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Brook T. Smith Launchpad

Launchpad Liftoff

Annual Business Pitch Competition

  • Open to all Clemson University students (undergraduate and graduate)
  • Everyone is encouraged to come and cheer on our teams!
  • Present your team's business idea (six minute limit)
  • Answer up to four minutes of questions from the esteemed judges, most of whom are highly accomplished serial entrepreneurs and investors who serve on the Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurship Leadership Board
  • Participate in the awards ceremony. Up to $10,000 total prize money available, courtesy of the Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership and the Walters S. Hunter Business Plan Competition and Lecture Series
When? Where?
  • The Brook T. Smith Launchpad, 390 College Avenue, Clemson, SC 29631
  • Sharpen your skills, gain experience, and advance your venture pursuits
  • Forge valuable relationships and compete for terrific prize money

Competition Prize Distribution

  • Decide how the funds will be divided amongst your team members if you win. This step is highly recommended.
  • The Launchpad team notifies Financial Aid of prize allocations after the event.
  • Financial Aid decides how prizes can be delivered to your team (direct payment or loan balance reduction).
  • If Financial Aid determines payment cannot be processed due to scholarship restrictions, The Launchpad will discuss with the student other payment options (educational conference, self-improvement opportunities, etc.).
  • Clemson University sends your team members a 1099 in January of the following year that reflects your prize earnings.

Results of the 2024 Event

Congratulations to Brook T. Smith Launchpad Liftoff 2024 campuswide competition winners!

1st Place: Bloom Speculum

Bloom Speculum, an innovative four-blade extendable vaginal speculum designed to enhance safety, efficiency, and comfort during LEEP. The goal is to create a better speculum to visualize the cervix to improve LEEP procedures and treat cervical precancer. This speculum has two lateral and two vertical blades to hold back vaginal tissue. The sideblades fold down for comfortable insertion. Once the gynecologist examines the patient's sidewalls, these blades can be flipped up and locked into place. These blades are extendable, so they can be adjusted to fit various vaginal cavity lengths. The contoured top blade is modeled to fit patient anatomy and allows for variable expansion sizes. The Bloom Speculum includes all the features necessary for LEEP, including a smoke evacuation tube, and it is made of a nonconductive, sterilizable nylon polymer to prevent electrical current from transferring to the patient. Finally, the Bloom Speculum’s ergonomic handle increases clinician comfort and allows for efficient one-handed operation during the procedure.

Bloom Speculum Team Members

Karen De Guzman, Vaishnavi Kanduri, Elizabeth Dods, Angeline Chen

Bloom Speculum First Place Winners

2nd Place: Filter Fox

Filter Fox is device that sits in your vent, measures differential pressure behind your filter and notifies you when it’s time to replace it. No device on the market does this, this device works on all HVAC systems compatible with all market filters. Some companies make "smart filters" which are filters that tell you when they need to be replaced but they are expensive and only give you data when you're using their specific filters.

Filter Fox Team Member

Henry Putney

Fire Fox Second Place Winner

3rd Place: NephroGuard

NephroGuard addresses the late diagnosis of acute kidney injury in post-cardiac surgery patients with the hope of reducing hospital costs for the patients and downstream complications associated with kidney injury. Currently, AKI is diagnosed based on drops in serum creatinine. However, this is an imperfect diagnostic method as detectable changes in serum creatinine don't occur for 2-3 days after the onset of injury. Our solution is a novel electrochemical biosensor that fits in line with the catheter to continuously monitor post-cardiac surgery patients for a specific kidney damage biomarker, NGAL, associated with acute kidney injury. This biomarker has been shown to increase 15-fold in the presence of kidney injury, especially in cardiac surgery patients.

NephroGuard Team Members

Nicholas Stiebler, Aaron Spearman, Omar Aguilar, Alex Bowie, Calvin Chernyatinskiy

NephroGuard Third Place Winners

Results of the 2023 Event

Congratulations to Spiro's 2023 campuswide competition winners!

1st Place: Better Board

The Better Board addresses problems with the existing backboards used for prehospital transport of patients with suspected spinal injuries, which are inadequate and unsafe for larger patients. Current EMS backboards do not work for the 42% of people that are obese and the 16% of people that are over 6 feet tall. The Better Board is an emergency transport board that expands to accommodate taller patients. The Better Board maximizes space in the ambulance by only expanding when needed. It maximizes functionality by allowing for different configurations of restraints, displaying durability to carry weights up to 650 lbs, and ensuring safety for patients of all sizes.

group photo of first place winners

2nd Place: SeaTree

SeaTree solves the annoyance of sand getting in your bags and belongings at the beach. Currently, beachgoers typically put their bags on the sand and have no place to store personal belongings such as wet towels or clothing. SeaTree is an organization device that is easily inserted into the ground and can hold your belongings elevated over the sand.

group photo of second place winners

3rd Place: Simplify

Simplify helps students with issues taking quality notes and retaining class material adequately. It is a SaaS product that allows users to record lectures, get summaries and access study tools based on the material. Simplify is better than other platforms like Chegg because the information can be tailored to the classes and specific material being learned.

group photo of third place winner

Allen Martin Prize: Girlslovelace
Girlslovelace offers hair loss solutions for those suffering from hair loss. These unique solutions feature glueless capabilities that allow wigs to be worn without glue and fit the specific customer.

group photo of third place winner

Spiro Board Members from left to right: John Hannon, Stan Clifford, Edward Giard, Frank Blake, Allison Conrad, Keith Hudgins. Not pictured: Peter Markham, Woody Bryan, Matt Given, Andy Monin, Greg Smith, Mark Weidick

Spiro Board Members: From left to right (John Hannon, Stan Clifford, Edward Giard, Frank Blake, Allison Conrad, Keith Hudgins

Past Winners

Spring 2022

  • 1st Place – Cathesure
    • Cathleen Fallon, Allison Reichart, Sarah Stevens, Karly Ripple, and Allison Reichart
    • Medical devices to non-invasively detect hydrocephalus shunt malfunctions in children.
  • 2nd Place - Vestr
    • Adam Yorke
    • Social media platform for curious and intentional investors.
  • 3rd Place – Cypher
    • Lewis Grana and Kaylen Williams
    • Fast and seamless crypto payment process for every single individual and every single transaction.
  • 4th Place -Ticketing Software
    • Ben Kupier

Spring 2021

  • 1st Place - FarmieZ
    • Kirby Player
  • 2nd Place-My Relief Wear
    • Mary McElya
  • 3rd Place - UMkt
    • Caleb Hannon
  • 4th Place - Fantom Book
    • Jack Feinstein
  • 5h Place - Purpose Cosmetics
    • Nia Grant

Spring 2020

  • Canceled due to Covid

Spring 2019

  • Competition not held – substitute Sway Ventures Case Competition in Fall 2019

Fall 2018 

  • 1st Place- AgriLinx
    • AgriLinx offers hardware and software to connect a farm’s operations.
    • Spencer McLeod
  • 2nd Place-Advanced Innovation Solution
    • Advanced Innovative Solutions produces robotic joints.
    • Raed Hasan
  • 3rd Place- C.Threads LLC
    • made-to-measure custom blazer clothier
    • Courtney Turcotte
  • 4th Place- The Write Way
    • The Write Way is a digitized hand-writing process.
    • Chelsea Fulton
  • 5th Place- Paid Time-Off Productions
    • Creates multimedia to drive traffic, awareness and revenue to a wide variety of products, companies and organizations
    • James Turner, Teddy Giard, Garrit Speiss
  • 6th Place- Rejoice City Coffee
    • Social entrepreneurship coffee start-up that aids victims of sex trafficking
    • Laura Turner and Rick Turner
  • 7th Place- SLAXN
    • Ad-free and hate-free, subscription-based alternative to YouTube
    • Garrett Galloway
  • 8th Place- Cogito Mind Training System
    • Allows users to control the motion of a robot with their brain activity and turn their thoughts into actions.
    • Aaron Shepard
  • 9th Place- MailRoom
    • Way to protect you email by sending it to local small business to hold for you
    • Madison Maddox and Collin Braeuning

Spring 2017

  • 1st Place- Kanga, LLC ($8,000)
  • 2nd Place-Michael Siegel ($5,000)
  • 3rd Place- Carman M. Franklin ($2,000)
  • 3rd Place- Jace B Garrett ($2,000)
  • 3rd Place- Madeline L. Cordell ($2,000)
  • 4th Place- Kayla R. Shine ($1,000)
  • 4th Place- Alexa Eyring ($1,000)
  • 4th Place- Thomas S. Ashanti ($1,000)

Spring 2016

  • 1st Place - Silecte
    • Water disinfection process
    • Abram Pleta, automotive engineering
  • 2nd Place - RAAD
    • pp that gets patrons to the front of the line for a fee
    • James White, business
  • 2nd Place - AnuPly
    • Vitality Orthopedics “AnuPly” spinal disc collagen repair
    • Ryan Borem, bioengineering
  • 2nd Place - Jeffrey Anker
    • Bone fracture healing measurement
    • Jeffrey Anker, chemistry
  • 3rd Place - Jason Shaffer
    • Lids for nosey cups
    • Jason Shaffer, bioengineering
  • 3rd Place - Flexspark
    • Blood clot prevention
    • Maria Sarmiento, biochemistry
  • 3rd Place - Clutch
    • Conceal-carry “Clutch” holsters for women
    • Melissa Clampitt, business administration