Student startup places second in Love’s Cup - The University of Tulsa
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Student startup places second in Love’s Cup

The University of Tulsa is pleased to announce that two students from the College of Engineering & Computer Science placed second in the 2024 Love’s Entrepreneur’s Cup High Growth Undergraduate Division.

Coleton Wheeler, a computer simulation and gaming senior, and Alec Izett, a computer engineering senior, earned $11,000 for successfully pitching their startup concept, ValuSnap. More than 50 teams from seven Oklahoma higher education institutions vied for top honors and a share of $158,000 in cash prizes and scholarships in this year’s competition.

“Through the Love’s Entrepreneur’s Cup, we received invaluable resources and advisement along with an amazing and insightful experience,” Wheeler said. “This journey took us from lost engineering students to transforming our ideas into reality. Placing second in this competition was a great honor that I never could have imagined, and it would not have been possible without the support of the TU community.”

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the Love’s Entrepreneur’s Cup is a statewide collegiate business plan competition that simulates the real-world process of researching a market, writing a business plan, and making a presentation to potential investors. Through its history, 2,855 students have participated, showcasing over 870 innovative ideas and receiving $2.6 million in awards. The program is sponsored by Love’s Travel Stops and administered by i2E, a private, not-for-profit corporation focused on growing innovative small businesses in Oklahoma and positively impacting the state’s economy.

“Coming from technical backgrounds, this was our first experience in crafting a business plan, developing mock company financials, conducting thorough target market research, and delivering a comprehensive pitch,” said Izett. “Going into the competition, we held no specific expectations. Our focus was on giving our best effort, absorbing as much knowledge as possible, and appreciating the journey itself. Coleton and I are thrilled to thank TU for their tremendous support during the competition. We truly couldn’t have gotten our podium position without their help.”

Wheeler and Izett’s concept was for ValuSnap, a startup company designed to simplify the process of pricing items for resale by utilizing image AI software to evaluate accurate pricing information for items just by taking a photo.

“Alec Izett and Coleton Wheeler are great examples of the type of students the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship support,” said Chris Wright, director of the center, which is based in UTulsa’s Collins College of Business. “Alec and Coleton entered their idea in the Hurricane Pitch Competition last October, and although they did not place in the top three, they were selected as a finalist. They kept working on their concept and fine-tuning their ideas and entered the Love’s Entrepreneur’s Cup in the spring. Their hard work paid off with second place in the Undergraduate High Growth Division.”