Last week eight teams from the University of Oregon converged in Eugene to pitch their best business ideas to a panel of judges as part of the QuackHatch Business Idea Competition. The teams with the best physical product idea were selected to hit the Road to InventOR, joining the teams that will compete for a spot at the InventOR Final Competition in June.
It was an exciting night in Eugene at the Lillis Business Complex and in the end, two teams emerged as the victors.
If you’ve ever been on a mountain bike trying to get a grip on a dirt and gravel surface, you’ll be interested to hear about Squishy Time — a team of students with the humble goal of reinventing the wheel, for mountain bikes at least.
The Squishy Time bike tire insert allows for a mountain bike to operate securely with low tire pressure without damage to the rim. The lightweight insert is easy to install and mounts to the tire rim. The team has identified a special blend of polyurethane and carbon fiber and is signing on partners for the production of their high-end mountain bike accessory.
Meanwhile, the second UO winner NoteShift wants to bring the handwritten journal into the modern age by allowing people to make notes on their phone and convert them into a bound, paper journal with a few clicks.
NoteShift begins with a free app and ends with a paper journal that individuals can purchase starting at $30. The student group will begin by targeting hikers and backpackers who want to document their journeys and have something lasting they can hold in their hands. As NoteShift puts it, they are simplifying the process “from type to touch.”
The UO teams will join the initial field of 34 teams that will be named in the coming months. Each will receive $500 teach to develop their prototypes and participate in the InventOR semifinal round, May 17, 18, and 19.
From there, the road to InventOR advances with just 20 teams remaining — one team from each school, plus three wildcard teams. They will receive $2,000 each to fine tune their prototype for the InventOR final which will be held June 28 at Portland State's Viking Pavilion.