BlueVerse, a tenant company at Texas Tech University's Innovation Hub at Research Park founded by Rawls College students Mason Still, Alec Hernandez, Taylor Brewster and Drew Pickens, won $145,000 in prizes at the Rice Business Plan Competition earlier this month.
The company, which empowers businesses by connecting them directly with their customers, officially launched in February and has more than 7,000 members. With zero ads and an open platform, BlueVerse's mobile app incentivizes users by offering exclusive deals and promotions from their favorite local businesses.
“We believe that small businesses are the heart of every community,” Still said. “We exist to connect people with the businesses they love, and to help those businesses succeed in a world where it can be difficult to stand out.”
Hosted by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, the Rice Business Plan Competition is the largest intercollegiate startup competition in the country. In its 23rd year the competition brought together 42 teams from around the world to compete for more than $2 million in cash and prizes.
“We couldn't be prouder of what BlueVerse is doing,” said Innovation Hub Managing Director Taysha Williams. “The Innovation Hub team loves seeing them at the Hub daily working hard. They bring an energy to the Hub that enhances the culture of the entrepreneurial spirit.
“Having them selected to compete in the Rice Business Plan Competition was a big deal. They were among some of the best of the best startups in the world and they made Texas Tech proud.”
BlueVerse walked away from the competition with two awards sponsored by the Softeq Venture Studio and Novak Druce Carroll LLP.
“I want to highlight the pivotal role played by the Texas Tech Accelerator Program and the Innovation Hub in our early success,” Hernandez said. “The Hub's initial grant and experienced iTTU Mentor team guided us throughout our journey, provided invaluable resources, and shaped our business strategy.”