Robert J. Trulaske Sr., College of Business, University of Missouri

Mizzou Business News

Tiger Cage Pitch Competition awards $18,000 in seed funding

Looking to take the next innovative idea to further development, the six teams that presented at the Tiger Cage Pitch Competition covered topics including agriculture, travel, security, gaming and assistive technology.

Home pet healthcare startup House Collars received first place and $6,000 in funding. House Collars is a business founded in the Columbia, Mo., area by two University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine students, Wendy Evans and Kate McDaniel, and a Crosby MBA student Justin Plassmeyer who created an “Uberized” approach to delivering pet care from trained veterinary technicians to a pet owner’s home.

Agricultural software developer Quetza LLC, received second place and $5,000 in funding. This company designs and develops research-based educational software. They are committed to collaboration with subject-matter experts to deliver user-friendly, engaging, and effective software for use in the classroom, on the farm and in the lab. The Quetza team includes animal science doctoral candidate Maria Haag and animal science research analyst Justin Le Tourneau.

Travel and tourism mobile app Kolu received third prize and $4,000 in funding. Kolu is a mobile app that connects travelers with locally-based tour guides at their destination through their likes and travel interests. This team includes journalism seniors Riley De Leon and Emily Johnson, business senior Marin Meiners, and senior Alex Winkler.

Additionally, the other three teams, school security systems software developer SmartE Technologies, assistive technology developer EyeCYou, and competitive gaming networking platform gamerURL each received a surprise $1,000 in funding from competition judge Dave Spence, CEO and owner of Legacy Pharmaceutical Packaging and Mizzou alumnus.

“Tiger Cage is one of the ways Trulaske is showing how we are leading the way in entrepreneurship by nurturing our students’ ideas and providing them with the funding and resources needed to take those ideas to development and an eventual product launch,” said Rhonda Reger, M. Watkins Distinguished Professor and Management Department Chair. “I’m proud to see, not only the hard work and innovation of the students in all of the companies who presented today, but the eagerness and passion they show for their companies.”

The companies Kolu and EyeCYou are also both companies developed with the college’s Entrepreneurship Alliance Program.

In addition to Dave, judges for Tiger Cage included Mizzou alumni and Missouri business leaders: Brant Bukowsky, co-founder of Veterans United Home Loans, and Trulaske alumnus Larry Potterfield, founder and CEO of MidwayUSA.

The competition is a collaboration of the Department of Management and the Missouri Innovation Center. Many of the pitches began as companies originally brought to the workshops for Tiger Start Up starting in the fall 2017, where the startups were coached by Crosby MBA students Will Galvin, David Campos, Swati Gupta, Rebecca Hayes and Carlos Eduardo Pereira Passos. Funding for the prizes was provided by the University of Missouri System, the Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center and the Department of Management.

See photos of all of the teams here.