Three Auburn Engineering teams among Tiger Cage Pitch Competition finalists

Published: Mar 24, 2023 7:30 AM

By Joe McAdory

Three teams of Auburn Engineering students are among four startups competing on Friday, March 31, for $54,000 in early-stage startup capital in the Tiger Cage Student Business Idea finals.

  • OMNIS, a peer-to-peer social platform that allows individuals to borrow money through the community via short-term micro-loans that meet immediate needs, is headed by computer science and software engineering (CSSE) students Zakariya Veasy and Evan Henley. OMNIS has experienced recent success by winning the university’s annual Halloween Business Idea Pitch Competition and taking part in the SEC Student Pitch Competition.
  • Dropllel, an accurate, rapid and cost-effective virus detection system capable of lowering the possibility of large-scale contamination, was developed by Parvin Fathi-Hafshejani, a graduate student in electrical and computer engineering.
  • Archangel Defense, created by mechanical engineering student Shay Pilcher, is a provider of customized equipment for any combat situation imaginable, designed for peak performance to ensure those who defend our nation make it home safely.

Additionally, Scott Rowe, who is pursuing a master’s in finance at the Harbert College of Business, created Rodopto, an agricultural company dedicated to sustainable crop production utilizing advancements in drone technology, rounds out the finals field.

Teams are given 15 minutes to pitch their business ideas before a panel of industry judges, followed by 15 additional minutes for questions.

Presented by the Harbert College of Business, Thomas Walter Center for Technology Management and the university’s New Venture Accelerator, Tiger Cage provides students with months of business plan training from mentors and seasoned entrepreneurs that culminate in quarterfinal, semifinal and final round live pitch competitions before judges.

“I am so excited to have watched this program develop over the years,” said Lou Bifano, director of the New Venture Accelerator. “The students’ skills continue to improve each year from developing fantastic, unique ideas, to developing stronger business plans and then presenting the judges with top-notch pitches. This year, we are even more delighted with the diversity of startup ideas and the quality of the student teams.”

Fathi-Hafshejani considers Auburn’s entrepreneurship program as a “transformative experience” in her education.

“The Tiger Cage program exposed me to a variety of resources, mentorship and feedback. It helped refine my business plan, allowed me to gain insights into the market/industry and develop my pitching skills,” she said. “These experiences have helped me grow as an entrepreneur and develop skills that are critical for starting and growing a successful business.”

Eight previous Tiger Cage finals have yielded seven winners with Auburn Engineering ties, including CSSE alumnus Emmett Deen in 2022.

This year’s competition, held again inside Horton-Hardgrave Hall’s Broadway Event and Space Theater, kicks off at 9 a.m. and is open to the public.

Media Contact: Joe McAdory,, 334.844.3447
The Tiger Cage finals will be Friday, March 31, in Horton-Hardgrave Hall's Broadway Event and Space Theater.

The Tiger Cage finals will be Friday, March 31, in Horton-Hardgrave Hall's Broadway Event and Space Theater.

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