ASU Startup brings home the ACVC Territorial Cup and $10K
- Tishin Donkersley
- On March 31, 2014
Last Friday, the top 12 startups from Arizona State, University of Arizona and Northern Arizona went head-to-head in the second Arizona Collegiate Venture Competition for a chance at a piece of the $30,000 prize money plus mentorship…and of course the Territorial Cup plus one year of bragging rights.
In the end, all Arizona State startups took home the majority of the cash, with the winner being Force Impact Technologies, the creators of FITGuard and the grand prize of $10,000. FitGuard is a revolutionary mouth guard that indicates the amount of force an athlete endures through a visual display-information from a collision is synced to their data base and ‘an individuals smartphone.
As a former rugby player, co-founder of Force Impact Technologies, Anthony Gonzales was quite familiar with concussions as he experienced one himself in a multiple player collision and set out, with co-founder Bob Merriman, to increase awareness of potential injuries in youth sports by integrating technology into sports equipment.
According to a report by the Institute of Medicine via the The New York Times “High school football players are nearly twice as likely to get concussions as college football players and high school athletes in other sports, and as many as 20 percent of athletes who get a concussion have symptoms that linger more than two weeks.” This report also concluded that “…concussion rates also appear higher for youths with a history of prior concussions and among female athletes.”
The co-founders comment on the win to AZTB, “Bob and I were honored to be selected by Arizona State to represent the school. We were most excited that every company representing ASU took home a prize. Taking first was simply an added bonus,” said Gonzales.
“The win felt great,” Merriman said, “but more importantly, it’s always nice to get some validation that the FITGuard is a real solution to help keep kids safe while they play the sports they love.”
This is the second win for ASU entrepreneurs and Gordon McConnell, Assistant Vice President, ASU Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group, is thrilled for his startups and their progress, “Force Impact Technologies has followed in Pollen Tech’s footsteps from last year and won the title of best student startup in Arizona, and all of ASU is very proud of their victory in Tucson.”
“The FITGuard is not only an innovative product it also offers a significant health and safety factor for so many young athletes. We are also delighted that all four of our startups that competed brought home prize money to help them continue to develop their startups,” he continues.
The competition was sponsored by Hool Law Group and MAC6 in collaboration with ASU’s Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative, NAU’s NACET LaunchBox, and UA’s McGuire Entrepreneurship Program.
Michael Hool, Managing Partner at Hool Law and sponsor, comments, “We were thrilled to see the quality of companies that all three schools put forward. We saw the tangible way they were sharpened and gained more focus by competing head to head against each other in this event. We now have 12 new fundable companies growing right here in Arizona as a result of this unique collaboration between the three universities.”
While the ASU and UofA continue a fierce rivalry in sports, Brent Sebold, Senior Venture Manager, ASU Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group, found a sense of camaraderie and encouragement for growth among the founders throughout the competition, regardless of the outcome.
“To me, the most impactful aspect of this event year after year is the comaradarie that is displayed between the student founders from each university. I overheard many of the founders, regardless of whether they won seed funding or not, compliment each other on their business models, shake hands, and exchange contact information,” Sebold said. “Ultimately, this event is all about collaboration, and as we’ve seen with many of our top startup programs at ASU, collaboration across institutional boundaries is the key to success for not only our startup community, but also for the success of our founders’ ventures.”
Sebold also shares the Cup with their supportive community of business leaders who donate time to their entrepreneurs.
“As for ASU’s repeated success within the competition, I would point to our very broad and deep pool of volunteer mentors who continually engage with all of our client ventures. Without these tireless volunteer mentors, and the generosity of the donors who financially support our various acceleration programs, our ASU teams may not have been able to defend their ‘go to’ market strategies. Again, collaboration is key, and the collaboration that exists between our office, the student management teams, and the volunteer mentors is absolutely fundamental to the success of our diverse array of supported startups.”
While bragging rights will sustain at ASU, ventures will continue to work diligently and collaboratively to help Arizona entrepreneurism thrive. The next competition will take place at Northern Arizona University.
Teams that competed and winnings:
Winner – Force Impact Technologies – $10K
Duo Kitchenware – $2K
Onvard – $7K
Safe SIPP – $2K
PowerPitch – $7K
NAK – $2K
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Congratulations to all teams.