While five ACC teams battle it out in the NCAA Tournament, 19 ACC teams of a different sort made their pitch in the Startup Madness tournament in Bay 7 at American Tobacco Wednesday evening.
Student entrepreneurs from ACC schools competed for their startup businesses to be chosen as Startup Madness Champion. From 19, the Elite Eight were chosen: UNC’s GiftBoogle, Florida State’s MoolaGuides, Boston College’s Wantcastr, Miami’s Cohealo, Georgia Tech’s MeKong Green Technology, University of Virginia’s TeeGee, Clemson’s Mushroom Mountain and Duke’s NeuroSpire.
Each entrepreneur and his team (if present) then gave a two-minute pitch to the judges and audience about their business, and took questions. Every pitch was well played, and it looked like it could be anybody’s game.
But the judges gave their Final Four: Tom Giedgowd’s TeeGee took fourth, MeKong Green placed third, and Mushroom Mountain nabbed second.
Mark Slaugher’s Cohealo, a business designed to build more smarter health systems, won the trophy, which happened to be a $5,000 check donated by Steve Vanderwoude.
But, unlike the NCAA tourney, there was a second winner. Representing North Carolina schools, Jake Stauch’s Neurospire, a startup that uses neuroscience and brain imaging technology to recognize the reactions that a consumer’s brain has for market research, also took home a $5,000 check courtesy of NC IDEA.
Win or lose, we’re pretty sure that those young entrepreneurs are watching some basketball games right about now.