By Sarah Mauet
Two McGuire Entrepreneurship Program student ventures took home the top two awards at the third annual Arizona Collegiate Venture Competition (ACVC) hosted by Arizona State University March 27. Infinurja received the top prize and $10,000 in seed funding, and InHouse Real Estate Marketing, one of the two first-runners-up, received $7,000. The ACVC is designed in collaboration with ASU’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative, Northern Arizona University’s NACET LaunchBox, and the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program, which is part of UA’s Eller College.
Infinurja, which designs, produces, and sells products that use organic waste and natural biological processes to generate continuous power to homes, is being developed by a team of UA graduate students: Nicholas Jennings, Public Health Policy and Management; Vinay Nenwani, MBA and MS in MIS; and Adam Ross, Applied Bioscience: Molecular and Cellular Biology.
InHouse, which provides real estate professionals with an intuitive, unified web application for brand enhancement, lead management, and marketing of listings, is being developed by a team of UA undergraduate students: Brittany Auclair, Accounting; Onye Chi-ukpai, Accounting and MIS; Mat Friedman, Management; Cooper Kowalski, Marketing; and Luis Palomares, Management.
“The Arizona Collegiate Venture Competition is a wonderful opportunity to foster collaboration between our university entrepreneurship programs and showcase our top student startups,” said McGuire Entrepreneurship Program Director Patty Sias. “The quality of the ventures they’re developing reflect both the value of the respective programs and their importance to the Arizona economy. We’re very proud that the ACVC judges saw fit to honor Infinurja and InHouse with the top awards this year.”
During the competition, four student teams, selected by their respective universities, pitch their startups to a panel of judges that includes local entrepreneurs and investors. Each startup is evaluated on seven criteria: problem and proposed solution, strength of team and advisors, market opportunity, go-to-market strategy, budget, progress made toward launch, and overall quality.
The teams compete for $30,000 in funding, mentoring, and the Startup Territorial Cup, a perpetual trophy that goes to the winning team’s university each year. The grand prize winner takes home $10,000 in funding and secures the Startup Territorial Cup for its university. Two first-runners-up each receive $7,000, and three second-runners-up each receive $2,000. Hool Coury Law Group and MAC6 generously sponsor the event by providing $15,000 each in prize money to ACVC winners.
Top image of L-R: Jim Jindrick (mentor-in-residence, McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship), Adam Ross (Applied Bioscience: Molecular and Cellular Biology), Vinay Nenwani (MBA/MS-MIS), Patti Sias (program director, McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship), Nicholas Jennings (Public Health Policy and Management) by Julie Forster.