Expanding Frontiers Announces The Winners Of Its Inaugural Space Tech Pitch Competition

December 15 21:57 2021
Expanding Frontiers Announces The Winners Of Its Inaugural Space Tech Pitch Competition
The ExF Entrepreneur-In-Residence Apprenticeship 2021 Cohort presents NASA inspired technology startups to investors and local community.

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – December 15, 2021 – Expanding Frontiers (ExF) announces winners of the first annual 2021 Space Tech Pitch Competition held at the ExF facilities located on the Brownsville Airport on December 9, 2021. Graduates of Expanding Frontiers’ 2021 Entrepreneur in Residence Apprenticeship (EIRA) program pitched their ideas for commercial products developed from licensed NASA technologies at a live pitch competition for cash prizes. The success of the 2021 Space Tech Pitch Competition supports Expanding Frontiers’ mission to make Brownsville an innovation hub with emphasis on space and energy technologies. 

The winners are: 

1st place of $10,000 awarded to CORE, Founders Brandan Neece and Hector Valdez

CORE is developing a breakthrough technology for carbon capture based on NASA developed techniques.

2nd place of $2,000 awarded to Starbase Lighting, Founders Correll Lashbrook and Karim Salhadar

Starbase Lighting is empowering today’s commercial real estate developers with an innovative lighting technology.

People’s choice award of $1,000 awarded to  Embedded, Founders William Brown and Leeroy Martinez

Embedded utilizes NASA’s technology to help with noninvasive monitoring of the elderly and infants.  

The companies competing for the cash prizes in the Space Tech Pitch Competition are graduates of ExF’s 2021 EIRA Program. EIRA was designed to offer aspiring entrepreneurs a clear pathway to NewSpace and energy entrepreneurship by matching them with NASA technologies available for licensing. Expanding Frontiers created this program to immerse participants in entrepreneurship training, supported by an extensive panel of experts as mentors.

“The NASA Technology transfer office commends the Expanding Frontiers team for their efforts in putting together an outstanding event. As proven by their results, ExF entrepreneur and space technology commercialization programs are top notch. We at NASA T2X are proud of and strongly support ExF’s ongoing economic development efforts in the South Texas region and we are looking forward to the next cohort of Entrepreneur Apprentices,” said NASA Economic Development Executive, Walter Ugalde.

“We are excited to graduate our first cohort of companies from Expanding Frontier’s flagship EIRA program,” stated Dr. Fredrick Jenet, Founder and Executive Director of Expanding Frontiers. “Each company identified high potential commercial opportunities for some of NASA’s most innovative technologies. The early cash infusion will help them advance these technologies toward commercial markets, building value for the startup companies and promising future economic impact for Brownsville.” 

The hybrid competition brought together over 90 people in-person and online, with local as well as out-of-state viewers. Competition judges included Rafael Munguia, CEO of Caribella Homes, Mike Carey, Chief Strategy Officer of Atlas Space Operations, Anita Gale, CEO of National Space Society, Jayant Ramakrishnan, COO of Bastion Technologies, Josh Mejia, Executive Director of BCIC, Sha-Chelle Devlin Manning, Managing Partner at the 1920 Group, Christopher Rutzel, Associate Professor of Management at Sam Houston State University, Sidney Nakahodo, General Partner at Seldor Capital, and Vikram Agrawal, Director of Earthx Capital, and Walter Ugalde, NASA Economic Development Executive. These judges evaluated the tech ventures on viability and scalability, market analysis, and pitch quality among other things. 

“All the hard work our Apprentices have done over the last six months really showed through. I’m so proud of them and looking forward to seeing all of these startups succeed,” said Keeisi Caballero, Director of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development at Expanding Frontiers. 

The event was made possible by support from the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation, the Economic Development Agency’s STEM Challenge Program, the Department of Energy’s EPIC Program, Rafael Munguia, the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation, Project Space, and EarthX Capital. Special thanks to the City of Brownsville and deputy city manager Helen Ramirez for their help and support of our programs.

Media Contact
Company Name: Expanding Frontiers
Contact Person: Dr. Fredrick Jenet
Email: Send Email
Phone: 956-545-1397
Address:495 Amelia Earhart Drive, Suite A
City: Brownsville
State: TX 78521
Country: United States
Website: https://expandingfrontiers.org/

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