UT Longhorn Pitch Showcase Winner Puts Power in Your Shoe

By SUSAN LAHEY
Reporter with Silicon Hills News

CEO Darla Hollander of Everywhere Energy

CEO Darla Hollander of Everywhere Energy

Everywhere Energy won the UT Longhorn pitch competition Saturday morning at SXSW.

The company uses “a commercially available material” to collect kinetic energy through a shoe insert that can later be used to charge a cell phone.

CEO Darla Hollander said the technology was originally devised by Stanford Research Institute and used by the Defense Research Projects Agency. It was determined that it could not generate enough energy to make it worthwhile for DARPA to pursue, but with the small amount of power needed to charge today’s cell phones, it is worthwhile for consumers. The company hopes to build something discreet that can be used by people wearing various footwear options, including people in third world countries where sandals are the norm.

“The only thing keeping people tethered to their desks,” said COO Melinda Haghighatian, is the need for power. The company’s tagline is “Be Your Own Battery” @everywherenergy.

The UT Longhorn Startup Showcase featured some of the top startup ideas coming out of the University of Texas. The winner won a trophy and membership in ATI’s Development portfolio.

20140308_102938-1Other companies that competed include Prepify, which offers free, online, gamified SAT prep to students. The company cited research that students who do SAT prep fare significantly better than students who don’t, but only students from families with the financial resources tend to take SAT prep. Meanwhile colleges and universities are all looking for top students in lower socioeconomic brackets. Prepify will sell leads on these students for $500 each, which is less than a fourth what colleges and universities typically pay for marketing per student.

This week the College Board announced that it would change the SAT’s, removing the essay requirement, simplifying the language and dropping the scoring from the 2,400 point back to 1600, as well as offering free prep. Prepify co-founder Joseph Bartolotta said the company would have to pivot some in response to the announcement but he expects the College Board to be slow to implement its test prep and that the prep will not be available outside the U.S. So Prepify might target foreign students.

Retell is a mobile app that lets consumers give feedback to retail establishments via mobile devices. While some companies, like Whole Foods, already have in-store solutions to let consumers give feedback but they have to go to a kiosk, rather than using their own devices when and where they want.

Recommenu is an app that allows customers to pull up menus from restaurants nearby to decide where to eat or what to eat once they arrive. Necto Net Contact Management integrates technology with business contact management. QR codes and software for business people with multiple business identities who wear numerous hats.

Judges for the event included Bob Metcalfe, Kyle Cox, Michael Cider, Ben Dyer, Ken Demarest and Rob Warren. Rudy Garza emceed. Christina White of NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program hosted.

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