Venture capitalists to choose teams in ‘Next Great Startup’ competition


CORVALLIS, Ore. - The Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator has launched its first annual Next Great Startup competition, to begin in February with a round of auditions.

The competition, which offers more than $30,000 in prizes, is not an ordinary business plan or pitch competition, organizers say. The event is seeking the best student-led business with the chance to create a real company and win $18,000 or more. 

The first elimination round will be from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Feb. 9, in Stirek Auditorium in Austin Hall on the OSU campus. All events are open to the public.

Student-led teams pitched their business ideas to contend for one of 16 spots in the competition. In the first round, four venture capitalists will choose from among the 16 teams, and each pick one to coach through the competition.

A knockout round will be held on Feb. 23 and the finals on March 9, both in Stirek Auditorium of Austin Hall, starting at 5:30 p.m. On March 9, a panel of judges will select a winning team.

Each team is provided a small amount of working capital as they move to the next round. The winning team will be awarded more than $18,000 in prizes, legal and accounting services, entrance to the Advantage Accelerator, and the opportunity to pitch during the Willamette Angel Conference in May, 2017.

The following 16 teams have been selected for the first round: 

  • Sunshot Energy, a carbon dioxide-based power generator designed for rural areas
  • Blip, a platform for short-form content creators to monetize their work
  • GobTech, a platform toolset to make it easy to implement neural networks for use in gaming applications
  • HEARTH Technologies, a sensor that can be implemented with a biomass cook stove to monitor fuel usage
  • Cool Bubble Tech, a vapor chamber component designed to prevent overheating in wearable devices
  • Clear Run Filtration, long-term, sustainable storm water treatment
  • Rambuta, remote sensing for plant stress via a new and more efficient proxy using machine learning
  • Assure, “safe jewelry,” GPS-based wearables for women designed to notify authorities in risk situations
  • Tour de World, a centralized platform for tour guides to market their tours to travelers
  • Mole Drone, a rover for use during fracking that can determine safety zones for workers
  • Seiji’s Bridge, a line of products designed for children and those with developmental disabilities
  • Sensiplicity, a customizable, low cost, and modular sensor system for “big data” agriculture and other industries
  • Top TEC, a device that can serve as a chair, scale and help patient mobility in hospitals and nursing homes
  • PNW Dulse, a nutrient-dense food product that tastes like bacon
  • SeeSD, building an outreach program for STEM education and research and development in Senegal
  • CYLBiotechnologies, using algae to develop four high-margin products, from chitin to glucosamine to metal oxide nanomaterial.

Oregon State University Advantage

About the Oregon State University Advantage: Oregon State is committed to innovation that leads to new businesses, jobs and economic growth for Oregon and the nation. That commitment now includes the Venture Accelerator, to move promising ideas out of the laboratory and into the marketplace; and the Industry Partnering Program, which helps improve the success of existing business and industry.