There’s plenty of competition among universities, but in this one, everyone is a winner.
Three universities from North Texas will compete on April 5 and 6 for $100,000 in total cash prizes at the 2019 Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures Competition at the Neeley School of Business at TCU. Among them will be a team from TCU. Teams from Southern Methodist University and the University of Texas at Dallas will also be among the teams from 56 universities participating.
Each spring, TCU invites students from around the world to pitch ideas for conscious capitalism ventures that make a profit while also solving a problem. Winners take home cash to help make their ideas come true.
Among the ideas that have received recognition from the event since 2011: Recycling plants that employ the homeless; better access to autism treatment; human-powered farm machines; and payment kiosks that don’t charge banking fees.
The TCU team consists of three young women who have the power of five TCU disciplines behind them, Maddie Kingsbury, Devan Peplow and Mavis Tang.
Kingsbury, Peplow and Tang won the internal competition to advance to the global one and represent TCU.
At the competition, the team will present Sounde, a hearing app that allows people with hearing impairments to hear in real time. The app doesn’t simply amplify sound. Using a proprietary algorithm developed by Liran Ma, associate professor of computer science at TCU, the technology breaks apart sounds and then pieces them back together to produce a viable sound in less than 50 milliseconds. The app is targeted for people suffering from mild to moderate hearing loss as an affordable bridge or supplement to expensive hearing aids.
The Sounde team brings together the Neeley School of Business (business strategy), College of Science and Engineering (proprietary technology), Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences (communication sciences and disorders) and College of Fine Arts (graphic design and sound recording and processing).
The plan came together when Rodney D’Souza, Davis Family Entrepreneur-in-Residence and managing director of the TCU Neeley Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, heard about Ma’s technology, featured in TCU Magazine. D’Souza contacted Ma, who was happy to have business students develop a plan to commercialize the technology. The two professors worked out an agreement to give the team exclusive licensing of the technology for that purpose.
D’Souza then interviewed a dozen TCU Neeley School of Business students for the team.
“I was looking for fit, drive, vision, smarts and tenacity,” D’Souza said.
He found it in Tang, Kingsbury and Peplow.
Peplow, who suffers from partial hearing loss, is particularly excited to work on the project.
“Hearing is so important to human connection,” said Peplow, an entrepreneurial management major and BNSF Neeley Leader. “Our team is trying our hardest to bring this affordable technology to the masses.”
Kingsbury, a marketing major, believes the app has real potential.
“With a really strong team and advisors in place, I feel confident that we have a viable and exciting business opportunity with a technology that can make hearing aids affordable,” she said.
Tang, an entrepreneurial management major and BNSF Neeley Leader, echoed her teamates’ statements and is looking forward to representing TCU at the global Values and Ventures Competition.
“I am really grateful to be a part of this team and learn from all the amazing individuals who have helped us along the way,” she said.
All three are seniors who will graduate in May 2019.
The competition, started in 2011, has handed out $500,000 in cash prizes, featured 285 ventures, and seen 138 companies launched or in the process launching over that time.
Participating Schools 2019
American University, Washington, D.C.
Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama
Babson University, Wellesley, Maine
Bangladesh University of Professionals, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, California
California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo, California
California State University-San Bernardino, San Bernardino, California
Federal University of Technology-Minna, Minna, Nigeria
Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas
George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia
Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
Kendall College of Art & Design, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, Illinois
Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California
Miami University of Ohio, Oxford, Ohio
Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, New Jersey
Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, Kentucky
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma
Quinnipiac University, Hamden, Connecticut
Saint Leo University, Saint Leo, Florida
San Diego State University, San Diego, California
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas
St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas
Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas
United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas
University of California-Irvine, Irvine, California
University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
University of Houston, Houston, Texas
University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois
University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico
University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland
University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas
University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, Texas
University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, Texas
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia
University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wisconsin
Walsh University, North Canton, Ohio
Warsaw School of Economics, Warsaw, Poland
Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa
Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas
Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri
West Virginia University, Morgantown, West