After months of brainstorming, researching, developing and planning, 10 teams of young entrepreneurs will pitch investors and judges at Biola University’s 9th annual Startup Competition Finals on April 19, 2024. Startup competitions create an experience which connects all innovation stakeholders, like students pitching, experienced entrepreneurs, impactful investors, generous alumni, and supportive faculty.

Sponsored by Crowell School of Business’s Biola’s Office of Innovation, the Startup Competition is an initiative that offers all current Biola undergraduate students, graduate students and recent alumni the opportunity to transform a promising idea into a successful startup business or nonprofit.

Why startup competitions are important to entrepreneurship

Following the Biola mission to “impact the world for the Lord Jesus Christ,” the Biola Startup Competition helps students conceptualize and launch businesses aimed at resolving the world's largest challenges through faith, skill and entrepreneurial spirit.

What is unique at Biola is a community of redemptive innovators, entrepreneurs and investors with the deep roots of Christ-filled business strategies and biblically-sound theology. This spark of entrepreneurship — with values-aligned capital partners, sustainable markets and positive industry trends — can catapult startups toward growth. This is the ideal scenario for any startup team to thrive.

How Biola students prep for a startup competition

Winning one of the top prizes in the competition is significant but is only the icing on the cake. Judges and invited guests are active angel investors and venture capitalists with a redemptive lens for their growing portfolios. Connections with these capital providers are opportunities for student entrepreneurs to take their plans to the next stage.

The teams are aided by experienced executives and business leaders. This year, twenty-five mentors — industry mentors and Biola alumni — have volunteered dozens of hours to encourage and aid students in preparing their pitches and refining their initiatives.

Meet the 2024 Startup Competition finalists

The ten startups pitching for capital at this year’s event are:

  1. Anchor — Founder & CEO Joseph Liu - Business (AI Platform). A biblical AI solution designed to help people answer any questions about faith.
  2. CENT — Founder & CEO Nathalie Duque - Communication (MarTech). Helping college students save money one cent at a time!
  3. Daydream - Founder & CEO Sara Valladarez - Business (Fashion Brand). A size-inclusive women's fashion brand that will bring the basics to all.
  4. Eco-mineral Tech - Founder & CEO Perez Balikuddembe — MBA Finance (Sustainability Tech). Turning tech trash into treasure.
  5. Eveive — Co-Founders Amy Payne and Sarah Kim - Business & Public Health (FemTech). A community platform for women to share, gain advice, and find a sense of sisterhood for all things women’s health.
  6. GoGo — Co-Founders Angel Martinez, Jehan Christian and Audrey Seputra - Business (TravelTech). An all-in-one travel companion app offering a smooth and stress-free journey from start to finish, molding the way people travel.
  7. Hume & Kind — Founder & CEO Matthew Hume - Business (Fashion Brand). A lifestyle brand creating clothing and products for everyday living and leisure; designed for those who value richness and seek culture in life itself.
  8. Intent — Founder & CEO Ellieanna Ross - Computer Science (SaaS). A camp management platform for Christian camps bringing order and efficiency for organizers.
  9. Never Empty — Founder & CEO Erika Haugen - Business (FoodTech). An innovative food scanner for the fridge and an app to help with solving food waste and promoting healthy eating.
  10. Paws of Grace — Founder & CEO Stepan Smoldovskii - Business (PetTech). A web platform providing innovative solutions prioritizing the health and well-being of pets while promoting Christian values of compassion and service.

Attend the 2024 Startup Competition

This year’s keynote speaker will be Charity McCloud, City Director for Resource Global Los Angeles and founder of ABC Connect Logistics. This year’s judges are Allison Long Pettine, founder and partner at Crescent Ridge, Jack Chao, partnerships executive at Ardius (recently acquired by Gusto), Andrew Feng of Faith Driven Investor and Indigitous, and Fadi Hindi of Moloco.

The afternoon will also include an “Innovation panel discussion” of Biola alumni plus student leaders from the new AI lab and the new Prototype & Design Lab student leaders.

The Startup Competition Finals is free and open to the public with pre-event registration. Registrants will receive a free box lunch provided by Chick-Fil-A. 

The Startup Competition finals begin at 2 p.m. on Friday, April 19 in the Biola University Business Building, room 109.