A recent LSU electrical engineering graduate walked away with the top prize at Thursday night’s 2015 Pitch Night competition for his idea to create an online scientific community through which users can upload and share the results of science experiments.
Matthew Loupe was one of 16 aspiring entrepreneurs who presented business plans to a panel of judges at the annual competition, which was presented by SeNSE and marked the climax of Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week.
Ironically, Loupe did not initially intend to present his idea for what he calls “a Wikipedia for Science Experiments”
“I saw the BREW thing and I just wanted to go to meet people,” he says. “I sat in the back and they were asking who wants to be involved and at some point I was thinking, ‘I could do this next year and do it this year as a rehearsal’ and then my thought was ‘There is no rehearsal.’ ’’
So Loupe jumped in and quickly advanced through the rounds. As he did so, he asked the audience and the judges for their ideas to contribute to his pitch. By the last round, his concept had evolved from a website for science research to a scientific community hub for people to upload and share scientific data.
“I want this website to be easy to use … a Wikipedia for science experiments for anybody with any level of intellect,” he says. “People can post experiments and their data and others can comment on it or try the same thing and post their results.”
Finishing second in the final round was Amy Phillips, who designed the Makeup Bag App. It keeps track of expiration dates and sales on beauty products. Also in the final round were LSU seniors and Tiger Band members Daniel Wendt and Garrett Kessling, who designed a cell phone mount to replace sheet music flip books for marching bands, and Earl Geoghegan with a kitchen tool that makes opening oysters easier.
Judges for the event were President and CEO of the Research Park Corporation Byron Clayton, CEO and co-founder of eMoneyPool, Francisco Cervera, and Jeffrey Cherry, founder of Baltimore-based Conscious Venture Labs.
Loupe’s first-place prize in the competition includes $1000, startup assistance from Louisiana Technology Park, Horne LLP, Emergent Method and Kean Miller, and a trophy shaped like a large glass pitcher. Loupe says he plans to start working out how to build the website soon.
Pitch Night was one of the last events of BREW, which kicked off Monday and ends today. On Thursday, BRAC hosted The Big Think, highlighted by presentations on how to find seed money and the revival of Haspel. Other events over the course of the week included the release Wednesday of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber’s 2016 economic outlook, Tuesday’s Rapid Rounds at LSU, and a Failure Fest where professionals shared their failures and lessons learned.