Students Get $185K in Funding for Fledgling Businesses at UT Arlington’s MavPitch Competition

UT Arlington students have bright business ideas—from hydrogen-powered drones to 3D-printed concrete homes to K-pop themed T-shirt lines. The university shone a light on 10 of them—along with $185,000 in total funding—at the finale of the MavPitch Business Competition.

“We use the generous awards and other resources to encourage, grow, and mentor these fledgling student-run firms,” says UTA's Jeffrey McGee.

From hydrogen-powered drones to personalized finance apps, ideas from UT Arlington students took the stage for the finale of the university’s MavPitch Business Competition.

In front of a largely standing room-only audience at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Innovation, students pitched their emerging business ideas, with 10 of them taking home a collective $185,000 in funding from UT Arlington’s Maverick Entrepreneur Program and Award Fund.

“We use the generous awards and other resources to encourage, grow, and mentor these fledgling student-run firms,” Jeffrey McGee, management professor and Maverick Entrepreneur Fellow, said in a statement.

Fostering student entrepreneurship

Aimed at helping students explore and execute business ideas, the MavPitch competition is divided into two phases. In the first, all students at the university are able to apply with a three-minute pitch video. The “highest caliber” of those are selected to make another pitch in the hopes of moving on to the second phase, which involves multiple weeks of mentorship, coaching, business planning formulation, and access to additional resources.

The MavPitch competition was first held in the fall of 2018, established as a way to help student entrepreneurs bring their business ideas to fruition. Since then, more than 1,000 students have participated in the program, with more than 100 of them landing nearly $1.4 million, collectively.

Meet the prize winners from the recent MavPitch competition (descriptions provided by UT Arlington):

  • WeWant App ($25,000)—Led by Zuriel Lopez, the app will offer a way to establish direct communication between mobile ice cream vendors and customers with the primary goal of bridging the gap between ice cream trucks and ice cream lovers all around the country.
  • Harbor Homes ($25,000)—Created by Bodie Chisum and Ryan Scott, Harbor Homes is a cutting-edge housing company bringing cost-effective housing to an oversaturated market. The firm combines pre-fabricated design with cross-laminated timber to manufacture durable and expandable designs. Homebuyers can purchase the house they need and grow into the home they want with the modular systems.
  • Blueplan8 Flight ($25,000)—Formed by Mahinder Singh, the company produces hydrogen-powered drones designed for powerline inspection. These drones can remain aloft three times longer than battery-powered ones, making the inspection process more efficient and faster. The only emission is water, so the drones are also environmentally friendly.
  • Vicious Creatures ($25,000)—Launched by Luz Lopez, Vicious Creatures is an online shop that combines K-pop and rock music into uniquely designed T-shirts. The target market includes fans, people who love the designs, and anyone who just wants to wear something comfortable.
  • Von Perry ($25,000)—Led by Treyvon Perry, Von Perry is a company that uses 3D-printing technology to design and build homes.
  • Apex Robotics ($25,000)—Created by Kashish Dhal, Apex Robotics develops customized autopilot software solutions for drones to provide repeatable and scalable inspections/mapping services for oil and gas industries, nuclear power plants, and public safety departments.
  • Increscent ($25,000)—Launched by Parimal Patel, Increscent is a 3D-printing solutions company that provides 3D printer users with the tool to build the highest quality filament and polymer-based products.
  • Dal Lam ($5,000)—Another business established by Scott and Chisum, Dal Lam produces cross-laminated timber panels designed for a sustainable and safer job site. It strives to provide a high-quality, sustainable wood product that arrives pre-engineered and fabricated, ready to be installed. The company’s product lines give consumers quality construction products that improve speed, durability, and cost savings.
  • Continuum Senior Communities ($5,000)—Formed by Mark Byars, Continuum provides state-of-the-art Alzheimer’s care by bringing health management technology to residential facility care. The company’s cutting-edge sensor technology gathers and processes living activity data for daily use, integrating up-to-the-minute health information provided to family, physicians, and care staff to make the best decisions for loved ones. Continuum is the next generation of residential care for families enduring the struggles of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Will Fi (Award to be determined)—Led by a group made up of Rachit Agarwal, Aman Singh, and Priyesh Gandho, Will Fi is a personal finance app that helps clients save, invest, and optimize their spending for a better future.


This year’s competition was judged by Molly Sandlin, founder and president of CAET Project Management; Evelyn Torres, CEO of Solaris Technologies Services; Rusty Mensch, president of CFD International; Hari Vasudevan, founder and CEO of Think Power Solutions; and Srini Gorty, founder of VergeVentures.

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