The Raymond Ideas Challenge is a full-day business concept competition for all undergraduate and graduate students to help turn their idea, technology or prototype dream into the next product or service that will change the world. The Texas A&M University-wide Challenge invites all majors, ideas, and interests to apply.

For the second consecutive year, the Raymond Ideas Challenge also invited the winner of the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi campus’ BUC Days Ideas Challenge to compete alongside their Aggie peers. Students were encouraged throughout March and April to attend several workshops that would assist in perfecting their big idea submissions through mentoring and guidance. Students were able to begin executing the initial steps involved in developing an idea and seeing it through to fruition.

The Top 40 idea finalist teams joined Mays Business School’s Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship on Wednesday, May 3, along with more than 75 experienced judges and entrepreneurs from the business and academic ecosystem. Each team pitched their business concept in two rounds to judges, including a session of questions and answers to challenge the participants to think about multiple business elements like a true entrepreneur. The interactive approach provided students with valuable experience developing business concepts, writing skills, and presentation abilities that can be applied in any area of their professional careers.

During pitches, each judge was able to provide written feedback and an objective score, which would later be used to calculate the average for each team to award prizes accordingly. The constructive criticism and counsel from mentors and active entrepreneurs throughout the Raymond Ideas Challenge provided students with a strong foundation to continue constructing in the future. Additionally, in the weeks leading up to the event, online voting allowed the public and judges to review video pitches of each idea for the opportunity to win cash prizes.

The Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship recognizes the individuals and businesses that provided event sponsorships, particularly from the program’s underwriter, The Frank and Jean Raymond Foundation. Prizes were sponsored by the Aggie Angel Network, Startup Aggieland, Aggie Entrepreneurship Saturday, Houston Aggie Women’s Club, Cattlesoft Inc., Mark and Nancy Browning, and the Freedom Equity Group. These sponsors combined to provide almost $10,000 in prize winnings to the top seven Raymond Ideas Challenge teams.

2017 Raymond Ideas Challenge Winners:

First Place: David Delamater, Matt Kellogg, Adam McGaffin, Gustavo Ordonez and Nathan Wiatrek; The OxiScope

Second Place: Philip Bowie, Cole Fincher, Wesley Kuehn, Michael New, Isaac Pitblado and Jana Soares; TOBOR

Third Place: Ryan Alderink, Jack Clark, Grace Fan, Alejandra Hernandez, Pulkit Jain and Kendel Lipe; Hexamania

Honorable Mentions:

Dean Barbalias, David Barbalias and Haley Conrad; Neptune Sensors

Jillian King, Grace Tsai and Elizabeth Latham Sheets; Bioom

Garrett Ransom and Kristin-Sophie Strittmatter; U’DERS

Frank DiRosa and Briana Martinez; Smart Gun Holster

First Place Video Pitch: Darrecia Johnson; EMPOWER

Second Place Video Pitch: James Dickey and Dylan Secrest; Interlynx

Third Place Video Pitch: Ally Calandro; The Expeditionary School


  • By Jessica Minks ’16