Haul-R, billed as an “Uber for horses” service, clinched the title for best sustainable business plan at Wednesday’s Innovation Competition organized and hosted by the University of Findlay’s College of Business.
Created by Kaley Barseth and Avery Shorlo, Haul-R, if launched, would be an online assistance application for the equestrian world that would pair horses in need of transportation with open trailer slots. The pair pitched their idea as a money and time saver for those involved in shows, and for buyers and sellers.
The overall event winners, determined by the audience, were Barseth and Shorlo. For their placement in the New Venture category and as overall winners, they were awarded a total of $2,000 in startup funding provided by the Garner Endowment for Innovation. The team prevailed over 13 other business plans that advanced to the second annual Shark Tank-style competition’s finals.
The judges’ panel, which determined initial placement at the finals, consisted of Dressing Room Boutique owner Lori Bowman, Millstream Angel Club founder and Findlay businessman Ed Hartman, UF Master of Business Administration student Frank McGibbon, Findlay-Hancock County Chamber of Commerce Director Dionne Neubauer, and Garner Transportation Group Inc. CEO and President Sherri Garner Brumbaugh. Relevancy, well-researched concepts and plans grounded in reality were the primary assessment aspects, according to judges.
The monetary prizes awarded are intended to provide seed money for the business ideas presented, but only if winners are up to the task amidst their academic commitments and other career aspirations. This second competition year, therefore, continued to build on last year’s prototype, which proved to be a popular event with interesting ideas generated.
“I’d like to see a way to take these great ideas and really commercialize them,” said Hartman.
“Entrepreneurship is a scary road to go down. One thing I like about this program is that it requires that people put together the financials first. Answering those questions before you put an investment into it is so important.”
The following concepts and teams in three categories received cash awards:
1st – Caloreats. Created by Christy Wickiser and Tyler Adkins, their plan would create a quick-stop exercise and restaurant option for Tall Timbers employees.
2nd – ECCE. Lynsey Englebrecht’s and Devin Hatter’s “experience the world” idea would sell virtual reality tours to colleges and other entities to lure consumers.
3rd – Equine Apparel. Joceyln Crawford and Sarah Borgelt would rent high-end equine event clothing as a money-saving option for those who are financially strapped, or who are otherwise inconvenienced by the pricey apparel options that can influence show outcomes.
1st – Career Exploration Day. Justin Roth, Alonzo Turner and Garrett Westerbeck would bring the college experience to high school students with lectures and interactive activities that would introduce younger students to the higher education world and introduce them to career options.
2nd – Derrick’s Express. Developed by Alexis Taylor and Johnny Hopkins, the delivery service would work as an online application to bring food made and served on campus to students and staff who live and work at UF.
3rd – Rescues and Scholars Initiative. Bailey Bach, Nicole Bosserman, Theresa Klug and Isabella Squier pitched the idea of building upon the University of Findlay’s “send your horse to college” program by targeting rescue horses to acquire, train and sell at UF farms.
1st – Equine Multi-Tool. Nicole Bosserman developed a multi-use, nickel-plated metal tool, similar to a Swiss Army Knife, for those in the equine industry to use for various purposes.
2nd – Haul-R, Kaley Barseth and Avery Shorlo.
3rd – Smart Horseshoe. Kylee John and Marissa Phillips developed an aluminum pad with a biometric censor, to be placed on horseshoes, that constantly measures vitals such as moisture content and pressure points.