WEST LAFAYETTE – Five Purdue University student startups spanning biodegradable drinking straws, in-flight pilot training, job interview preparation, and digital platforms for parking and electric vehicle charging were named finalists in Purdue’s 34th annual Burton D. Morgan Business Model Competition. As a result, they will split $92,500 to support their business.
The competition promoting student entrepreneurship began in September and concluded on April 14, with participation from over 120 students and 70 teams from across Purdue. The competition was conducted entirely virtually; teams were provided virtual business model workshops, seminars and training through Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. A group of Purdue alumni entrepreneurs and venture capitalists evaluated the final business models and selected five finalists.
“The Burton D. Morgan Business Model Competition is an opportunity to bring together students and mentors from across Purdue’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to support and learn from each other while showcasing their innovative ideas,” said Arnold Chen, managing director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. “We are grateful to all of the entrepreneurs and VCs who contributed their time and expertise as judges and mentors, and to Krannert School of Management for their continued support and sponsorship of the business model competition.”
The first-place prize of $40,000 went to AeonCharge by Laegacy Inc., an aggregation platform using proprietary technology to provide for the upgrade and streamlined management of electric vehicle chargers.
“Throughout the business model competition, our team received invaluable guidance from experienced mentors in the entrepreneurship world,” said AeonCharge CEO Dwi Sutandar, a 2020 graduate of Purdue’s Davidson School of Chemical Engineering. “The cash prize will fuel our startup, but the mentorship is something that we will bring with us throughout our whole startup journey.”
Additional awards went to:
- Second place ($25,000): Aura Training Systems, a dynamic in-flight task training tool using computer vision and machine learning to collect valuable data for use by pilots of rotary or fixed-wing aircraft.
- Third place ($15,000): Hippo Straw LLC, for engineering a sustainable, low-cost biodegradable plastic straw using water hyacinth, a fast-growing invasive species.
- Fourth place ($7,500): ParkOut, a digital marketplace for event parking or tailgating.
- Fifth place ($5,000): MockIVIEW, a one-stop job preparation portal that facilitates mock interviews with real-time feedback.
FreedomWare Inc. received the Schurz Innovation Award ($12,000) for its design for affordable sealable spoons for people with tremors, Parkinson’s disease or other movement disorders. EdVizion, a service increasing student exposure to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, (liberal) arts and math) careers, received the Social Innovation Award ($1,000) and the Schurz Best Female-Founded Team ($8,000).
“Schurz Communications has been involved in the Burton D. Morgan Business Model Competition for five years now, and we get to see a great array of talent across the teams each year. I’d like to congratulate all of the teams that participated this year,” said Chris Dautel, director of strategic planning and corporate development at Schurz. “Schurz is very active in minority investments that support various entrepreneurial communities, and this year we are very happy to present the Schurz Best Female-Founded Team award of $8,000 to EdVizion.”
In addition to cash prizes, competition sponsors provided over $30,000 in in-kind prizes. Sponsors included Ice Miller, Gutwein Law; When You Leave the Room; Carr Workplaces; Matchbox Co-Working Studio; Purdue Railyard Coworking Space; Elevate Ventures and Schurz Communications.
Previous competitors in the Burton D. Morgan Business Model Competition have gone on to participate in TechCrunch Disrupt’s Startup Battlefield, the International Business Model Competition, and to be named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list. Last year’s first-place winner, Glimpse, has since raised $1.7 million in funding for its startup facilitating branded product placement in vetted short-term rental properties. The competition has awarded over $2 million to student startups since its inception in 1987.
About the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship
Discovery Park’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship is Purdue University’s gateway for innovation and entrepreneurship on campus. It houses a number of programs and competitions for student and faculty entrepreneurs designed to encourage innovation and discover big ideas that have potential to benefit society. The Burton D. Morgan Center works closely with the Purdue Foundry and Purdue Ventures to enhance the university’s robust entrepreneurial ecosystem and to provide meaningful access to capital and talent for Purdue entrepreneurs. The center also houses the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program, which is administered through Purdue’s Office of the Provost, and is the primary vehicle for delivering entrepreneurship education to over 1,800 students across campus each year.
About Purdue University
Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 6 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at purdue.edu.
Source: Arnold Chen, email@example.com