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Group photo of TNVC leaders and the first place winner, Spontaneous Pop-Up Display, holding a giant $50,000 check.
Houston-based Arovia, creators of the Spontaneous Pop-Up Display, was awarded $50,000 as the winner of the 2018 Texas A&M New Ventures Competition. | Image: Texas A&M Engineering

Houston-based Arovia, creators of the Spontaneous Pop-Up Display, was awarded $50,000 as the winner of the 2018 Texas A&M New Ventures Competition (TNVC) hosted by the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES). 

Arovia co-founder, president and CEO Alexander Wesley said he was excited that judges liked their pitch. 

“I’m definitely not a natural pitcher, but I love our product, I love our team and the state of Texas has been really great for us as well,” Wesley said. “I definitely don’t view myself as being a stellar pitch man so I had no expectation at all, but I’m glad the enthusiasm I have for our product and our team and what we’re doing for our customers comes through.”

Wesley added that the experience of competing with other companies that are in similar stages to his was a great experience. 

“It’s really cool to see all the different things that people are doing. You can really get stuck in your own world so it’s fun when you get to hang out with other startups.” 

Jessica Travers, one of the finals judges and winner of the 2017 TNVC with IntuiTap Medical, said that multiple aspects of Arovia impressed the judges. 

“We really liked their ability to demonstrate the traction they’ve had, it’s very fast," she said. "Obviously there’s a demand. Their intellectual property strategy is very strong, which is great and will definitely come in handy in the future. They’re meeting a need that nobody else has been able to meet yet, so we’re excited to see where they go and how they’re going to scale and the revenue they’re going to be able to pull in.”

With a total of $380,000 in total prizes, the pool for the competition was the largest in the four-year history of the TNVC. In the first three years, the TNVC awarded more than $670,000 combined. 

The 2018 TNVC was made possible by the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, Texas A&M University College of Science, Texas A&M Health Science Center, TEES Clean Energy Incubator, Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M School of Innovation, Texas A&M Division of Research, 80/20 Foundation, TMC Innovation, GOOSE Society, Aggie Angel Network, Research Valley Partnership, Amerra, Biotex, Paragon, Pioneer Natural Resources, Thomas Horstemeyer, Ramey & Schwaller Law Firm, Chevron Technology Ventures, Winstead PC and OTA Compression/Kimark Systems.

Full list of winners: (for more information on these companies, click here.

1st – $50,000 – Arovia 

2nd – $35,000 – Admetsys 

3rd – $25,000 – M&S Biotics 

4th – $15,000 – VastBiome 

5th – $10,000 – Advanced Scanners

6th – $5,000 – AtmoSpark 

Elevator pitch competition:

1st - $5,000 – ResponderX

2nd - $3,000 – Yotta Solar

3rd - $2,000 –  Polar Panel

Additional prizes:

Ramey/Schwaller IP Legal Services Prize – Advanced Scanners

Research Valley Launch Prize – ResponderX

Thomas | Horstemeyer IP Legal Services Prizes – VenoStent and Alleviant Medical

Paragon Innovation Prize – Vitls 

BioTex Investment Prize – M&S Biotics 

Amerra Visualization Services Prize – Arovia

TEES Cleantech Prize – Yotta Solar 

Aggie Angel Network Investment Prize – Arovia 

GOOSE Society of Texas Investment Prizes – Arovia and M&S Biotics

TMC Innovation Investment and Accelerator Admission Prize – Vitls 

TMC Innovation Accelerator Admission Prize – VenoStent