Jordan Keefe and Eric Holmes found themselves in need of money after graduating from college.
But instead of going to creditors, the two University of Toledo alumni used their professional skills to develop a new approach to budgeting apps that they say helps users get ahead financially by knowing “exactly how much cash you should have in the bank every day for the rest of your life.”
“We both were in financial stress after college,” Mr. Holmes said.
“So we found a way to eliminate financial stress for ourselves. We knew how powerful it was and we wanted to share it,” Mr. Keefe added.
Alicia Wagner, founder of Pudl, left, congratulates Chris Rumpf, CEO and founder of Flyght, on his win at the sixth annual Pitch & Pour Thursday, November 16, 2017, at the University of Toledo's Nitschke Technology Commercialization Complex.
Mr. Keefe and Mr. Holmes, both 26 and of Toledo, were among five teams of northwest Ohio inventors that each delivered a five-minute pitch to a panel of judges and an audience of 400 Thursday at UT’s Nitschke Technology Commercialization Complex. Everyone was there for the sixth annual Pitch and Pour competition in innovative technology projects. The grand prize was $10,000, the runner-up was to get $3,000, and the crowd-favorite $2,000.
“I am extremely excited,” Mr. Holmes, said. “This is a huge opportunity for us to release our product to the world.” He added he and his project partner had worked for two years “every morning and every night on top of full time jobs” to create the product they called Uptik.
Mr. Holmes said they hoped to win and then use the prize money to develop their product into iPhone and Android applications. Both are 2013 UT graduates, with bachelor’s degrees in chemical engineering; Mr. Holmes additionally holds an MBA from UT’s College of Business.
They faced steep competition. Other projects pitched Thursday were an app that aggregates social media messaging, a cutting-edge bone implant technology, a new retail and restaurant software platform, and a compound that — according to its developers — “shows promising activity” in the treatment of “neurological disorders including autism spectrum disorders.”
“This is the biggest Pitch and Pour event [so far],” Jessica Sattler, UT’s director of economic engagement and business development programs, said. “I am thrilled to bring this opportunity to our local entrepreneurs because it gives them... exposure to investors, and talent, and customers.”
The event was sponsored by UT’s Toledo LaunchPad Incubation Program, which helps business ventures move from concept to commercialization, and by NextTech, a new entrepreneurial services provider that grew out of a partnership among ProMedica, Mercy Health, UT, and Bowling Green State University and aims to help entrepreneurs in 18 northwest Ohio counties.
The winners Thursday were:
- Grand prize: Retail and restaurant software platform Flyght, presented by Chris Rumpf.
- Runner-up: Neurological disorder treatment compound PsyNeurgy, presented by Austin Horton.
- Crowd favorite: Bone implant RegenFix, presented by Narges Shayesteh Moghaddam.
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