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Education TCU Values and Ventures Competition to feature teams from three area universities

TCU Values and Ventures Competition to feature teams from three area universities

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Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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

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