Four engineering students among 20 Halloween Pitch Competition finalists

Published: Oct 23, 2023 9:25 AM

By Joe McAdory

Four Auburn Engineering students — Mayur Basu (electrical and computer engineering), Holli Michaels (engineering management), Emily Kimbrell (computer science and software engineering) and Josiah Hood (aerospace engineering) — are among 20 finalists who will compete Friday for a portion of $5,000 in early-stage seed capital at the annual Halloween Pitch Competition.

Presented by the Harbert College of Business and Auburn University’s New Venture Accelerator, finalists were selected by industry professional judges on the merits of one page business summary and two- to three-minute videos of their business ideas.

Friday’s final round — the pitch phase — inside Horton-Hardgrave Hall’s Broadway Event and Space Theater will begin at 9 a.m.

Basu, who is working toward a doctorate, will present his startup, “Mobile EV Charger Revolution.”

Michaels, who is working toward a masters, will present her startup, “AbGlo – Six Pack, Strong Back.”

Kimbrell, a senior and marketing director for AU Hacks, will present her startup, “Track ‘Em.”

Hood, a sophomore, will present his startup, “FreshEats.”

The winner, as chosen by a panel of industry professional judges, will be presented with $2,000. Second place earns $1,000, while the third- and fourth-place participants will receive $500 each. Auburn Engineering’s Thomas Walter Center is kicking in an extra $1,000 for a “special category award.”

“The Halloween Pitch Competition has grown exponentially since we began this concept in 2019 and the business ideas just keep getting better,” said New Venture Accelerator Director Lou Bifano. “This competition continues to diversify itself among the academic disciplines across campus, including business, engineering, forestry, human sciences, liberal arts, veterinary medicine, and architecture, design and construction. Entrepreneurship and innovation continue to blossom across the region, and we’d like to think that Auburn University is playing a big role.”

Bifano added that many Halloween Pitch Competition entries utilize this process to better prepare themselves for this winter’s Tiger Cage Business Idea Competition, where $85,000 in startup capital is up for grabs — and beyond.

Last year’s Halloween Pitch Competition winner, Zak Veasy, a senior in computer science and software engineering, is one of two Alabama Launchpad Cycle 3 finalists with Auburn Engineering ties. In that December 7 event in Birmingham, Veasey will pitch his startup, Omnis, before industry professional judges. Omnis is a crowdsourced social platform that merges blockchain technology with traditional banking to empower users with peer-to-peer loans, credit building and seamless transactions.

Media Contact: Joe McAdory,, 334.844.3447
Students from seven colleges across campus will participate in Friday's final pitch round.

Students from seven colleges across campus will participate in Friday's final pitch round.

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