Twenty-one Aggie-led startups competed in the only university-wide business plan pitch competition.
By Lara Robertson, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University
COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS April 7, 2023 – The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship hosted its fifth annual Aggie PITCH Wednesday evening, awarding more than $38,000 to Aggie-led startups. Open to both current and former students, Aggie PITCH is the only university-wide business plan pitch competition at Texas A&M and seeks to identify the best Aggie business pitches from across industries and sectors.
For the 2023 event, a total of 21 startups were selected to compete for the coveted McFerrin Cup and a share of more than $35,000 in anticipated prize money, although a statistical tie led to an additional $3,500 being awarded. Split into three divisions —Full Pitch for both current and former students and Elevator Pitch open to both — the competition gives startup founders the opportunity to pitch their business in a fast-paced, high-energy format to a panel of anonymous judges and an audience of students, professionals, mentors, possible investors and fellow Aggie entrepreneurs.
In the Full Pitch divisions, 11 teams were each given 10 minutes for their pitch. In contrast, the Elevator Pitch competitors were only given a one-minute allotment for their pitch. Although the anonymous panel of judges was tasked with ranking and selecting the winners of the Full Pitch division, audience members were invited to take part and cast their vote to select for the winners of the Elevator Pitch division.
Club Girl claimed first place in the Full Pitch Division for current students and was awarded $7,500. “It’s incredible,” founder Katie Calderon ’25 said following the announcement. Club Girl uses a patent-pending adjustable weight and shaft system, paired with a self-fitting app, to provide women a perfect-fitting putter that stays within USGA regulations. Calderon plans to put her winnings straight into prototyping and testing.
“It means the world,” she continued, “not only to me and my company, but it allows us to go further and do everything I’ve wanted to do. It’s been my dream since I was a kid.”
Calderon and Club Girl also took home second place and $2,000 in the McFerrin Center’s 2022 Raymond Ideas Challenge.
“To be able to participate in [the Raymond Ideas Challenge and Aggie PITCH] has been awesome,” she added. “Raymond got me here, and now I can’t wait to see what here gets me to.”
Taking home first place and also $7,500 in the Full Pitch Division for former students was Endpoint Security Inc. which secures wireless communication via a technology that provides security for fixed wireless devices in industrial, commercial and home environments.
“This is a dream come true. I’ve worked as a serial entrepreneur ever since I graduated from Texas A&M and even worked for Texas A&M before going out on my own again. So to be able to benefit from this program and benefit from an award like this is very meaningful to me,” stated Endpoint Security founder Page Heller ’78.
The winnings from Aggie PITCH will take them halfway to getting a third party validation test for the product. “It’s perfect timing for us,” Heller noted.
“Aggie PITCH remains a spotlight in the McFerrin Center’s programming,” stated Blake Petty ’98, executive director of the McFerrin Center. “Since 2018, it’s continued to grow and gain more awareness among both current and former students in the startup arena. Each year, we look forward to seeing what new, innovative ventures these Aggie entrepreneurs are building and growing. Without a doubt, Aggie PITCH is a proven step along a path of success for any Aggie-led startup looking to get to the next level.”
Launched in 2018 by the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship and held annually, with the exception of 2020, Aggie PITCH serves as a platform to display the exceptional startups currently being developed by current and former students of Texas A&M. Ventures that compete at Aggie PITCH receive excellent exposure to possible investors, mentors, partners and more. In addition, Aggie PITCH serves as a networking event that allows Aggie entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, current and former students to gather, make connections and support one another as entrepreneurs.
Finalists’ ventures at this year’s Aggie PITCH represent a variety of industries including agriculture, information technology, consumer products and energy technology, among others, and are now automatically admitted into an exclusive group of startup founders who are eligible to represent Texas A&M University at national and global entrepreneurial competitions.
2023 Aggie PITCH Winners
Full Pitch Division | Current Students
1st Place ($7,500): Club Girl [Katie Calderon ’25]
2nd Place ($5,000): Cosnetix [Greyson Newton ’21, Diana Salha ’25, Cameron Walker ’22]
3rd Place TIE ($3,500): AggieBus [Arvind Balaji ’24, Anish Karthik ’25, Kirthivel Ramesh ’24]
3rd Place TIE ($3,500): Redeemr [David Greek ’24, Carl White ’24]
Full Pitch Division | Former Students
1st Place ($7,500): Endpoint Security Inc [Page Heller ’78]
2nd Place ($5,000): Xplosion Technology Corporation [Jaylen James ’22]
3rd Place ($3,500 – sponsored by LiquidAgents Healthcare): Empifany [Christopher Taylor ’07]
Elevator Pitch Division (sponsored by IndigoStone Advisors)
1st Place ($1,500): Surgeon Support [Chase Lano ’25]
2nd Place ($1,000): EValuate EV Charging Software [Cassie McQuinn ’21]
3rd Place ($750): HemoVas Biosystems [Jason Eades ’26]
A list of past Aggie PITCH winners can be found at aggiepitch.com.
About McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship
The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship serves as the hub for entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University. The McFerrin Center’s goal is to enhance entrepreneurial education by providing training, networking and assistance to enterprising students, faculty and former students.
The McFerrin Center enables the startup and growth of countless businesses and provides competitive opportunities, professional development and financial support to aspiring entrepreneurs in the Aggie community through the support of a robust volunteer mentor network, corporate supporters, faculty and staff.
The McFerrin Center defines entrepreneurship as an attitude that acts on opportunity. In this spirit, the McFerrin Center strives to deliver programs and events that are inspiring, engaging, motivating and life-changing. This philosophy has resulted in the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship offering more than 30 unique programs each year that positively impact the lives of thousands of students, veterans and other professionals seeking to blaze their own trail as an entrepreneur.
Media Contact: Lara Robertson, communications manager, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, firstname.lastname@example.org