A Cloud Solution for Resumes Takes the Top Prize at UTD’s Annual Big Idea Competition

UT Dallas' largest startup pitch competition allowed six student teams to present their business ideas. See who took home the prize money.

From affordable and applicable STEM products for everyday life to a dating app that equips user with a wingman and encourages in-person interactions, UTD students presented a variety of startup ideas during Tuesday’s Big Idea Competition.

The University of Texas at Dallas’ Big Idea Competition, held by the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE), gives students the opportunity to develop and pitch their most innovative business ideas. Launched in 2007, the BIC has quickly become one of North Texas’s largest university startup competitions. 

The BIC is one of a variety of programs and events that the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE) offers for students, faculty, alumni and the community. Last year’s competition had over 250 applicants willing to pitch—one in three were women—and $115,000 was given away to winning startup pitches. Over 1,200 people attended the 2018 Big Idea Competition. 

Last year’s BIC winner, Brian Hoang, came back this year to show how far he has come since the competition. Hoang, CEO and co-founder of SurviVR, has raised over $100,000 in funding and has been awarded the 2018 Texas Business Hall of Fame scholarship. 

IDA is a platform for female entrepreneurs to connect to mentors, investors, and resources digitally. This increases the accessibility female founders have and makes the journey of growing or launching a business more direct and easier. [Photo: Courtesy UTD]

The “Shark Tank”-style pitch competition brings undergrad and graduate students together to pitch to a panel of esteemed judges for an opportunity to win cash and scholarship awards. This year, six student teams were selected to participate:

  • OhmMaker: A STEM education startup inspiring middle and high school students with engineering project kits that are applicable to everyday lives.
  • IDA: A platform to help female entrepreneurs achieve their business goals that uses AI for personalized insights and consistent progress.
  • Comely: A dating/social hybrid designed for people who believe in-person is the best way to gauge chemistry.
  • CodAR: An augmented reality platform for learning and evaluating technical skills.
  • ResumePuppy: A cloud solution that ensures resumes not only look good, but also move past an initial screening.
  • Access My Research: A nonprofit social platform connecting one’s research with the world.

The six teams presented their companies in front of a panel of judges, which included Shiza Shahid, CEO and co-founder of the Malala Fund with Nobel Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai. 

“I would hope to offer students who are presenting any insight that helps them navigate the [tough parts] of it a little better—the stress, the anxiety,” Shahid told Dallas Innovates before the competition. She encouraged each student to “fail upwards.”

Shahid, while talking about companies formed by a homogenous group of people, spoke about the importance of UTD’s diverse campus.

“I really admire the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation that exists here. This is such a diverse campus,” she said. “People coming here are really looking to master a skill.” 

The other judges were Dayakar Puskoor, founder and managing partner at Naya Ventures; Samantha Colletti, SVP at Silicon Valley Bank; Eric Ho, director of strategic initiatives at Capital One Financial Services; and Chase Murphy, partner in the tax practice of Baker Tilly. The judges were responsible for determining the awards, which also included the Entrepreneurship Awards and UTDesign Startup Challenge award. 

Here’s who won.

Student Pitch Competition Awards

  • Grand Prize of $25,000 awarded to ResumePuppy
  • Third Prize of $5,000 to Access My Research

Entrepreneurship Awards

  • Innovate(her): $5,000 to Leg Up Legal
  • Biggest Social Impact: $5,000 to Rakkasan Tea Company
  • Biggest Idea: $5,000 to Access My Research

UTDesign Startup Awards

  • $15,000 to Beauty Tech
  • $20,000 to Fluid impluse

This article was updated on Dec. 4, 2019, to remove Ohm Maker from the list of winners. Ohm Maker was later disqualified from the competition and forfeited its $10,000 second-place winnings and $20,000 prize in the UTDesign Startup Challenge.

Get on the list.
Dallas Innovates, every day.

Sign up to keep your eye on what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth, every day.

One quick signup, and you’re done.
View previous emails.

R E A D   N E X T

  • UTD students, faculty, and alumni pitched their big ideas for a chance to win cash to push their ventures forward. New this year: Capital Factory presented the first-ever biotech+ challenge award. The event featured a closing conversation on the entrepreneurial ecosystem with long-time business partners Ross Perot Jr. and Anurag Jain.

  • UT Dallas' program brings "together innovative ideas with entrepreneurial spirit" among the student body and the faculty. In its first decade, the Department of Bioengineering has delivered novel innovations in med tech and digital health," says Dr. Shalini Prasad.

  • Plano-based Adaptive3D is a category leader in printed elastomers for additive manufacturing, competing in a $129B industry. So it's no wonder the Boston company snapped them up.

  • The DEC's Demetra Brown

    The DEC@Redbird, an entrepreneurial hub for Southern Dallas, wants to help local Black founders launch the next big idea in business. So it's offering BIG iDEA DALLAS, an intensive seven-week program to help propel them from an idea to "a successful, market-validated business concept."

  • Zirtue's Alternative Payment Solution—operating in stealth mode to Fortune 500 corporate partners since early 2021—is now open to all businesses for consumers to pay their bills. It's a "new level of convenience," CEO and Co-Founder Dennis Cail says: The product gives those who are struggling a way to lean on friends, family, and loved ones to make payments, while providing accountability and trust to the lender.