Several startup teams competed for more than $100,000 in funding at NC State’s eGames Monday night at the Talley Student Union. The Shark Tank-style pitch event saw Wolfpack startups across a variety of sectors: edtech, the golfing industry, agriculture, medical devices and more.
This year’s eGames was hosted by Fox Sports reporter and NC State alumna Amanda Busick, and all startup teams had only around a minute to provide an elevator pitch before answering questions from a lineup of judges.
There were two categories of pitches—the “Think” and “Do” tracks—depending on how far along a company was in its product development, with “Think” being more in the idea stage and the latter further along. A total of 54 teams originally applied to be part of the games, and judges selected the top teams for each category.
In addition to a few social impact and design and prototype mini-awards, the grand prize winners in the Think category were Spir Medical (1st place for $9,000), farming tech startup Rampart Crop Defense (2nd place for $7,000) and medtech Cervu (3rd place for $4,000).
Spir Medical’s Travis McKay said that in emergency situations where patients aren’t breathing on their own, first responders will have to use a bag valve mask (BVM). Unfortunately, very little has been innovated for these devices. Until Spir Medical.
“The BVM was invented eight years after the end of World War Two, and the BVMs first responders use today have virtually remained the same,” McKay said. “At Spir Medical, we modernize the BVM for the 21st century, enabling automation and feedback, resulting in unprecedented compliance for BVM operation. How many patients are dying because we can’t tell how much air and how fast we pump air into their lungs?”
In the Do track, Wolfpack Medical, interactive sustainable fashion startup Dyelation and edtech ByteSize Learning took home the top prizes for $10,000, $8,500 and $6,5000 respectively.
ByteSize Learning’s Ayden Hochstein said that over the past decade, we’ve seen a tremendous increase in the importance of technology, so much so that by 2030, it’s predicted that nearly 70 percent of all careers will require some sort of tech education.
“ByteSize Learning is set to provide the next generation of Americans with the tools they need to succeed by developing that passion and interest in technology at an early age,” Hochstein said.
For the Daughtery Endowment track, which is open to registered startup companies with licensed NC State intellectual property in the past three years, Vizma Life Sciences, Mammae, and DNAli earned the $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000 prizes.
At the end of the night, the crowd selected golf tech startup Straight Shot to win $1,000 for the Audience’s Choice Award.
Since 2009 when it first debuted, the eGames event has grown massively to reflect the greater innovation in the NC State community, said NC State’s Senior Vice Provost for Entrepreneurship Tom Miller.
“With each year, I’ve continued to be even more impressed by the talent and creativity of our NC State entrepreneurs,” Miller said. “Their entrepreneurial spirit is infectious, and it inspires us to make this competition bigger and better each year.”