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The art of the pitch: Algotek

Team Algotek at an InventOR workshop. (Photo by Rawan Abdo)

Ever wonder what it takes to make it into the InventOR competition?

Initial competition rounds took place earlier this year at participating schools from OregonTech in the south to the University of Portland in the north and many other points in between. The road to InventOR is paved with two key ingredients: a good idea and a good pitch.

InventOR asks students to create inventions to solve the problems they see in their communities. The University of Oregon students behind the Algotek team, identified a big one — plastics.

Single-use plastic items make up 89 percent of the waste found in the ocean, not to mention littering the sidewalks and filling landfills on shore. Algotek has come up with a brown algae-based plastic that is quickly and entirely biodegradable — it disappears in water.

Not only that, says David Crinnion, the senior at University of Oregon who pitched the idea during UO’s QuachHatch, but it’s “so good for the environment, that it’s edible.”

Algotek's dissolving, algae-based plastic. (Photo courtesy of Algotek)

Algotek emerged from QuackHatch as one of two winning teams that advanced to the InventOR Collegiate Challenge. Since that initial pitch Algotek has been continuing to refine its prototype, identifying the ideal markets for the dissolving plastic, learning about patent and financing options during InventOR workshops, and further honing the company’s message.

David and his Algotek team will be in Klamath Falls on June 29 with algae-based plastic and the final pitch.

Until then, you can look back to that first pitch by watching the video below.

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