Texas Tech University

Ready. Set. iLaunch! Aspiring Entrepreneurs Win $20K at iLaunch Competition

Kathryn Dankesreiter, Marketing & Engagement Coordinator

November 21, 2023

Startups Pitch in Texas Tech's Own 'Shark Tank™' Experience!

On Friday, November 17th, thirteen startup teams gathered at the Texas Tech Innovation Hub to present their business models in a Shark TankTM-like competition for a chance to win $20,000 in total prizes. The iLaunch Competition encourages teams from Texas Tech, Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, and West Texas to identify, grow, and launch startup companies! 

After having their business models evaluated by industry experts and West Texas entrepreneurs, thirteen startup teams were selected to advance to the final competition. The competition began with the three finalists from the Pantex Innovation Challenge. The student-led teams showcased their innovative solutions to challenges posed by the Pantex Plant, directly related to national security. The Pantex Innovation Challenge teams were evaluated by experienced professionals and Pantex leadership, including Colby Yeary, Pantex Site Manager and Texas Tech alum.

The ten teams that followed presented on ideas from a variety of industries, including healthcare, agriculture, artificial intelligence (AI), and advanced technology and robotics. The finalists were scored by iTTU Mentors, entrepreneurs, and faculty with robust experience that posed insightful questions to the presenters.

As the final presentations came to a close, over 140 guests arrived at the Innovation Hub for the iLaunch Awards Social. This year's social kicked off with Dr. Allison Childress, CEO and Founder of 3 CulinaryMed Docs, sharing her experience through the iLaunch Competition and how it led her to launch her company through the iHub's Accelerator Program.

After which, each finalist presented their one-minute pitch in the Lightning Round for a chanced to win a $500 cash prize! The crowd was encouraged to vote for their favorite team to win the People's Choice Award. The finalists and guests gathered in anticipation as Taysha Williams, Managing Director of the Innovation Hub, announced the winners of the 2023 iLaunch Competition and Pantex Innovation Challenge. The winners are as follows:

MelodiaSync | First Place ($10,000) | An innovative software that facilitates relaxation by providing real-time, personalized beat responses while listening to audio.

Team Lead: Jessica Blume, TTUHSC Office of Global Health Staff

Project C.A.M.E.L. | Pantex Innovation Challenge ($5,000) | An automated robot that solves the problem of handling hazardous materials by enhancing safety precision, and reliability with real time tracking and inventory control.

Team Lead: Timothy Gray, TTU Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering Student

Medical Information Simulations | Second Place ($3,000) | A web application LIS simulator to provide career readiness and improve training at the academic level for medical laboratory scientists in the area of laboratory information technology.

Team Lead: Tammy Carter, TTUHSC Department of Laboratory Sciences and Primary Care Faculty

Myelin | Third Place ($1,000) | A visual indicator that can be embedded into high-impact points on a helmet to serve as a safety device that allows consumers to know when to replace helmets.

Team Lead: Varshini Suresh, TTUHSC Graduate Student

AG Analytica | People's Choice Award ($500) | AG Analytica harnesses AI to revolutionize palm oil nurseries, ensuring optimal use of time, labor, inputs, and natural resources.

Team Lead: Nery Menjivar, TTU Davis College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Student

What's next for our iLaunch competitors? The Texas Tech Accelerator Competition, an investor pitch competition that identifies up to nine teams to participate in the one-year Accelerator Program and receive a $25,000 grant to support their startup, will accept applications until February 21, 2024! If you have an innovative idea you're ready to make a reality, learn more about the Accelerator Competition through our website or contact Ryan Bain for details.