The Louisiana Business & Technology Center held the first annual Student Incubator Venture Challenge on Friday, April 20, at the Lod Cook Alumni Center. The event showcased LSU student entrepreneurs and LBTC awarded $20,000 in seed capital for the growth of four ventures.
PhycoGenesis LLC won $7,500 for its algae technology company. Yellow Jacket, a personal defense weapon concealed inside a smartphone case, took home $5,500. BluReach, an online marketing company, and LocalMed LLC, medical software and application development firm, each won $3,500.
Yellow Jacket previously took first place at the Launch Fest SBN online pitch competition.
PhycoGenesis, led by Christian Lohrey and Nick Lemoine, won the top award with their company’s ability to grow organic algae to be used as a dietary supplement, animal feed or as an ingredient for such things as beer and bread. Lohrey and Lemoine hope to grope their business from the “nano-farm” on LSU’s South Campus to a three-acre “micro-farm” in 2013, producing 60,000 pounds per year. The founders want to tap into what they say is a $32 million a year market in the U.S.
In the final round of the Venture Challenge, each business presented its plan to a panel of judges in front of a live audience. The panel of judges included Cheri M. Ausberry, vice president and CRA business development officer at Capital One Bank; Richard Babb, partner and chief financial officer at Louisiana Fund I; Joseph F. Lovett, managing director of Louisiana Fund I; Robert C. “Bob” Tucker, partner at Jones Walker Law Firm; Stephen Toups, senior vice president and CIO of Turner Industries Group; and Bobby Yarborough, CEO and co-owner of Manda Fine Meats.
According to LBTC Student Incubator Director Jennifer Fowler, by giving students access to capital, this event is instrumental in retaining university graduates in Louisiana and creating jobs for the community.
Read more about the LSU Student Incubator here.