Auburn University student-startup business headed to national business pitch competition

Published: February 02, 2018
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Yellow Card Financial, a startup business created by Auburn University students Chris Maurice and Justin Poiroux, will compete at the Global Student Entrepreneurship Awards national pitch competition Feb. 9 in Dallas, Texas.

The team—which specializes in the cryptocurrency phenomenon—won first place Jan. 26 at the GSEA U.S. East Regionals in Atlanta. Winners at the national level will have the chance to compete for $40,000 in cash and prizes at the April 15-16 GSEA international finals in Toronto, Canada.

Maurice, a senior finance major in the Harbert College of Business, said the judges, which represented the Atlanta business district, noted ‘that sexy Bitcoin business' put the team over the edge and into nationals. "We felt like they truly understood what we did, which has certainly been an issue for us in the past being in such a young industry," Maurice said.

Yellow Card is no stranger to national competitions, or success. The team pocketed $25,000 last spring at eFest, a national pitch competition for undergraduate students with a $250,000 purse.

Maurice and Poiroux, a junior engineering major, are part of the Tiger Cage Accelerator and Incubator program at the Auburn Research Park. The Tiger Cage Accelerator and Incubator provides office and co-working space for student-led startups. The accelerator and incubator is managed by the Harbert College's Lowder Center for Family Business and Entrepreneurship.

"The more that we can keep doing things and presenting opportunities to help the teams grow or continue to advance in their company is great," said LaKami Baker, managing director of the Lowder Center for Family Business and Entrepreneurship.

"This is also great exposure for the university. There's some incredible innovation coming out of Auburn University. Competitions like these helps student teams by giving them an opportunity to present to people that may be potential customers—or potential investors—and that will help them reach that next milestone that they have as far as launching their business."

Maurice said his team is "hitting this competition [nationals] at the right time."

"Cryptocurrency is all over the news, and we find that most people have heard about it and have some base of knowledge on it," he said. "We'll work on clarifying what we have, make little improvements here and there to the presentation, and hope that the current opportunity and attractiveness of the industry will carry us over into Toronto."

Auburn University's Harbert College of Business provides its students with an innovative-yet-practical education focused on career readiness. The college's degree programs in accountancy, business analytics and supply chain management lead the nation. Its research centers in supply chain management and radio frequency identification (RFID) technology guide the Fortune 100. Harbert's pioneering online education programs offer value and flexibility. The college's nationally recognized faculty produce research that informs and responds to today's business trends. Learn more at the Harbert College of Business website.