Tech’s TOP DOG New Venture Championship winners for 2021 announced

Caden Spikes (left) and Daniel Kumler, winners of Louisiana Tech’s 2021 TOP DOG competition, celebrated their victory by posing with a replica check. (Photo Courtesy Louisiana Tech Communications)

Press release

A total of $7,500 in cash and prizes was awarded during the TOP DOG New Venture Championship at Louisiana Tech University. Awards were given to the top three finishers as well as for entrepreneurial spirit.

This past October, teams developed ideas and competed in the TOP DOG Idea Pitch. After the pitch, student teams had the option to continue with their ideas and build an investor deck to enter the preliminary round of the New Venture Championship. During the final round in May, seven multi-disciplinary teams advanced to compete in the TOP DOG New Venture Championship.

Team Peryton Drone: Cyber/Electrical Engineering major Daniel Kumler and Business Management and Entrepreneurship major Cade Spikes won first place and $3,000 with a device that combines flying and driving into one drone in a singular lightweight package.

Second place ($1,500) was awarded to Team Everest Pack: Biology Major, Abigail Hildenbrand and Finance Major, Andrew Bryant. Everest Pack is a moldable ice putty which conforms to sore or injured areas of the body. Everest Pack is one of two recipients of the Jones Walker Entrepreneurial Spirit Award of $1000.

The Short Board Team was awarded third place ($1,000). Business Management and Entrepreneurship Major, Dalton Diel and Mechanical Engineering Major, Tyler Emory developed a collapsible longboard for skateboarders. The Short Board is one of two recipients of the Jones Walker Entrepreneurial Spirit Award of $1,000.

Supporting sponsors for the TOP DOG include Louisiana Tech College of Business, Louisiana Tech College of Engineering and Science, Center for Entrepreneurship and Information Technology (CEnIT), Research & Innovation Enterprise and the Technology Business Development Center (TBDC).

Judges for the TOP DOG included Nancy Knighten, SBA Product Specialist for Regions Bank; Michael Leachman, Patent Attorney with Jones Walker; Lisa Johnson, President at Bossier Chamber of Commerce; and Keith O’Briant, CEO for LaCerta Life Sciences.

Teams are scored on the quality of their new venture investment deck and the overall viability of their business concept. The TOP DOG was established in 2002 and is coordinated by Debbie Inman, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Information Technology. Members of Bulldog Entrepreneurs, the student organization which empowers entrepreneurs and promotes innovation on the Tech campus, serve as facilitators for the event.

Additional 2021 teams were:
• Ethics Prosthetics: Logan McCarthy (Biomedical/Cyber Engineering, Computer Science), Denman McGinnis (Mechanical Engineering), and Madalynn Warner (Business Management & Entrepreneurship)
• Talaria: James Haynes and Joshua Poland (Business Management & Entrepreneurship) and Zach Mercy (Supply Chain Management)
• One Curl Fits All: Summer Banuelos and Sarah Evans (Business Management & Entrepreneurship)
• The Lot: Christopher Ritch, Noah Blackwell, Benjamin Upshaw, Devante Williams (Business Management & Entrepreneurship)


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