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Alabama Launchpad’s finals will have a Tiger Cage flavor.
Two of the $250,000 entrepreneurship competition’s six finalists, SimplyProse and Tennibot, competed in the first Tiger Cage – an Auburn University student-entrepreneurship contest sponsored by the Harbert College of Business and Auburn Research and Technology Foundation -- and were selected from a field of 10 second-round teams. Alabama Launchpad is a statewide, multi-phase competition for new startups. The finals will be August 27 in Birmingham.
"It's valuable for us to have two of the six finalists from Auburn University," said Doug Warrington, Director of Business Development at Auburn University. "The Tiger Cage was developed to be a feeder system for Auburn into the Alabama Launchpad competition. Auburn teams have participated in the Launchpad with varying degrees of success."
SimplyProse, a social media writing and editing platform, is the creation of Harbert College seniors Cole Kinchler (supply chain management) and Jake Wright (finance), as well as industrial systems engineering senior Sharan Kalva. SimplyProse earned $5,000 as the Tiger Cage runner-up on April 24.
Tennibot, a robotic device that tracks and scoops tennis balls, was developed by Harbert College MBA graduate Haitham Eletrabi, now a doctoral student in engineering, and teammates Shane Tucker, Mondather Suliman and Xuemei Yuan. The team didn’t reach the Tiger Cage finals but earned a $1,500 second prize from the Thomas Walter Center for Technology Management for offering one of the contest’s “Most Innovative Products.”
The Alabama Launchpad first round, or Pitch Phase, allowed teams to submit a full business plan and make 10-minutes pitch presentations before a panel of judges. The Assessment Phase, held Friday, June 26, trimmed the field from 10 teams to six. There, teams submitted revised business plans for market assessment.
The six finalists must submit a final, revised version of their business plan showing how assessment feedback is utilized along with a 10-minute pitch at the August 27 final event.