Three finalists have been chosen to advance to the final round of the Boiler Mini-Accelerator Competition at Purdue University. The student-based startups are competing for a $5,000 first place prize, along with free and discounted professional services.
The Boiler is an eight-week competition hosted by the Anvil, a co-working space and business incubator in West Lafayette. The three finalists have made it through the first two phases of the competition and are getting ready for Demo Day on April 22, where they will present their startups to investors, members of the startup community and a panel of judges.
"This year we have more teams, and more diverse teams than ever, which is really exciting," said Shane DeWael, Anvil director. "Typically, the majority of applicants have been software-based, but this year we saw a lot more diverse applications, with companies and students from all different majors and backgrounds. This is exciting because it allows a lot of different ideas and perspectives to mix, creating a more rewarding experience for all teams."
The first place winners will receive $5,000. Second place will earn $3,000 and third place will earn $1,500. The first and second place winners will also get access to professional services for free or at a discounted rate. By making it to the final round, each team has already earned $1,500 in seed money.
Purdue says the three finalists are:
- Aerial Agriculture, a startup which designs, builds and pilots Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or "drones," in-house, to collect specialized near-infrared images that depict crop health to reduce excess fertilizer and other input costs, while increasing yields.
- OWL, a "Tamagotchi meets Fitbit." OWL is a wearable made for children, allowing goal-setting and tracking for fitness in a fun and easy way.
- Socio, a social media application that revolutionizes the way people connect by introducing the "digital handshake."
The university says the competition, which began in 2013, aims to enable students to pursue entrepreneurship activities outside of the classroom. Throughout the competition, teams receive advice and mentoring from industry leaders and experts from various sources, including the Purdue Foundry and Discovery Park’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.