Meet the 10 Finalists of the UTD Big Idea Competition, Pitching Live on May 19

From an automated fish feeder to AI-driven construction to a therapeutic vest and more, the finalists will pitch their innovative concepts on May 19 at Blackstone Launchpad. The original date was rescheduled due to weather.

They'll be competing for $170,000 in cash and scholarship prizes.

Ten finalists in the UT Dallas Big Idea Competition are preparing for their momentous opportunity to pitch their groundbreaking concepts live before an esteemed panel of judges. Scheduled to take place on May 19 at the university’s campus, the finals competition promises to showcase ingenuity and entrepreneurial acumen.

Open to alumni, current students, and faculty researchers, the Big Idea Competition offers a total of $170,000 in cash and scholarship prizes, making it a sought-after platform for aspiring innovators. The event is hosted by the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, an interdisciplinary division of the Naveen Jindal School of Management at UT Dallas.

The competition was initially slated for a date in April but had to be rescheduled due to adverse weather conditions. Now, the finalists await the opportunity to present their ideas at the Blackstone Launchpad on the UT Dallas campus. From 2:30 to 5 p.m., they will captivate the audience with their concepts and vie for the chance to win.

The keynote speaker will be Good Morning Texas host Hannah Davis.

Big Idea 2023 judges

This year’s Big Idea Competition features a lineup of judges who are likely to be familiar to many Dallas Innovates readers. 

The judges include Veena Somareddy, CEO at NeuroRehabVR; Jeff Williams, partner at Interlock Partners; Annabel Reeves, private wealth advisor at Goldman Sachs; Jillian Levovitz, Femhealth Insights;  George Brody Tie Angel Network; and investor Dennis Dayman. 

The Big Idea Competition 2023, which was rescheduled due to a weather event in April, will be hosted at Blackstone Launchpad from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m on May 19. 

Meet the finalists

The finalists represent diverse tracks within the competition, showcasing a range of innovative ideas and solutions. Descriptions are provided by UT Dallas.

Student Track

Manta Systems – Tamara Marshall, MBA’24 / JSOM
Manta Systems is designing the first automated, app-enabled, frozen fish food feeder on the market.

Routora – Tom Vazhekatt, BS’24 Computer Science / ECS
Routora is a route planning solution that creates faster and more efficient multi-stop routes by optimally reordering a list of addresses to save you time and money on the road.

BuildQuota – Xavier Madison, MBA’23 / JSOM
BuildQuota is an AI-driven Construction Supplier Diversity Management software focused on simplifying the diversity compliance workflow for all stakeholders on projects, increasing job site productivity and minimizing risk of non-compliance.

Olive Tree Therapeutics – Madison Valdivia, BS’23 Biology / BBS
The Coupage Vest is a high-frequency, vibrating vest that is strapped firmly around the thoracic cavity of a patient to break up thick mucus in the lungs as a therapeutic modality for various upper respiratory illnesses.

Alumni Track

Catenate Corp – Sameer Ranjan, MS’20 Business Analytics / JSOM
Catenate’s AI-driven platform aids decision-making at every important node of human life. Our products built over this platform can assist school students in choosing the right career, professionals track, and improve their soft skills. People manage their well-being and individuals make wealth based on their risk profile.

EKUSO – Karlin Oei, BS’20 Finance / JSOM
Using the innovative EKUSO method, we merge education, gaming, and social-emotional learning to create innovative environments for those who feel left out. Our e-learning provider provides fully customized youth esports training programs for middle and high schools.

Creator Camp – Jacky Chao, BA’22 Animation / AHT
Creator Camp is an education technology company that is on a mission to empower children with hands-on creative-tech skills, while also making sure they have a lot of fun.

Technology Commercialization Track

OptiMIND – Chandramallika Basak – Associate Professor, Center for Vital Longevity / BBS
OptiMIND is a series of brain training games designed to enhance brain and cognition across the lifespan, ensuring that you stay sharp and focused at any age.

Kile Technology – Stefano Leonardi – Professor, Mechanical Engineering / ECS
Kile Technology is developing digital twins of wind farms to optimize power production, increase durability, and mitigate the risk of investment.

Think! LLC – Joseph Friedman, Associate Professor, NeuroSpinCompute Laboratory / ECS
Artificial intelligence processing units (AIPUs) that learn efficiently and autonomously.

Go here to register.

This story was updated on May 16, 2023, with new information about the rescheduled event. UT Dallas rescheduled a new date and time for the finals of the 2023 Big Idea Competition after unexpected weather forced classes and events to be canceled on April 26. 

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.  

R E A D   N E X T