C-Safe wins $10,000 iLaunch competition
Updated: Feb 22, 2018
iLaunch is a $10,000 business plan competition consisting of a a 25 page business plan, letters of recommendation, and a 15 minute pitch to an investor panel.
On Friday the Texas Tech Innovation Hub at Research Park hosted the iLaunch Competition. The competition is an investor pitch designed to bring exposure and growth to startup companies, according to the Innovation Hub.
Three finalists were selected to be awarded at the event, which included C-Safe, Reproduction Solutions and Cheap Eats. C-Safe won the first prize award of $10,000, while Reproduction Solutions and Cheap Eats took home the second and third place prizes respectively.
C-Safe, a product designed to prevent the deaths of young children left in hot cars, was started during the Red Raider Idea competition by CEO Gage Dutkin after he heard about the death of a hospital CEO’s daughter due to being left alone in a hot car.
“This is a problem that happens across the country, and nothing is being done about it,” Dutkin said. I knew we could come up with a way to solve this problem, so we started C-Safe.”
The product Dutkin and his team developed is a weight-sensitive pad designed to fit underneath a car seat and connect to the user’s phone via Bluetooth, according to Dutkin. If the pad detects the weight of a child, a notification will be sent to the parent’s phone if they have left the vicinity of the pad for more than five minutes.
“We’re beyond excited.” Dutkin said. “The next step for us is the accelerator program this summer, and from there the long term goal is to make it onto Shark Tank, and work on our prototype. The future is bright for C-Safe.”
Second prize winner Reproduction Solutions, led by antrepreneurial leads Alex Branson and Cara Wessels, has developed a semen collection technology aimed at improving fertility rates for clinics across the nation. The current focus of the team is to gain U.S. Food and Drug Administration approvals and continue with production, Branson said.
“Being awarded (second place) today means hope for a lot of couples that struggle with infertility,” Wessels said. “It also means hope that we can get something that we worked really hard on in our lab and get it outside of our doors and into the hands of clinics and people needing the benefits of our technologies.”
Moving forward, the team is focused on keeping up the momentum they have gained from participating in the competition, Branson said.
“The main goal is getting this into the hands of the people who need it, and hopefully this will go a long way towards helping that.” Branson said.
Third prize winner Cheap Eats is an application that allows restaurants that have an excess of good food to sell it to people at a lower price. The goal of the app is to let restaurants recapture revenue that otherwise would have gone to waste and keep landfills from piling with wasted food.
“We didn’t think we had much of a shot going into it,” CEO Jared Steele said. “We just worked really hard and put a lot of nights into preparing this.”
Although surprised by the award, Steele said he is still determined to grow the startup moving forward.
“We have some transactions going on, and are continuing to look for future investments so we can scale up the app and grow it to reach other cities across the nation.” Steele said.