The Lulu eGames, NC State’s largest annual startup competition, draws the attention of student and faculty entrepreneurs from across campus. This year 130+ entrepreneurs entered the competition to battle for over $100,000 in award money. A group of volunteer judges hand-picked 19 teams to advance to the second round of our highly competitive startup competition where student and faculty teams walked away with anywhere from $2,000 to $25,000. For the first time since its inception in 2009, winners were announced virtually via a Facebook Live video stream on April 8, 2020.
The competition is composed of two tracks – the student track, where solo-preneurs or teams can compete, and the Daugherty Endowment track, available to university spin-out companies. Student teams can compete across five different categories: Arts Venture, IBM Built on Cloud, Social and Environmental Impact, Design and Prototype and New Venture.
First round participants are required to submit a robust application, covering 15 aspects of their business, along with a video pitch. After a round of deliberation, teams are selected to advance to the final round. Finalists are then evaluated on their business plan and final pitch they historically deliver in front of live judges and a live audience at Stewart Theater in Talley Student Union. However, this year, things were far from normal.
About 3 weeks shy of the live competition, the university released a memo in response to COVID-19, closing or significantly limiting core services and facilities at the university and limiting the amount of students on campus. This meant there were only two options for this year’s event – cancel the competition or prepare a virtual “plan B”. But canceling the competition was not an option for NC State Entrepreneurship.
“We felt that it was important to think creatively and come up with a way to complete the competition and reward the students who had worked so hard to prepare,” said Tom Miller, senior vice provost and executive director of NC State Entrepreneurship. “We also thought that announcing the winners via Facebook Live would provide a welcome respite to the Wolfpack community, which was reeling with difficult impacts of the pandemic.”
In times like these, it is invaluable to think like an entrepreneur, view challenges as opportunities, use creativity, and above all, find ways to create value.
This is why it is more important than ever to support our student entrepreneurs and award their innovation and creativity. “Think and do, that’s what NC State is all about” said Miller, and the eGames are a perfect example of how students are fulfilling that motto.
Ritika Shamdasani, Co-Founder of Sani, a sister-owned South Asian fashion label focused on South Asian American women and this year’s grand prize winner of $15,000 stated, “we are so grateful that eGames continued to host the competition despite the uncertainty right now. As a small business, we have been hit hard by the pandemic like many others. This eGames award has made it possible for us to still push forward in many ways so that we can bounce back stronger than ever.”
Check out 2020’s Lulu eGames Winners:
1st place – $5,000 | Sani: A South Asian fashion label focused on South Asian American women.
2nd place – $3,000 | The Salsa Underground Experience: Daniela Patiño’s exclusive Salsa party and movement for ‘Salsa dance nerds’
3rd place – $2000 | Choir Baton: An online choral community to get #morepeoplesinging
Design and Prototype
1st place – $5,000 | Saphai: Creating a sprayable coating that can make any surface self-cleaning when exposed to sunlight and rainwater
2nd place –$3,000 | Summit Kinetics: Giving the freedom of movement back to those in need via a passive lower-body exoskeleton.
3rd place – $2000 | Safe Crate: Dog crate aiming to reduce your pet’s anxiety during stressful times
IBM Built on Cloud
1st place – $5,000 | Thermoelectrix: A thermoelectric ice brace that lessens the pain and swelling of injuries.
2nd place – $3,000| Seamless: A platform to make fashion e-commerce a joyful and engaging experience for shoppers.
3rd place – $2000 | I/O: A seamless smart device that decreases phantom energy consumption when you are away.
1st place – $10,000 | Kalia Health: A biotech startup dedicated to improving women’s health in low-resource settings.
2nd place – $7,00 | Sani: A South Asian fashion label focused on South Asian American women.
3rd place – $5,000 | SafeCrate: Dog crate aiming to reduce your pet’s anxiety during stressful times
Social and Environmental Impact
1st place – $5,000 | Summit Kinetics: Giving the freedom of movement back to those in need via a passive lower-body exoskeleton.
2nd place – $3,000 | Sani: A South Asian fashion label focused on South Asian American women.
3rd place – $2,000 | Kalia Health: A biotech startup dedicated to improving women’s health in low-resource settings.
About the Daugherty Endowment Track
The Daugherty Endowment Track has been a contributing partner of the Lulu eGames since 2016, with the primary goal of increasing the success of startup companies based on NC State IP. The Daugherty Endowment Track is open to officially registered startup companies who have licensed NC State intellectual property in the past three years — meaning their licenses must be currently active. The funds allocated to winning companies can be used for critical early-stage business expenses. For the past four years, the Daugherty Track has awarded prizes totaling $50,000 each year – with first place receiving $25,000, second receiving $15,000 and third receiving $10,000.
The Daugherty Endowment Track is made possible by The Richard L. and Marlene V. Daugherty Centennial Campus Entrepreneurialism Endowment (Daugherty Endowment) with funding partnership from the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology & Science and collaboration with the NC State Office of Partnerships and Office of Research Commercialization.
The 2020 Daugherty Endowment Track Winners:
1st place – $25,000 – Photocide Protection: Environmentally friendly products that can disinfect a wide range of pathogens.
2nd Place – $15,000 – Vector Textiles: Fabrics designed to prevent mosquitoes from getting through to your skin.
3rd Place – $10,000 – Stitch Partners: Smoke remediation technology for use in confined spaces where venting is not an option.
A special thanks for all the sponsors that made the 2020 Lulu eGames possible:
- Murphy’s Naturals
- Rockridge Venture Law
- HQ Raleigh
- NC State Business Sustainability Collaborative
This post was originally published in Entrepreneurship News.