Emily Mabery pitches her business concept, SpinSafe

Francis Tuttle’s Future Founders Shine at Pitch Night

“What I saw tonight is 100 times better than any pitch contest that I’ve seen at a university for college students, not only the presentations and the graphics but the thought process and the quality of the businesses." - Mark Beffort, Future Founders Pitch Night Judge

Students from the Entrepreneurship Program at Francis Tuttle Technology Center put their business ideas on display during Future Founders Pitch Night, powered by Stride Bank. The event, held on May 9 at the Danforth Campus, supports early-stage entrepreneurs in their quest to become the next great concept. 

Five Future Founders finalists presented a total of six business concepts during the pitch competition while vying for a portion of $16,500 in seed money. Additionally, other Future Founders participants shared their concepts during the Innovators Showcase. 

The six finalists were:

  • Colby Howard | Operational Edge and Interbox

    Operational Edge tracks tool health to maximize tool run time for professional woodworkers, while Interbox is a plate that allows toolbox users to create a custom stack not limited by brand. 

  • Ava Beery | Avalanche Media

    Avalanche Media offers affordable social media marketing services tailored to small businesses and financial institutions.

  • Emily Mabery | SpinSafe

    SpinSafe is a device that prevents damage to battery-operated devices by alerting people if they are thrown in the washing machine. 

  • Jaxton Howard | Howard Protective Solutions

    Howard Protection Solutions is a company dedicated to creating a protection device to minimize cosmic radiation exposure for pregnant pilots and flight attendants. 

  • Fernanda Rojo Arteaga | Bananabilingo

    Bananabilingo aims to reduce barriers for Spanish-speaking families in the healthcare industry by creating learning tools – flashcards, books and an app – to educate medical students on medical terminology. 

Fernanda Rojo Arteaga is recognized for earning first place at Pitch Night

Rojo Arteaga, a senior at Edmond North High School, earned first place and $6,000 in seed money for Bananabilingo. The idea for Bananabilingo was born from Rojo Arteaga’s experience of immigrating with her family to the United States in 2013. 

As a first-year student in the Entrepreneurship program, Rojo Arteaga has not only had the opportunity to network and build a support system but also “learned so much in a few short months.” 

“I never knew how important it is to always have passion in your life, and passion is the driving force that led me to create Bananabilingo,” Rojo Arteaga said. “Honestly, it’s very emotional because I made this thinking of my mother, and seeing her in the audience and pitching for her really meant a lot.” 

SpinSafe took second place and received $6,000, while Operational Edge finished third and received $3,000. Avalanche Media was recognized with $1,500. 

A panel of five judges heard the pitches and asked questions of each student before determining the competition winners. Stride Bank provided $10,000 of seed money, and an anonymous donor added $6,500 to be distributed to students. 

The judges included:

  • Fawn Sachleben | Oklahoma City Market President for Stride Bank
  • Matt McCalla | Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking at Bank of Oklahoma
  • Jenae Goodin | CEO and Founder of Bab, Inc.
  • Srijita Ghosh | Venture Advisor at i2E
  • Mark Beffort | CEO of Robinson Park and Newmark Robinson Park and COO and Portfolio Manager of Square Deal Investments

Attendees also heard from two Oklahoma entrepreneurs: Bailey Wilson, Founder and CEO of Bondi Bowls; and Rachel Cope, Founder and CEO of 84 Hospitality Group. 

by Chelsey Koppari - May 10, 2024