Clark Rides Away With Winning Pitch During The Hatch
Bowling Green State University student entrepreneurs presented their business ideas to alumni investors during The Hatch on April 19, vying for funds to launch their businesses in a format similar to the television show "Shark Tank." This year's Hatchlings represent two countries, four states and five colleges within the University. Their business ideas focus on everything from sports, childhood development and gerontology to nutrition, wearable technology and better animal care.
Equestrians with conditions that make the use of their hands difficult may soon have a much easier way to halter their horses, thanks to Hatch winner Sara Clark, whose Magnahalter™ received backing from Investors, including a BGSU alumnus in the audience. Clark’s horse halter replaces buckles and clasps with Velcro and magnets, making the equipment more accessible to equestrians of all abilities, as well as offering an easier way for people with arthritis or cold-weather gloves to put on and take off halters.
“The Hatch program was incredible and it pushed me farther than I thought I could go,” said Clark, who walked away with $30,000 in investments. “I never thought of myself as a business person; I’m an education major, but I learned so much through this.”
Also funded was Kristen Grom’s Power Play, an app-controlled dog toy that allows owners to control the toy from smart devices. It offers a new way for owners to interact with their dogs, especially owners who face mobility issues or want to encourage their dogs to exercise during undesirable weather. Investors backed her business with additional referral to business incubation for further development.
Investors also saw potential in Marikay Mester’s Bloomzoa, an app that makes childhood nutrition fun and interactive while providing educational tools to successfully manage dietary restrictions. Children create a virtual pet and customize it to mirror any dietary needs the children might have in real life.
Meet the other 2018 Hatchlings and find out how they did.
Rachael Poling pitched Rehabiligait, a wearable device that is an early detector of geriatric diseases. By analyzing the way people walk to identify neurological defects, the device can help detect health issues sooner, creating a better quality of life for individuals affected by these diseases. An investor in the audience pledged funding for Poling to further develop her business idea through business incubation.
Isaac Rogers' business is Tabs, a web-based, interactive game for children with chronic diseases. The game is an incentive system to motivate children to learn good health habits like taking medication on time and completing specific treatments. It also has a social aspect where children interact and compete with other children who have the same chronic disease. Investors supported Rogers' idea.
Hannah Barth and Elyse Blau
This team created Pop-Up Palace, a play structure that is easily assembled, disassembled and modified to reflect a child's changing developmental needs. Although investors said they were intrigued, they felt the team needed to refine the idea and further analyze the product's target market. Barth and Blau were the crowd favorite, however, in live voting.
Nick Bundy and Jacob Hauter
Bundy and Hauter's pitch, Saflee, is a hybrid of a traditional safe and a disaster kit, making it easy to grab survival products like ponchos and water purification tablets, along with family heirlooms and important documents. Investors said they liked the concept but more research was needed to determine market potential, and they declined to back it financially.
Olivier Ernst pitched Suppleo, a supplement dispenser designed for athletic and workout environments. By dispensing pre-measured supplements and flavors into cups of water, it allows coaches and athletes to easily organize and track supplement use. Investors recommended business development advice and pledged advice from their own contacts to determine the viability of Ernst’s business idea.
This is the sixth year for the event in which alumni investors make equity investments providing real money for students to launch real businesses. To date, more than $500,000 has been committed to student startups.
The student entrepreneurs, called Hatchlings, come to this night after being paired with mentors, mostly BGSU alumni, for several weeks. The mentors coach the students' business ideas, plans and presentations. The culminating event is streamed to Hatch Watch parties across the U.S. and around the world.