Salty Girl Seafood and Bottle Branders combine to win two top prizes and one second prize at 15th annual Santa Barbara Technology Management Program New Venture Competition
May 23, 2014
Santa Barbara, Calif. — A pair of Bren School Eco-Entrepreneurship teams rose to the top of the six-team pool competing in the final round of the 2014 UCSB Technology Management Program New Venture Competition.
Salty Girl Seafood, the School Eco-Entrepreneurship start-up company made up of Bren students Gina Auriemma, Norah Eddy, and Laura Johnson (all MESM 2014), took home the $5,000 Elings Prize, the $5,000 People’s Choice prize, and the $2,500 second-place prize in the Market Pull category, while Bottle Branders, the creation of Max Ludington, Harish Prather and Ryan Wilson (all MESM 2014), earned the $5,000 top prize in the Market Pull category. That made a grand total take of $17,500 for the Bren School teams.
The big winner of the day was ShadowMaps, a GPS-related system developed by UCSB engineering students to overcome the “shadow effect” in which tall buildings in urban areas can “confuse” GPS systems and create errors in cell-phone GPS location.
Salty Girl Seafood provides a transparent seafood marketing and delivery system that connects fishermen to consumers (such as high-end restaurants) in a way that addresses the issues of mislabeling and sustainability that are big problems in the seafood industry.
“We had such a great experience participating the New Venture Competition, and we were really honored to receive our awards,” the team said. “The Bren Community has been such an amazing and positive source of support, and it was so great to see so many familiar faces in the audience on the day of the event! Having two Bren teams participating and taking home prizes made the day all the sweeter! We truly could not be more appreciative of everyone, and we look forward to launching Salty Girl Seafood following our graduation in a few short weeks.”
Bottle Branders is developing an industry-standard upgrade of the half-gallon “growler” container popularized by micro-breweries. The new container features a CO2 system that keeps the beer carbonated and a magnetic labeling system so that microbreweries can create different labels for their various beers and swap them from one container to another, as needed.
“The competition was an excellent opportunity for us to hone our business plan and to get valuable feedback from highly knowledgeable judges,” said Max Ludington. “I think the strong showing from the Bren teams speaks to the quality of ideas and thinking coming out of the Eco-E program. We are excited about the opportunity to move our business forward and to promote sustainability in the craft beer industry.”
Six teams of bright young tech entrepreneurs competed Thursday, May 22 at the UC Santa Barbara Technology Management Program’s (TMP) New Venture Competition, taking home thousands of dollars in prizes as well as in-kind awards from the competition’s sponsors. The event was a combination of competition between teams and networking with business leaders in the community.
“I have never seen such consistency of quality of the teams,” said Mike Panesis, TMP entrepreneurial programs manager. Innovations in the realms of biotechnology, sustainable fisheries, improved GPS location, product distribution, and customer service were presented to a panel of judges who grilled the competitors on their business plans. This year, the majority of the teams were heavy with members from the College of Engineering.
The final round was the culmination of a year’s worth of effort for each of the teams and the result of several rounds of competition from an initial pool of 26. The biggest prizes went to ShadowMaps, cloud-based software that supplements GPS location in urban environments. It took the $10,000 grand prize and the $10,000 first place prize for the Tech Push category.