Seismos, a services company that provides real-time analysis of oil and gas flows, won the 2013 Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition (TVLIC) hosted by The University of Texas at Austin's McCombs School of Business. At the Feb. 8-9 competition, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, teams whose members came from disciplines across the campus pitched a record 37 startup companies to panels of experienced venture capital investors and entrepreneurs.
As TVLIC winner, Seismos will represent The University of Texas at Austin in this year's Global Venture Labs Investment Competition (GVLIC), to be held in Austin on May 2-4. The GVLIC features 40 teams that have won similar competitions at other business schools worldwide.
Seismos also earned an automatic berth to the UT Horizon Fund Student Investment Competition, the opportunity to join the Texas Venture Labs Accelerator and a Launch Package from the Austin Technology Incubator that includes one year of strategic business consulting services and mentoring from a team of industry experts, as well as office space and access to discounted business services. The next steps for Seismos' leaders include finalizing their licensing arrangements and continuing to validate their concept with potential customers.
In evaluating the student ventures, TVLIC reviewers used the same process and asked the same questions they would of any entrepreneur. A new feature for 2013 was selecting the winner based on the level of investment the judges were prepared to make. The judges' panel included Austin Technology Incubator director Isaac Barchas, Morgan Flager of Silverton Partners, Shelley Hossenlopp of Spot On Sciences, Datical co-founder and CTO Robert Reeves and retired venture capitalist Jerry Sullivan, formerly with Adams Capital Management.
Participants gave high marks to the reviewers. "The judges' feedback was incredibly valuable. I was impressed and grateful with their level of engagement, which was high both before and during the competition," said Panos Adamopoulos of the Seismos team.
"The judges really appreciated that Seismos was offering a cost-effective and compelling solution to a very large problem," said Rob Warren, assistant director of the Texas Venture Labs and director of the TVLIC, "and in the end that is why they were able to win decisively."
Other ventures participating in the finals were:
- EduSex. Presented by Cockrell School of Engineering student Harry Lindner, this venture offers a novel online method for nervous parents to discuss sex education with their children.
- BeatBox Beverages. Developed by Aimy Steadman, Justin Fenchel, Daniel Singer and Jason Schieck from the university's MBA program, this venture will market a new alcohol beverage targeted at the millennial generation.
- Intelligent Menu. This mobile-based software application helps restaurants become smarter by providing real-time feedback on a customer's experience. It was presented by Jordache Johnson, Ronald Miller and Tanya Mack from the Master of Science in Technology Commercialization (MSTC) program.
- GluTact. This venture is developing a contact lens to measure blood glucose, based on technology developed at the University of Washington. The venture was presented by Deepika Gajaria, Kirya Francis and Matthew Poplawski from the MSTC program.
About the Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs
The Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs (TVL) is an entrepreneurship initiative that serves The University of Texas at Austin as well as the local entrepreneur and investor communities. TVL is home to the Texas Venture Labs Accelerator, a startup accelerator pairing graduate students pursuing degrees in business, law, engineering and the natural sciences with startup companies; the Venture Labs Investment Competition, composed of the annual Texas and Global competitions; and New Venture Creation, a hands-on course in which students develop and refine their business ideas.