UNM Rainforest Innovations


Albuquerque, NM, November 30, 2020–  A 9-month-long public health crisis, ninety-eight percent of classes being held online, and a complete lack of normal social interaction could have negatively impacted the Fall 2020 Lobo Rainforest Pitch Competition. But instead, students submitted 49 ideas to the all-virtual competition, providing judges with some of the best ideas the competition has seen to date. This semester the competition was completely virtual again. Typically, students get first-round feedback and finalists get a second chance to impress the judges. This time, students were given one chance to submit a 90-second pitch to be judged by industry leaders and no do-overs. The judges’ choices are in and 10 students were awarded their share of the $4750 prize pool.

“We have found ourselves almost exactly where we were last spring, we can’t see our students in person and we certainly can’t hold a live pitch competition. We decided to offer the program online last semester and it worked great – so we extended that model into the fall semester and will award our students with 3 top prizes of $1,000 and $250 to the remaining finalists. We had a great turnout and some really innovative and exciting business ideas, both related to the pandemic and not. We are really proud of our students’ resolve,” said Rob DelCampo, Executive Director of the UNM Innovation Academy.

The three top prizes of $1000 each were awarded to Mariah Gordon, an undergraduate Criminology student, for her feminine products monthly subscription box called “ForeverMore”; Liberal Arts undergraduate student Robby Fox for his single-screen Bluetooth enabled effects adjuster that fits onto the body of a musician’s guitar called “ModGuitar”; and Nikita Jaiswal, an undergraduate student majoring in Health, Medicine and Human Values, for her product “LifeControl,” a one-stop shop for emergency preparedness to help consumers get a “check-up” on their readiness for life’s emergencies.

The seven remaining finalists will each receive $250, along with detailed feedback from the judges. Those finalists are Tina Memarian for “ColourLash,” Levi Reyes Premer & Tucker Morris for “Transparency from L&T,”Mostafa Peysokhan for “CorMask,” Jen Pena for “Morning Ayurveda,” Gus Liakos for “Comeup,” Gavin Black for “Wakeband,” and Luis Delgado for “Beans and Rice Magazine.”

Two new prizes were generously donated by the NM Angels this semester and include an ABQid/NM Angels quarterly NM Investors Roundtable opportunity which was awarded to ModGuitar and two advisory sessions with NM Angel members and friends to workshop a challenge of the winners choosing. Those session were awarded to Wakeband and Transparenct from L&T.

# # #

For more information, please contact Tiffini Porter at tjp0217@unm.edu.

Skip to content