UO Dominates Pitch Stream

The first Saturday in May was a busy day! Not only was it the Kentucky Derby but it was also the Spring Scrimmage game for our football team (Oregon won). However, the most important event was the second annual Pitch Stream hosted by the Fertilab Thinkubator, a local resource network for the Eugene entrepreneurial community. Pitch Stream was held at the Wildish Theater in Springfield and awarded over $5000 in cash and prizes for the winners. 16 companies were selected to present a 7 minute pitch (3 minutes for Q & A) about the awesomeness of their value propositions. Kimmy Gustafson, last year’s winner, Fertilab community manager, and start up CEO, kept the event running smoothly and on time.  Not a small task for entrepreneurs.  Kimmy and her husband Nathan (both UO alms) started Manage My Co-Op, a software platform to ease the coordination of orders for buying clubs.  We were lucky enough to have our two MBA Venture Track teams complete: Cricket Flours and AirFit. I am not sure if it was the luck of the draw or a deliberate arrangement, but Charles B. Wilson started the contest off with a fantastic presentation promoting the health benefits of adding milled crickets to your diet and Cynthia Sandall ended the competition by introducing gyms in airports post security to increase your healthy options during layovers.  Capitalizing on primacy and recency effects, Cynthia took home the People’s Choice award and Charles Wilson took home the grand prize of $2500 in cash. Way to represent Oregon Entrepreneurship, teams!!

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Oregon is quite an outdoorsy and health conscious state. But, who says that work and travel need to get in the way of that?  Oregon MBAs and JDs see the potential for everyone to live healthy lives amongst the ever increasing busyness of our daily schedules.  Having the opportunity to exercise over layovers will disrupt the traditional use of time at major airports and help you not miss your daily workout.  And, using crickets as a source of protein in your everyday diet is not only more environmentally sustainable than traditional sources, but provides the opportunity for people to increase the protein and nutrient density in everyday foods.  (Don’t worry, the crickets are milled so fine you can’t even tell they are there.  Once you try it you will get over any ick factor you may have.  Trust me!)

The Entrepreneurship Center at the University of Oregon produces companies in all shapes and sizes. With help from the community, I know these teams will make it far! What is up next for these amazing ventures is the University of Texas at Austin Global Venture Labs Investment Competition held May 7-9, 2015.  Cricket Flours and AirFit will go up against the best graduate venture teams in the country. However, the academic framework, extensive faculty support of Nathan Lillegard and Al Cochrane, and individual drive will no doubt give our teams a fighting chance. If you are in Austin, swing on by the competition and introduce yourself. Who knows, you may be the next great Oregon Entrepreneur!

Written by Jenny Palm

Jenny a current Oregon MBA and Graduate Teaching Fellow in the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship. When she is not busy exploring how she can change the world, you can find her outside doing almost anything...especially finding that secret stash of powder on her skis! She has hopes to either help develop an awesome outdoor-oriented start-up or flex her organizational prowess in ski resort event operations.