Companies Nab Big Bucks at NVC

Audio tour app Latitude takes home $21,000

PROVO, Utah – Apr 18, 2016 – In Brigham Young University’s own version of Shark Tank, eight student-run companies presented business plans to judges. The goal: to score thousands in cash and mentoring opportunities up for grabs in the Miller New Venture Challenge Final.

Latitude, an audio-tour app company, walked away from the competition with the most cash, a total of $21,000. In addition to winning the Founder’s Choice award, the company also received second place in the speed pitch round, a 90-second pitch challenge in phase two of the competition.

“Going over the presentation and working nearly full time on the business really helped us prepare for the competition,” says Brody Horton, a second-year MBA student from Layton, Utah, and Latitude co-founder. “The money will be vital to helping us build our company. It is always nice to have successful entrepreneurs like what you are doing.”

Hosted by BYU’s Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, the NVC is the final part of a three-phase competition series called the Miller Competition Series, named for local entrepreneurs Larry and Gail Miller. The purpose of the MCS is to prepare students to launch scalable entrepreneurial ventures while simultaneously pursuing their degree programs at BYU.

“We had many excellent teams compete, so it was a challenge for judges to select the very best,” says Steven Fox, CET acting managing director.

Of the top 16 teams competing in the challenge, eight finalists won $15,000 each and received the opportunity to join BYU Launchpad, a start-up immersion program designed to help entrepreneurs refine their businesses and prepare for future investment. The finalists were Gather, HOA Cloud, Information Dental, Isotruss, Latitude, Plato, Wavio and Whistic.

Wavio, a device that offers hands-free talking and texting to outdoor enthusiasts also won $2,000 and the audience choice award.

“I was impressed by the breadth of teams that participated,” Fox says. “We had students from various majors participate, which is ideal. Innovation spans our entire campus and interacting with bright young people in this competition is simply a whole lot of fun.”

The Marriott School is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. The school has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, entrepreneurship, finance, information systems and public management. The school’s mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,300 students are enrolled in the Marriott School’s graduate and undergraduate programs.

Latitude co-founders Kyle Taylor, first-year MBA, and Brody Horton, 2nd year MBA, accept their winnings at the Miller New Venture Challenge competition final.
Jeremy Rios, Wavio CMO and co-founder, presents a presentation about the company's hands-free Bluetooth device designed for outdoor enthusiasts.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Kasee Bailey