By Zach Taylor, University Relations Student Writer
Three UTC students walked away with start-up capital and a paid trip to Tampa, Florida, following the second annual Elevator Pitch Competition. Sponsored by the UTC College of Business CEO Club, seven contestants were given 90 seconds to summarize and deliver a pitch for their business ideas to a panel of judges.
This year’s first place winners and the recipients of $2,000 were Andrew McPherson, a junior Computer Science major, and Stuart French, a junior Computer Science: Software Systems major, with their project, Viditor. The program is a comprehensive online video development environment that allows users to collaborate in real time during the editing process.
“I really enjoyed the opportunity to talk about our project and ideas. It’s been great getting to meet so many interesting and inspirational people throughout this whole process,” said McPherson.
Accessible through a desktop, laptop, tablet, or handheld device, Viditor is run completely online, allowing users to access and edit projects anywhere and at any time.
Chelsea Larkins, a senior Entrepreneurship and Marketing major, finished in second place, and was awarded $1,000, for Temp Tats, an organically based vanishing tattoo ink. The tattoo can last between two to five years, depending on what the customer wants.
“This has been a great experience for myself and everyone else involved. I received very constructive guidance from professors and other advisors and gained a lot of insight into networking and how to represent myself and my ideas. From working on the marketing aspect as well as the legal side of things with a lawyer, I feel much more confident about my vision and moving my business forward,” said Larkins.
Larkins’ goal is to provide the freedom of choice to customers, while expanding the market by allowing people who don’t want to commit to a permanent tattoo to still get one. Larkins plans to sell the ink to parlors across the country.
Other contestants included:
- Daniel Taylor – Ladder Wedge – An invention that helps level ladders on uneven surfaces
- Donald Marsh – Gov Funder – A search engine used to match voters to relatable candidates
- Jordan Grindell – Noog Out – A store to rent outdoor gear, including climbing, hiking, biking, backpacking, and watersport gear
- Chandler Burke – Park Smart – A cell phone app that works in coordination with proximity devices in parking lots in order to help users find open parking spaces in crowded areas
- Cory Raper – Worm Castings – An all-natural fertilizer made from worm castings gathered from a Grundy County worm farm, the largest provider of worms in America
On top of the start-up capital and mentoring, McPherson, French, and Larkins will attend the final rounds of the Elevator Pitch Competition at the 2014 Southeast Entrepreneurship Conference, held at the University of Tampa on February 21 and 22. When they are not competing they will have access to a wide range of presentations and seminars during the weekend long event.
“This event showed the variety and ingenuity of Chattanooga and the UTC community. While it was a wonderful experience to work on presenting our program, being able to listen to everyone else’s pitches and ideas was just as rewarding,” said French.