without the use of a special surface. Student team: Dean Ellis, Ph.D. in aerospace engineering, and McCalley Cunningham, animal science.
  • Lifeletics: Provide career-oriented workshops and access to a local mentor network for collegiate athletes. Student team: Justin Dunning, university studies, business; Diego Contreras, business; Jasmin Cho, computer science; Christian Bohren, management information systems; Harrison Richter, history; and Daniel Garza, biomedical science
  • Ntwrk: Deliver networking solutions to professionals by using online interaction to solicit face-to-face conversations. Student team: Bill Newman, computer engineering; Hayley Eckert, computer engineering; and Michayal Mathew, aerospace engineering
  • SafeSpace Metal Detector: Delivers an innovative take on metal detection by providing businesses with a device that contours to any entrance. Student team: Danial Kordi, MS in financial econometrics
  • Swing Sleeve: A golf swing aid that provides both analysis and feedback of a player’s swing. Student team: Andres Crucetta Nieto, Michael Batsell, Ian Cash, Mozheng Hu, and Sara Van Kalker – all mechanical engineering
  •, seeks to build a digital learning management system classroom curriculum. Student Team: Jessica Skrobarczyk- M.Ed. in curriculum development and instruction; Ram Panda, biomedical engineering; Nathan Tupa, finance; and Anthony Vazhapilly, aerospace engineering

For more information, go to


This story by Kelli Levey Reynolds originally appeared in Mays Impacts.

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