TU Teams Place Second, Third in Governor's Cup Competition

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Teams from The University of Tulsa placed second and third at the 2008 Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup Collegiate Business Plan Competition. The competition challenged students to develop ideas for new technological ventures that could potentially lead to economic growth for the state.

TU submitted two teams into the graduate division of the Governor’s Cup this year, and both placed. RedVault received second place, and Cellular Crayons received third. This is the third year TU placed in the Governor’s Cup, having won first place last year in the undergraduate division.

“The TU College of Business Administration students continue to prove they are top players in the Governor’s Cup competition,” said Gale Sullenberger, dean of the College of Business Administration. “I attribute their successes to the interdisciplinary approach TU offers and the real-world experiences they gain through our program. They understand what it takes to form a new entrepreneurial venture, and they know what services are needed in the marketplace.”

Second place went to RedVault, hardware built to encrypt data imaging devices that was developed and patented by interns at Digital Forensics Professionals. DFP was founded by Gavin Manes, a research assistant professor from the Institute for Information Security at TU. Equipment such as printers and copiers are built with hard drives that store documents, but the files are not secure.

“A lot of companies rent printers and copiers, but they don’t think about the fact that they’re giving away proprietary data when they return that item,” said Manes, faculty co-adviser to RedVault and research assistant professor for the TU Institute for Information Security (iSec). “We’re in a digital society where ‘hidden’ information is easily accessed and manipulated. The goal is to keep that from happening at the hands of the wrong people.”

Additional RedVault team members included Master of Business Administration students Michelle Witt and Fernando Bermudez, and undergraduate cyber security student James Johnson. Claire Cornell, assistant director of the International Business and Entrepreneurship Institute, served as faculty co-adviser for the project.

The team received $10,000 and will compete May 15 against Nevada and Arkansas teams in the inaugural Tri-State Competition. The top two teams in both the graduate and undergraduate divisions will have the opportunity to win an additional $90,000 in cash prizes. Prizes are encouraged to be applied toward the costs of commercializing the business plan – a feat Witt and Bermudez are already undertaking.

“TU has consistently proven it can provide innovative solutions to solve real-world problems,” said Steven Bellovich, dean of the College of Engineering and Natural Sciences. “But it is through entrepreneurship and strategic partnerships that these innovations are commercialized and brought to market. By working together, these students have developed viable plans for very real, useful technology.”

Cellular Crayons placed third for their smartphone application allowing sports enthusiasts to order concessions from their seats during a game. Utilizing patented technology from Anyware Mobile Solutions, a company founded by TU alumnus David Payne, the team tested the project at two TU basketball games earlier this year. Participants received their food within three minutes and concession sales increased significantly as a result of the ease in ordering.

Team members from the College of Business Administration included undergraduate students Alicia Bartholomew and Diep Nguyen. Students from iSec included undergraduate student Nathan Singleton and graduate students Ethan and Timothy Singleton. Faculty co-advisers were John Hale, director of iSec and professor of computer science, and Mike Troilo, assistant professor of international business.

Cellular Crayons received $5,000 for their placement.