Utah Entrepreneur Challenge

Student Startup Wins $40K at Utah Entrepreneur Challenge

Mike Winder, Zions Bank’s Director of Entrepreneurship Programs Jul 1, 2016

Student startup Through the Cords, LLC, from the University of Utah won first place and the $40,000 grand prize at the annual Utah Entrepreneur Challenge on April 9. Its winning design of a tube enables medical professionals to more easily perform endotracheal intubation, a risky procedure used to reopen airways for patients unable to breathe on their own.

“Winning the grand prize was fabulous; really a great surprise,” Benjamin Fogg, one of the students on the winning team says. “The seed money will help us refine our prototype and begin the FDA approval process. I thank Zions Bank who made this possible.”

Other University of Utah students on the winning team, originally known as Runnels Endotracheal, include Mackenzie Hales and Samer Merchant. The grand prize was part of more than $100,000 in cash and in-kind prizes awarded to help students launch their businesses.

Other Winners

Winning the $5,000 best presentation award was Latitude, a Brigham Young University team that developed software providing a simple method to create audio tours for travelers. SenseTech, a startup that provides solar-powered modules that collect data for agricultural needs, earned $2,500 for the best technology award.

Other teams in the final eight included Conversature, a University of Utah startup that provides conversation analytics software aiming at improving sales; HOA Cloud, a software platform designed by BYU students to help homeowner associations communicate; Milky Hollow Farms, a Westminster College startup that produces high-quality dairy products using goat and sheep milk; Red Barn Collections, a Westminster College team who recycles used books to make journals; and Whistic, a BYU group who offers a cloud-based platform so organizations can quickly evaluate and manage security risks.

Competitors From Around the State

Student teams from Dixie State University, Snow College, Southern Utah University, Utah Valley University, Utah State University and Weber State University were also invited to compete in Salt Lake City. Twenty finalists were culled from more than 200 teams who competed in the annual statewide competition with business ideas ranging from custom snow goggles and software applications to robotic lighting systems and quilting kits.

The statewide business-plan competition is the culminating event of a number of student entrepreneur competitions hosted by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah and sponsored by Zions Bank. The Lassonde Institute is one of the top-ranked entrepreneur programs in the country, according to the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine.

Zions Bank is thrilled to once again support the top student entrepreneurship contest in the state. The innovation and companies that emerge each year make a real difference in Utah.

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