Aggie PITCH Awards McFerrin Cup And More Than $38,000
The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship hosted its fifth annual Aggie PITCH Wednesday evening, awarding more than $38,000 to Aggie-led startups. Open to both current and former students, Aggie PITCH is the only university-wide business plan pitch competition at Texas A&M and seeks to identify the best Aggie business pitches from across industries and sectors.
For the 2023 event, a total of 21 startups were selected to compete for the coveted McFerrin Cup and a share of more than $35,000 in prize money, although a statistical tie led to an additional $3,500 being awarded. Split into three divisions — two separate Full Pitch competitions for current and former students, and one Elevator Pitch contest, open to both — the event gives startup founders the opportunity to pitch their business in a fast-paced, high-energy format to a panel of anonymous judges and an audience of students, professionals, mentors, possible investors and fellow Aggie entrepreneurs.
In the Full Pitch divisions, 11 teams were each given 10 minutes for their pitch, while Elevator Pitch competitors were given a one-minute allotment. The anonymous panel of judges selected the winners of the Full Pitch divisions, and audience members were invited to cast their votes in the Elevator Pitch division.
2023 Aggie PITCH Winners
Full Pitch Division | Current Students
1st Place ($7,500): Club Girl – Katie Calderon ’25
2nd Place ($5,000): Cosnetix – Greyson Newton ’21, Diana Salha ’25 and Cameron Walker ’22
3rd Place TIE ($3,500): AggieBus – Arvind Balaji ’24, Anish Karthik ’25 and Kirthivel Ramesh ’24
3rd Place TIE ($3,500): Redeemr – David Greek ’24 and Carl White ’24
Full Pitch Division | Former Students
1st Place ($7,500): Endpoint Security Inc. – Page Heller ’78
2nd Place ($5,000): Xplosion Technology Corporation – Jaylen James ’22
3rd Place ($3,500 – sponsored by LiquidAgents Healthcare): Empifany – Christopher Taylor ’07
Elevator Pitch Division (sponsored by IndigoStone Advisors)
1st Place ($1,500): Surgeon Support – Chase Lano ’25
2nd Place ($1,000): EValuate EV Charging Software – Cassie McQuinn ’21
3rd Place ($750): HemoVas Biosystems – Jason Eades ’26
First-place winner Club Girl uses a patent-pending adjustable weight and shaft system, paired with a self-fitting app, to provide women with what founder Katie Calderon ’25 says is a perfect-fitting putter that stays within USGA regulations. She said plans to put her winnings straight into prototyping and testing.
“It means the world,” she said of the win, “not only to me and my company, but it allows us to go further and do everything I’ve wanted to do. It’s been my dream since I was a kid.”
Calderon and Club Girl also took home second place and $2,000 in the McFerrin Center’s 2022 Raymond Ideas Challenge.
Former students Full Pitch division winner Endpoint Security Inc. secures wireless communication via a technology that provides security for fixed wireless devices in industrial, commercial and home environments.
“This is a dream come true,” said founder Page Heller ’78. “I’ve worked as a serial entrepreneur ever since I graduated from Texas A&M and even worked for Texas A&M before going out on my own again. So to be able to benefit from this program and benefit from an award like this is very meaningful to me.”
Heller said the winnings from Aggie PITCH will take them halfway to getting a third party validation test for the product. “It’s perfect timing for us,” he noted.
“Aggie PITCH remains a spotlight in the McFerrin Center’s programming,” said Blake Petty ’98, executive director of the McFerrin Center. “Since 2018, it’s continued to grow and gain more awareness among both current and former students in the startup arena. Each year, we look forward to seeing what new, innovative ventures these Aggie entrepreneurs are building and growing. Without a doubt, Aggie PITCH is a proven step along a path of success for any Aggie-led startup looking to get to the next level.”
Finalists’ ventures at this year’s Aggie PITCH represent a variety of industries including agriculture, information technology, consumer products and energy technology, among others, and are now automatically admitted into an exclusive group of startup founders who are eligible to represent Texas A&M University at national and global entrepreneurial competitions.
A list of past Aggie PITCH winners can be found at aggiepitch.com.