Prototype torque wrench wins UTSA entrepreneurship competition

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(Dec. 8, 2015) -- EZ-Torque, a start-up company that invented a torque wrench attached to a motorized drill to save time, money and lives in the aviation industry, won the top prize at The University of Texas at San Antonio $100K Student Technology Venture Competition. The challenge was sponsored by UTSA’s Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship (CITE).

The company, co-founded by UTSA students Tyler Bailey, Lance Kimbro, Carla Villareal, John Wurzbach, Jeff Kitchen and Storm Graybill, sprung from Bailey’s background as a former airplane mechanic. He recalled tightening bolts on an aircraft by hand with a torque wrench, which was time-consuming and introduced a higher rate of human error, which could lead to an unsafe aircraft. Bailey and his teammates created their winning device by attaching a torque wrench to a rotary drill, significantly slashing the time it would take for technicians to do the same work.

EZ-Torque was awarded $100,000 in cash and services to jump-start their company. They’re now looking for investors and hope to secure a patent for their product.

The second place prize went to Therm-moist therapy, co-founded by UTSA students Jaime Arredondo, Andrea del Rio, Santiago Lascurian, Blake Perales, Armando Saide and Chris Zurcher. The team’s product is a medical compression sleeve that contains several massaging applications that relax muscles and promote a better physical range of motion. The product will help cerebral palsy patients.

Third place was awarded to Synced-In, co-founded by UTSA students Clesmie Burden and William Cavanaugh. The team presented an app to help students stay organized during the school year and improve their time management. The app includes syllabi downloaded from Bluebook and allows students to set up reminders that an exam or due date is approaching. Among other features, it includes a messaging system that allows students in the same class to confidentially communicate.

The panel of judges reviewed each team’s product in a morning symposium where engineering students presented their senior design projects. In the afternoon the six competing teams presented their products to the judges in an eight-minute pitch.

Established in 2007 and held semi-annually, the $100K Student Technology Venture Competition offers UTSA's undergraduates in business, science and engineering with the opportunity to build a technology, patent it, create a business and launch it in a rigorous incubator program. The top three teams have access to a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding and in-kind services to launch their new companies.

Since the competition's inception, 650 students have participated, more than 85 company ideas have been pitched and a dozen patent applications have been filed. Two winning teams from previous competitions, Leto Solutions and Invictus Medical, have demonstrated steady progress toward commercializing their products.

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Learn more about the $100K Student Technology Venture Competition.

Learn more about the UTSA Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship.

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