Nathan Fuller and his startup, Fused Machines, took the top prize April 24 at the Civil War Shark Tank at Austin Hall.
The event, sponsored by the Austin Entrepreneurship Program, included three startup companies from Oregon State and two from the University of Oregon, and the evening also featured an Elevator Pitch competition open to any student with a business idea he or she wanted to present to a panel of judges.
Fuller, a junior studying mechanical engineering, has developed a CNC tool head designed to improve the performance of 3-D printers. His first-place finish earns his company a $1,000 prize and entry into the Willamette Angel Conference scheduled for May 15 at the CH2M HILL Alumni Center on the OSU campus. At the conference, startups compete for seed funding.
Placing second at the Civil War Shark Tank and earning $500 was another Beaver entry, Steady Budget (http://steadybudget.com/). OSU computer science students Chris Vlessis and David Teofilovic are company cofounders along with CEO Jon Davis. Vlessis is chief technical officer and Teofilovic chief information officer of the company, which aims to provide a software budgetary solution for pay-per-click advertising analysts. Another OSU student, marketing major Dominique Catabay, is Steady Budget’s financial manager.
The third Oregon State entry in the Shark Tank was Sona, a company whose founders include business administration major Kristin Johannes, prebusiness student Jacob Harvey and chemical engineering major Jacob Lum. Sona, whose product is a crowdsourcing disc-jockey app, was the people’s choice winner – the top vote-getter in balloting among the roughly 150 people in the audience. The company’s motto is, “It’s your music, it’s your persona,” and its app lets attendees at a party cue up their favorite tunes on the event’s sound system.
The UO startups in the Shark Tank were consulting company Smarter Marketing and used-clothing-exchange network ThriftSwap.
In the Elevator Pitch contest, which kicked off the evening, 11 students presented their business ideas and leading a top-two OSU sweep was Steven Miller, whose proposal was ConnectMD, a televideo medical consultation service.
Placing second was Miranda Crowell (who pitched Asian carp as food and fertilizer), and tying for third were EJ Albaugh (monthly healthcare service), Katie Breeden (schedule-organizing consultancy for students) and Steve Gessling (an app for learning which beers are on tap and where to find them). Breeden is from the University of Oregon and the other two are OSU students.
The Elevator Pitch winner received $250, the runner-up earned $100, and the third-place finishers each won $50.