University of Tulsa team AerOcean took top honors in the graduate high growth division of the 2015 Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup collegiate business plan competition. Winners were announced during a gala Thursday, April 16, at the Bricktown Events Center in Oklahoma City. Gov. Mary Fallin presented awards to each winning team.
The Governor’s Cup simulates the process of creating a business plan and pitching the idea to potential investors. Three TU teams advanced to the presentation round of the competition. TU team PuraDyne advanced in the high growth undergraduate division, and TU teams EncrypTech and AerOcean advanced in the high growth graduate division.
AerOcean was one of five interview winners in the first round. TU students Austin Evans and Joshua Donaldson were awarded $5,000 Paulsen Award scholarships by the Oklahoma Business Roundtable.
Thirty-six teams from universities and colleges across Oklahoma submitted business plans for the first round of the competition. Twenty-three teams were selected to compete in the oral presentation rounds on April 10 and 11 in Oklahoma City. The students had 20 minutes to present their business concepts to a panel of local investors, after which they spent 15 minutes answering questions.
AerOcean, a product developed by TU that substantially reduces watering and irrigation costs in the agriculture industry by using the condensation of moisture already present in the atmosphere, is led by MBA student Philip McCoy and includes MBA/law student Joshua Donaldson, mechanical engineering junior Jared Starkweather and mechanical engineering sophomore Gann Swan. AerOcean’s faculty adviser is Todd Otanicar, assistant professor of mechanical engineering. The team was awarded $20,000 for its first place win. AerOcean will compete against the top teams from Arkansas, Nevada and Oklahoma at the Tri-State Award competition May 27-28 in Las Vegas.
In 2014, TU students took top honors in both the undergraduate and graduate divisions for the second consecutive year. Owlpal Healthcare and Valoshade placed first and second, respectively, in the undergraduate division. TU team AeroHead placed first in the graduate division. Owlpal was awarded $30,000 for taking top prize at the 2014 Tri-State competition.
The Oklahoma Governor’s Cup is managed by technology company i2E Inc. and is underwritten by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation and more than two dozen sponsors.