Three Auburn Engineering teams earn positions in March 29 Tiger Cage pitch competition final round

Published: Feb 26, 2024 12:35 PM

By Joe McAdory

Three teams of Auburn Engineering students are among six finalists who will compete for up to $80,000 in startup capital at the Tiger Cage Student Business Idea Pitch Competition final round on Friday, March 29.

AbGlo: Six Pack/Strong Back, the creation of engineering management/product innovation graduate student Holli Michaels, computer science and software engineering graduate student Courtney Montague and Santa Barbara, California, health club owner Marianne Madsen, is a fitness device that corrects lumbar position during core strength exercises to empower trainers and healthcare professionals to monitor subjects through visual and sensory feedback.

A generic square placeholder image with rounded corners in a figure.

AbGlo is no stranger to pitch success, winning first place in last October’s Halloween Pitch Competition, the Thomas Walter Center’s “Special Category” award in the 2022 Halloween Pitch Competition, and was a 2023 Tiger Cage semifinalist.

Five seniors in industrial and systems engineering, Alex Washburn, Jordan Snyder, Emily Glaze, Maddy McCutchin and Maddie Robinson, teamed up to create Roller to Optimize Material Efficiency (ROME) — an innovative solution that addresses the labor-intensive and physically-tolling task of laying materials in diverse industries. Their flagship product, CowPaw, is an ergonomic device designed to streamline laying paper in poultry farms, which can be a time-consuming and physically demanding task.

Thomas Lester, a sophomore in industrial and systems engineering, teamed with Eugene Asante, a who recently earned a degree in psychology and is a linebacker on the Auburn University football team, to create Earlybird, a single-use canned beverage (coffee, tea or hot chocolate) capable of heating faster than a Keurig. Through rapid interior heating, the product’s sixth-generation prototype is capable of reaching temperatures of 170 degrees within minutes, while the can’s insulated coating prevents burns.

Teams from other colleges reaching the finals include Focus Friends (Abby Stansell, a senior in business administration), Mammoth Supersod (Chera Howard, a graduate student in agriculture) and PALS Pallet Productions (Luke Dixon, a senior in industrial design).

“In my years of being involved in this event, I can tell you that this was without a doubt the best collective of business ideas ever,” said Lou Bifano, director of the New Venture Accelerator. “Every idea pitched is viable and poised for great success and we at the New Venture Accelerator look forward to helping each of these teams realize their startup goals and dreams.”

In its 10th iteration, the Tiger Cage is presented by the Harbert College of Business and New Venture Accelerator. Students develop business ideas early in the fall semester, are provided with months of coaching and mentoring on how to develop/evolve those business plans and pitch their ideas before judges or potential investors.

Auburn Engineering students have been part of eight winning Tiger Cage teams. They include mechanical engineering’s Jonathan Philip and Alex Wakefield from Parking Grid Technologies in 2015, chemical engineering’s Troy Ferguson and industrial and systems’ Shawn Majzlik from Envelope Aerospace in 2016, industrial and systems engineering’s Robert Granzow and Rong Huangfu from BioErgo Solutions in 2017, civil and environmental engineering’s Ben Conry and Ben Chenault from FlashTract in 2019, mechanical engineering’s Daniel Mazur and Mit Patel from SwiftSku in 2020, mechanical engineering’s Zac Young from Vulcan Line Tools in 2021, computer science and software engineering’s Emmett Deen from IGNTE in 2022, and electrical and computer engineering’s Parvin Fathi-Hafshejani from Dropllel in 2023.

This year’s March 29 final round, judged by industry professionals and veteran entrepreneurs, kicks off at 9 a.m. inside Horton-Hardgrave Hall’s Broadway Event and Space Theater.

Media Contact: Joe McAdory,, 334.844.3447
The 10th annual Tiger Cage final round will be Friday, March 29.

The 10th annual Tiger Cage final round will be Friday, March 29.

Recent Headlines