OMNIS wins Halloween business idea pitch competition

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In the fourth annual Halloween pitch contest, hosted by the New Venture Accelerator and Herbert College of Business, 19 teams competed for $5,000 in seed funding before a panel of professional industry judges at the Broadway Event Space and Theater took place.

When the scores were tallied, OMNIS emerged victorious and received $2,000 of the prize pool. OMNIS is a crowdsourced social platform where individuals can borrow money through community and peer-to-peer short-term microcredit and where others can borrow money to meet their immediate needs.

Zakariya Veasy, a senior specializing in software development, founded OMNIS to address the problem of those with limited credit histories being marginalized by traditional banks and taken advantage of by predatory payday loan companies. “Far too often, the banked and unbanked are forced to turn to high-yield payday loans to stay afloat at an average of 400% interest,” Veasy said. “The value proposition for OMNIS users is that it builds credit for demographics that are underserved and overlooked. With OMNIS, users are building community financial literacy and closing the generational wealth and credit gaps across the country.”

Other teams that received funding were:

  • Rodopto, founded by Scott Rowe, uses drones to grow crops that can be converted into renewable diesel fuel and received $1,000.

  • Stretch & Go, founded by Josh Green and Tristin Pettus, is a $500 device that provides the critical method for stretching the hamstring

  • BAE, founded by William Murphy and Avery Arasin, is an app that allows students to connect with other students within their own university ecosystem and received $500

  • AbGlo, founded by Marianne Madsen, Holli Michaels and Courtney Montague, is a physical fitness device that provides visual feedback on correct lumbar spine posture and received a $1,000 Special Category Award from the Thomas Walter Center for Technology Management.

The Halloween Business Idea Pitch Competition discovers and rewards early-stage products, services or business concepts developed by students at Auburn University. Last year’s winner, Room2Room Movers, founded by recent Harvard graduate Brooks Fuller, is currently enjoying considerable market success.

Special recognition and appreciation goes to the judges who supported this year’s competition:

  • Sherina Hill, business coach for entrepreneurs

  • Tim Denison, President, GDI LLC

  • Ebony Ruffin, Ruffin Consulting Services

  • Larkin Jones, Small Business Development Center in Alabama

  • Ralph Runge, RSquare Consulting, Inc.

  • Jason Wilson, Back Forty Beer

  • Ken Evola, PwC Chief Executive, PwC

The feedback that competing teams share each year is that while the prize money is important, the insights and offerings of alumni support that help them in their longer-term business planning efforts are by far the most valuable parts of the experience. It proves once again that Auburn people keep coming back and always giving back.

Congratulations to all teams that participated in the Halloween Pitch Competition 2022: Atlas Esports – AbGlo – BAE – Balance Buddy – Bridal Jeans – Drop Out Flags – Flavivirus Resource Center – Gym Rat U – HyperTransport – Kaopetronite – LoLo Baking – Menu Match – OMNIS – Plainsman Financial Consulting – Rodopto – Seat Key – Stretch & Go – Tennis Taps – Your tomorrow is today.

NEXT APPEARANCE: Tiger Cage, where startup companies compete for $50,000 in seed money!

Applications to participate in Tiger Cage must be submitted by November 16th, with the competition starting on January 27th.

Click here to register for Tiger Cage or contact Lou Bifano, Director of the New Venture Accelerator, at [email protected] for more information.

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