SOLarchitect Takes $50,000 Top Prize at The Big Idea 2012

The culminating event of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week on Friday was The Big Idea pitch competition presented by Iberia Bank and The Idea Village. The event attracted a crowd of over 1,000 people to the courtyard at Manning’s restaurant in New Orleans to hear pitches from nineteen local start-ups.

After an hour and a half of hearing quick pitches from the start-up founders on the event floor, attendees each had a $50 chip to turn in to support what they deemed the best Big Idea. The chips were counted and Chapter Spot, SOLarchitect, and Be Well Nutrition were selected as finalists to pitch in front of a celebrity panel including James Carville, Mary Matalin, Irvin Mayfield, and USA Today tech writer Jon Swartz. Mayor Mitch Landrieu was also present and local newscasters Fletcher and Travers Mackel kept the audience entertained as co-hosts.

SOLarchitect won the final vote by the panel and took home the $50,000 grand prize. Their product is a web application to inform homeowners about the potential for solar energy use on their property. Their “what if” statement on the entry flyer was:

WHAT IF every homeowner in America could quickly and accurately assess how much solar energy their home could produce, how much solar panels would cost them, and how long to expect to see a return on their investment, without ever talking to a human being?

Scott Oman, co-founder of SOLarchitect said, “We felt like we had a good shot but the competition was pretty impressive. We know what we are working on is a game-changer for our industry and it was great explaining what we do to such a huge number of people and get so much positive feedback.”

The company has big plans for the $50,000 prize including bringing continued development of their product from offshore to a New Orleans-based software company.

Follow SOLarchitect on twitter @SOLarchitects or check them out on Facebook here.

Overall the event was a great success for the local entrepreneurial community and a pitch-perfect ending to New Orleans Entrepreneur Week 2012. Check out some of the pictures tweeted during the event below: