FeaturedNewsLuxTurn Technologies takes home $20,000

StorySpread leaves as runner-up with $5,000 in fifth annual Stumberg Venture Plan competition
Jolie FrancisSeptember 19, 2019865 min
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Photo by Oliver Chapin-Eiserloh

Everyone was a winner at this year’s Louis H. Stumberg Venture Plan Competition, with two money prizes awarded, a tie for Fan Favorite, and a withdrawal from the competition. The grand prize winner was LuxTurn Technologies with StorySpread as runner up.

The fifth annual Stumberg Venture Plan Competition, held on Sept. 18 in the Ruth Taylor Recital Hall, had students from all majors and grades competing for the grand prize of $20,000. New this year, the grand prize winner was awarded $20,000 and the runner-up received $5,000.

The final round is composed of five finalists, chosen last spring during the Seed Round, who were each given $5,000 to refine their business concept over last summer. After that work, the finalists pitch their ideas at the Stumberg Venture Plan Competition.

This year, LuxTurn Technologies, founded by juniors Robert MaGee and Chris Stewart, received the grand prize of $20,000. Their company, which introduced a light-up turn signal that is attach to motorcycles. The product has a provisional patent, and the company already has 247 preorders.

“I’m most proud of how my partner and I went about working on all this. Going through and having this experience of having to work on my own company and work on it with someone who’s just as passionate about it all as I am — that’s what I’m most proud about and that’s what I’ll remember from all this,” MaGee said.

“I basically started over from square one during the summer, but it really gave me a lot of insight on what I wanted to do with my business, which is how it kind of evolved into what it is today. It was a lot of good information,” Frausto said.

Frausto tied with sophomore Andrew Koob, founder of Skate Cuff, for Fan Favorites of the night. Koob’s product is an attachable lock for your skateboard to secure it to bike racks. Both Koob and Frausto worked alone in their venture.

“It was a lot of work, but it’s been awesome. I know this product inside out because I designed it inside out. I know the market really well, too. I have an electric board that I ride essentially everywhere,” Koob said.

All the finalists were given seven minutes to present their ideas on stage, followed by 10 minutes of questions from the five judges. The last people to pitch their idea were sophomores Chryslyn Perkins and Bradley Sykes, the founders of heARTful, a non-profit organization that creates interactive art pieces for people with disabilities.

The pair relinquished their spot in the competition since they have already partnered with Inspire Fine Art Center, another non-profit in San Antonio.

“With the way we need to spend our time, as we are students, this would give us the opportunity to make sure that this vision lives on beyond what we are able to do. What’s really important is sustaining the vision, because we want to touch as many lives as we can and working through Inspire we think is the most full-proof way to make that happen,” Sykes said.

Four of the five judges are Trinity alumni, with Eric Stumberg, class of 1981, as the fifth judge. All of the judges are accomplished entrepreneurs and business professionals. Tiffany Chimal, class of 2007, Trinity alumna and one of the nights judges, explained the reasoning behind the final decisions.

“We really wanted to invest in the entrepreneur, not just the business model. We saw potential in all of them, but we felt like with the two that we gave some funding to, we felt like that would bring them to the next stage. With StorySpread, they’re going to be able to continue and hire people to build a great product. And with LuxTurn, they already know how to sell the product, they already have sales,” Chimal said.

Luis Martínez, director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, hopes that every member of the Trinity community will become more entrepreneurial.

“Our mission is to make every student, faculty, staff and alumni more innovative and more entrepreneurial, so that’s why it’s open to every Trinity student. We think that every Trinity student can be innovative, we think every Trinity student can be an entrepreneur, we think every Trinity student has a desire to start something, and so our job is to support that. It’s one of the really unique things that Trinity does,” Martínez said.

Applications for the Stumberg Seed Round will open Nov. 1 and will close in late January or early February. Applications can be submitted at trinity.startuptree.co.

The runners-up of the night were sophomores Chikanma Ibeh and Wren Ramos, awarded with $5,000 to put towards their company StorySpread. StorySpread is a comic book software that teaches children reading and writing skills through storytelling.

“I came up with this idea in seventh grade because I couldn’t draw and I wanted to create my own story and express myself creatively, so I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to do that. Stumberg has allowed me to,” Ibeh said.

Competitor junior Estella Marie Frausto created her own website, mariachimercado.com, to book mariachi bands. With the revenue from the website, she hopes to eventually open a mariachi music program, called La Escuela de Estella. Before the summer training, Frausto had no plans for a website, just for the music program.

“I basically started over from square one during the summer, but it really gave me a lot of insight on what I wanted to do with my business, which is how it kind of evolved into what it is today. It was a lot of good information,” Frausto said.

Frausto tied with sophomore Andrew Koob, founder of Skate Cuff, for Fan Favorites of the night. Koob’s product is an attachable lock for your skateboard to secure it to bike racks. Both Koob and Frausto worked alone in their venture.

“It was a lot of work, but it’s been awesome. I know this product inside out because I designed it inside out. I know the market really well, too. I have an electric board that I ride essentially everywhere,” Koob said.

All the finalists were given seven minutes to present their ideas on stage, followed by 10 minutes of questions from the five judges. The last people to pitch their idea were sophomores Chryslyn Perkins and Bradley Sykes, the founders of heARTful, a non-profit organization that creates interactive art pieces for people with disabilities.

The pair relinquished their spot in the competition since they have already partnered with Inspire Fine Art Center, another non-profit in San Antonio.

“With the way we need to spend our time, as we are students, this would give us the opportunity to make sure that this vision lives on beyond what we are able to do. What’s really important is sustaining the vision, because we want to touch as many lives as we can and working through Inspire we think is the most full-proof way to make that happen,” Sykes said.

Four of the five judges are Trinity alumni, with Eric Stumberg, class of 1981, as the fifth judge. All of the judges are accomplished entrepreneurs and business professionals. Tiffany Chimal, class of 2007, Trinity alumna and one of the nights judges, explained the reasoning behind the final decisions.

“We really wanted to invest in the entrepreneur, not just the business model. We saw potential in all of them, but we felt like with the two that we gave some funding to, we felt like that would bring them to the next stage. With StorySpread, they’re going to be able to continue and hire people to build a great product. And with LuxTurn, they already know how to sell the product, they already have sales,” Chimal said.

Luis Martínez, director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, hopes that every member of the Trinity community will become more entrepreneurial.

“Our mission is to make every student, faculty, staff and alumni more innovative and more entrepreneurial, so that’s why it’s open to every Trinity student. We think that every Trinity student can be innovative, we think every Trinity student can be an entrepreneur, we think every Trinity student has a desire to start something, and so our job is to support that. It’s one of the really unique things that Trinity does,” Martínez said.

Applications for the Stumberg Seed Round will open Nov. 1 and will close in late January or early February. Applications can be submitted at trinity.startuptree.co.

Jolie Francis

| Class of 2021 | Majors: Urban Studies |

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