Auburn University’s Tiger Cage business pitch competition down to final four

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Four Auburn University student-led teams have advanced to the finals of the Tiger Cage business pitch competition, being selected from eight teams that pitched business ideas to judges Feb. 25 in Horton-Hardgrave Hall.  

Advancing to the final four, listed in alphabetical order, are:

  • Feature Finder, a social music platform designed to revolutionize the music industry, by Zane Barbao, management and entrepreneurship, and Luke Matthews, professional flight;

  • IGNTE, a platform that gives organizations a means of showing sponsors’ ads on Twitch, by Jacob Cordero, business administration, and Emmett Deen, computer science;

  • The Best Roping Dummy, a team roping training system that reduces the need for live cattle and improves practice capabilities, by Will Jordan, agricultural communications; and

  • Toft by 2153, a game development studio specializing in next-generation, cross-platform, multiplayer games, by Jesse Stewart, software engineering and studio art, Brooke Hopton-Jones, computer science, and Sydney Pham, software engineering.

The Tiger Cage final round will be held March 25 in Horton-Hardgrave Hall’s Broadway Event Space and Theater as teams compete for $54,000 in early-stage startup capital.

“We are delighted with the diversity of startup ideas and the quality of the student teams participating in this year’s competition,” said Lou Bifano, director of entrepreneurship strategy in the Harbert College of Business. “Every year, we see better ideas and better presentations. This year is no exception.”

Judges for the semifinal round included Greg Cessna, CEO, Consumer Fresh Produce; Ben Conry, co-founder, Flashtract; Olivia Cook, inaugural executive director, Economic and Social Justice Center, Miles College; Tim Denison, president, GDI LLC; Ken Evola, managing director, PWC; Ben Finley, founder, The Finley Group; and Ralph Runge, RSquare Consulting Inc.

More information about the Tiger Cage business pitch competition, as well as the array of services provided by the New Venture Accelerator to help those looking to start a new business or grow an existing one, is available by contacting Bifano at

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