UNM Rainforest Innovations

Albuquerque, NM – Coming up on May 10, university students in New Mexico will have an opportunity to pitch their innovative business ideas for prize money at the 2022 Pitch Deck Competition. Going on its third year, the competition serves as a platform for student entrepreneurs to showcase their innovations and hone their pitching skills.

The event is free and starts at 5:00 p.m. at the Lobo Rainforest Building. Friends, family, community members and supporters are invited to attend the final round. The five finalists will present 10-minute pitch decks to investor judges with five additional minutes of Q&A. Hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be served. To register for the event, go to 22PitchDeck.Eventbrite.com

There is a $20,000 prize pool, sponsored by the UNM Rainforest Innovations Board of Directors, that will be divided among the five finalists. There will be a $10,000 first place award, a $5,000 second place award, a $2,500 third place award, and $1,250 each for fourth and fifth place.

Pitch deck competitions go further than the typical elevator pitch by including visual representations and summaries for a new company, business plan or startup vision. The goals of a pitch deck are to spark interest from potential investors, meet investors and give entrepreneurs more experience presenting to large audiences. Judges look for quality of message delivery through non-verbal cues, (voice, eye contact, gestures, movement) and persuasive and creative content which “connects all the dots” toward commercialization.

The student finalists recently submitted five-minute videos, and their preliminary slides for review by the judges. Finalists have access to resources and coaching to help them prepare for the final, live round on May 10. The five finalists competing in the finals are:

  • Tony Wallace, Business, UNM, Amelia Bierle, Public Policy, UNM, Michael Millar, Computer Science, UNM, ASH – The Affordable Student Housing App
  • Cameron CarugatiChemical Engineering, UNM, Ngoc Nguyen, Engineering, UNM, Christopher Fetrow, Chemical and Biological Engineering, UNM, Flow Aluminum – Aluminum air battery for grid storage energy
  • Elias Rosales-Zaragoza, Mechanical Engineering, UNM, LEGARD – Lower-Extremity Guided and Assisted Rehabilitation Device
  • Dharish Totiger, Business and Information Security, UNM, Mark Niederhaus, Business, UNM, Telluride Medical Solutions – Mechanical Patient Controlled Analgesia device
  • Gabriel G. Gurule, Mechanical Engineering, UNM, Ventusol – Clean Energy Solutions

About Innovation Academy
The Innovation Academy is a mindset shared by the UNM Community that asks “how do we teach and learn best so that students are prepared for life beyond college?” Based on the Rainforest theory of a bottom-up approach to innovation, iA encourages different people and groups to come together to create.  It is a cross-pollinating approach to finding solutions to problems and developing new ideas. It is based on the belief that solutions can be found when people with different backgrounds and skills come together to work on real problems and needs coming from companies and the community.  This type of experiential, or hands-on, learning prepares students to be successful in careers and work places in the real world and deepen their core subject knowledge.  Visit https://unminnovationacademy.wixsite.com/unmia  for more information.

About UNM Rainforest Innovations
As the technology-transfer and economic-development organization for the University of New Mexico (UNM), UNM Rainforest Innovations (UNMRI) protects and commercializes technologies developed at UNM by filing patents and copyrights and transferring them to the marketplace. We connect the business community (companies, entrepreneurs and investors) to these UNM technologies for licensing opportunities and the creation of start-up companies. Our vision is to play a vital role in New Mexico’s economic development and to be a leader in technology commercialization. Under the leadership of CEO Lisa Kuuttila, UNMRI is substantially growing its program using the Rainforest model to develop an innovation economy in New Mexico. Visit our website at http://innovations.unm.edu/


Skip to content