Moolaguides.com, an online platform that facilitates the buying and selling of student-generated study guides, emerged as the first-place winner of the Shark Tank round of Florida State University’s InNOLEvation Challenge. Florida State College of Business senior and company CEO Tom Brady, an entrepreneurship major, walked away with a check for $15,000 to help grow his business.
Shark Tank, held Friday at the college, was the third and final round of the InNOLEvation Challenge — one of the nation’s largest collegiate business plan competitions — sponsored by the college and The Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship. In all, $45,000 in prizes plus in-kind services were at stake, with the FSU Office of the Vice President kicking in $5,000 to a company using FSU research as the basis for itsenterprise.
Competing in Friday’s Shark Tank, were 10 student startups, culled from an initial 100 fledgling ventures that submitted business plans in October. The owners of the final 10 businesses made their pitches for funding before a panel of five judges from the investment community. The ranking of the teams was based on the judges’ willingness to invest in the company. Scores are based on the written business plan, an oral presentation and business viability.
In second place was War Paint LLC, an easy-to-use face and body paint applicator, developed by psychology major Bryan Deering, who took home $10,000. Third place went to business major Dylan Shaver, whose company FinAddix, uses smart-phone technology to snap photos of its fishing experiences and, in less than three minutes, process an order that converts images to high-quality, re-positional vinyl prints. FinAddix received $5,000 in winnings.
- College Cabs, fourth place, a mobile telephone application designed to connect college students to the nearest available cab drivers in collegiate cities, won $2,500.
- Applied Sciences and Technology, fifth place, which focuses on data-mining, artificial intelligence, sentiment analysis and algorithms applied to financial markets, won $1,250.
Four sixth-place winners took home $500. They include:
- Aqua Gardens, which offers a year-round growing method capable of mass production, using aquaponics to grow vegetables and raise fish.
- Fused Software LLC, a software company whose program Entrée provides restaurants with a web-based interactive tablet kiosk system to improve point-of-sale experiences.
- Martha’s Den, an assisted living facility located in Tallahassee that offers a homelike environment for severely mentally ill patients.
- NV Prints, which offers fully automated 3D printers.
Critical Action Technologies, a carbon fiber recycling initiative based on research and development at FSU’s High-Performance Materials Institute, was presented a special award of $5,000 by John Fraser of the Office of Research.
About the InNOLEvation Challenge
In its second year, the InNOLEvation Challenge is one of the nation’s largest collegiate business plan competitions. It is open to current FSU undergraduate and graduate students and is designed to give collegiate entrepreneurs with a “Big Idea” the opportunity to win the facilities, funding and mentoring to launch their dreams. Each team is evaluated as real-world entrepreneurs soliciting start-up funds from early stage investors and venture capital firms. The judges rank the competitors based on which company they would most likely invest.
About The Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship
The mission of The Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship at Florida State University is to cultivate, train and inspire entrepreneurial leaders in the community through education programs and curriculum, intensive consulting assistance and mentorship to entrepreneurs and business owners. Through degree and certificate programs in entrepreneurship, outreach programs in Florida, and complementary activities such as speakers and workshops, The Jim Moran Institute currently serves 2,000 business and non-business majors on campus and more than 200 businesses in the community each year.