UTA’s Innovation Day 2017 to showcase student “Shark Tank”- style competition, student and faculty startup pitches

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 • Media Contact : Louisa Kellie

The University of Texas at Arlington will feature a high school and college student “Shark Tank”-style competition, student and faculty startup pitches and posters, and a showcase of community startup companies and services for entrepreneurs at its annual InnovationDay@UTA, 8:40 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday Feb. 6, at the E.H. Hereford University Center, 300 W. First St., in Arlington.

“UTA is rapidly becoming a focal point for innovation in the North Texas region, not only for our faculty and students but for the surrounding community as well,” said Duane Dimos, UTA’s vice president for research.

“I would encourage everyone interested in entrepreneurship or investing in startups to watch the different pitches and join in our expert panels and networking session. We already have more than 300 registrations, including several members of our local government and business community, so we expect strong participation across the board,” he added. 

High School Students participating in the last Innovation Day

Sixteen high school teams from Dallas, Garland, Crowley, Arlington and Grand Prairie have registered for the morning “Shark Tank”-style competition, and will pitch their solutions to real-life problems and basic working prototypes of new products or technologies to a panel of judges. Two UTA collegiate teams also are participating.

Shark Tank is a popular TV reality show where budding entrepreneurs pitch their product or idea to a panel of millionairs and billionaires that they hope will invest in their project.

During the morning, there also will be a showcase of resources for startups like local patent lawyers or organizations like UTA’s EpIC Mavs, 1 Million Cups and House of Genius, that organize entrepreneurship workshops, pitch sessions and support systems for the startup community. Several local startups also will be present to discuss their offerings.

The luncheon keynote speaker is Michael Chaffin, a UTA alumnus and business partner of Mark Cuban. He has led high-priority initiatives to redesign all aspects of organizations, from startups to Fortune 500 companies and will discuss his personal experience and advice for new entrepreneurs. Space is limited for the luncheon. Pre-registration is required at utainnovation.com.

Robot at the last Innovation Day

The afternoon program includes an expert panel to discuss entrepreneurship and a series of startup pitches by companies associated with UTA, including:

  • AbeXXa Biologics, a start-up life science company that is focused on research and development of novel antibody therapeutics for the treatment of cancer. The company recently won an award at an Innovation Day at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • VisioSound, a software company developing Visual Accent Trainer, is the first app that will focus specifically on helping users to obtain a perfect pronunciation of any sound in supported foreign languages, using cutting-edge technology. 
  • SolGro, an agricultural research startup, which is developing a cutting-edge technology to increase crop yields by 200 to 400 percent. It converts the 60 percent of the light spectrum unused by plants into light that can be used for photosynthesis, the basis of plant growth.  
  • Gozova, an on-demand application that connects a person with a truck when they need it. The company aims to offer an affordable and exceptional service that solves the problem of not owning a truck.
  • UTA Connection/Campus Glue, a mobile app that allows students who create profiles to virtually meet other people in their classes and see if they share common interests. The app also provides users with tools such as academic and events calendars, information on student discounts and the ability to chat with fellow classmates about assignments, study sessions and other topics.
  • SnapRyde, a flexible and innovative platform that allows users to find people with common destinations to find a ride. SnapRyde uses a custom and highly innovative driver-rider matching algorithm.

“This comprehensive event demonstrates that we are well on the way to creating an innovation ecosystem linked to UTA that supports all local entrepreneurs,” said Teri Schultz, director of UTA’s Office of Technology Management and organizer of this event. “UTA aims to provide the glue among all the different stakeholders and provide real support for the startup companies across our region.”

Register and see the detailed schedule at: http://www.utainnovation.com

The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a Carnegie Research-1 “highest research activity” institution. With a projected global enrollment of close to 57,000, UTA is one of the largest institutions in the state of Texas. Guided by its Strategic Plan 2020 Bold Solutions|Global Impact, UTA fosters interdisciplinary research and education within four broad themes: health and the human condition, sustainable urban communities, global environmental impact, and data-driven discovery. UTA was recently cited by U.S. News & World Report as having the second lowest average student debt among U.S. universities. U.S. News & World Report ranks UTA fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as the top four-year college in Texas for veterans on Military Times’ 2017 Best for Vets list.