Trinity University Awards Seed Money at Stumberg Competition

By Iris Gonzalez
An image of five teams holding large award checks for $5,000

Five Trinity University student entrepreneur teams were each awarded $5,000 in seed funding Tuesday evening in the annual Louis H. Stumberg Venture Competition. This university-wide competition consisted of 10 student venture teams selected from a pool of applicants to present their business concepts before a panel of judges with entrepreneurial expertise.

The five winning teams pitched wide-ranging businesses:

  • MONA is an augmented reality (AR) app that enables users to use real-world objects like embroidered patches that can project three-dimensional objects in augmented reality when scanned.
  • InterSourcing provides U.S. businesses access to international production and customized solutions in manufacturing when the business is ready to scale up in growth.
  • PATCH, or  Pill Administering Technology for Compliant Healthcare, is an internet-connected pill bottle that tracks patient compliance in taking medicine.
  • Complete Chess is a comprehensive solution for chess for children and adults that launched last fall and already is generating revenue.
  • Quick Sip is a ready to drink bottled specialty cold brew coffee.

The competition is a two-part pitch event hosted each spring and the fall since its launch in spring of 2015.

Each spring, Trinity student teams compete to win one of the five $5,000 awards, with each team member receiving a spot in the program’s summer accelerator, summer housing on campus, and mentorship. The winning students will also each earn a $4,000 stipend and one credit hour. The summer accelerator program runs ten weeks over the course of the summer, with a weekly program of speakers and mentors selected to work with each winning team.

Ten student teams competed, pitching ideas from different industry sectors. Students ranged from college freshman to seniors, with all Trinity students eligible to compete regardless of major program of study.

The five winning teams will go on to compete for the ultimate prize of $25,000 in the second pitch competition to be held in September at the entrepreneurship center in Trinity’s Center for Science and Innovation.

Judges from the local entrepreneurial community included Aric Garza of Aric J. Garza Law; Lisa Ingle-Stevens (1999 Trinity University graduate) of Union Yoga; Margaret Anaglia (1992 Trinity University graduate) of Al’s Gourmet Nuts; Luis P Gonzalez of ParLevel Systems, and; Harpreet Singh of Hazoor Partners. The competition is named after the late San Antonio businessman and civic leader Louis H. Stumberg, who was also a member of Trinity’s board of trustees for many years.

Luis Martinez is the Director of Trinity’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Martinez, Carmen Aramanda, the center’s program coordinator, along with David Girault, an entrepreneur in residence, work with the student teams, coaching them as they prepare and refine their business concepts for presentation to the judges.

“Every year the teams get stronger and stronger,” Martinez said. “The students have been working hard refining their concepts and working on their pitches.”

An image of PATCH co-founder Andrew Aertker shows the internet-connected pill bottle
PATCH co-founder Andrew Aertker shows how the internet-connected pill bottle would track patients taking medicine.

PATCH co-founders Andrew Aertker, a computer science major, and Gavin Buchanan, who is majoring in mathematical finance, are both in their first year at Trinity University. They plan on using the $5,000 for mechanical and engineering services to help them manufacture the Bluetooth-capable pill bottles on a larger scale at a lower price point and are already working with a San Antonio-based BJN engineering firm to make more bottles.

“We also plan on using some of the money to travel to meet with investors across the country, as well as to participate in other pitch competitions,” Aertker said.

Andrea Acevedo is a communications major in her senior year at Trinity. She used her computer science skills gained in some classes to create objects like embroidered patches that can be scanned using the MONA app. When scanned, the AR-enabled patches reveal three-dimensional objects.

“I plan on using the money to work on intellectual property protection and to produce higher quality 3D content,” Acevedo said.

An image of Andrea Acevedo on the left and Carmen Aramanda on the right
MONA founder Andrea Acevedo (left) is congratulated by Center program coordinator Carmen Aramanda.

For the teams that did not win, they will continue to receive mentoring and guidance from Martinez and the rest of the Center’s team, so that they can compete in next year’s Stumberg competition.

CivTechSA program manager Joyce Deuley said the process of preparing for this competition and gaining the experience of pitching to judges is a valuable lesson learned even for the teams that did not win.

Colby Doyal and Matthew Munroe were inspired to become the co-founders of Find SA, a navigational app for San Antonio, after hearing Deuley present the concept of  CivTechSA, a pilot program for entrepreneurs to help various City departments address specific challenges, such as an app that helps people navigate areas in San Antonio’s downtown. Find SA became the Trinity seniors’ response to one of the City’s challenges.

“I am excited about how these Trinity student entrepreneurs are contributing to San Antonio’s ecosystem,” Martinez said. “These teams are looking for issues to address in San Antonio and using their talents to come up with solutions for our community.”

Featured image shows the five winning teams at Trinity University’s Stumberg Venture Competition. From left to right: Quick Sip, Complete Chess, PATCH, InterSourcing, and MONA. Photo courtesy Luis Martinez, Trinity University.

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