VIBE Competition Launches With 15 Startups

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Fifteen teams will compete for more than $50,000 in prizes in the inaugural VIBE Business Plan Competition.

VIBE, the Veterans Incubator for Better Entrepreneurship, has announced that 15 teams will compete for $50,000 in prizes in the inaugural VIBE Business Plan Competition.

The largest such competition in the South Sound, the VIBE BPC brings veterans and non-veterans together with the region’s wealth of business talent and experience to support the creation of a dynamic entrepreneurial culture and the building of a regional job-creation engine.

“Since this is our first year,” said VIBE Director Thomas Kuljam, “we really didn’t know what to expect. We are surprised and pleased at the number and diversity of submissions we received. It demonstrates the large talent pool of people with innovative business ideas we have in this region.”

The 15 teams listed below will spend the next two weeks working with coaches, and will participate in an investment round on April 26. Winners will advance to the final round on May 3, where prizes will be awarded.

Best Capital Partners

Lydia Mautz, B.A. Arts, Media & Culture, ’17; Raymond Mautz, vet. U.S. Navy; Jeremy Mautz; Mark Jacob

Best Capital Partners is a sales office for merchant cash advances and working capital finance to provide short-term liquidity and unsecured loans to small businesses across America.

Broadway Bullion

Anand Lall, sophomore (pre-major), vet. U.S. Army

Broadway Bullion & Coin is an 8-month-old sole-proprietorship retail store providing customers with coins, gold bullion and numismatics information in western Washington.

Chrono Vision

Kevia Cloud, junior (pre-major), vet. U.S. Marine Corps.; Marcus Reese

Chrono Vision is a web application that allows users to experience virtual reality (VR) with nothing more than a smartphone, headset and a web browser. The company provides VR simulations with a history theme and is aimed at the mobile VR market.

Dawg Box

Tovargii Pugh, signal support specialist, U.S. Army; Jamie Sloan, B.S. Environmental Science, ’09; Zamain Brown, Pierce College; Davidson Udoh, signal support specialist, U.S. Army; Anthony Wigglesworth, vet. U.S. Marine Corps.

The Dawg Relief Station is a self-cleaning facility for the in-home pet care market. The device uses a rotating artificial turf, with high-pressure jets of environmentally-friendly cleaning solution that disinfects the turf with every use. The company will establish a biofuel reprocessing loop that will use material collected pet relief stations on a commercial scale.


Lydia Mautz, B.A. Arts, Media & Culture, ’17

GoSKins allows players of the CounterStrike: Global Offensive multi-player game to earn money by listing their game inventory items for sale or trade securely on the online GOSkins marketplace.


Vishaal Diwan, B.A. Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, ’17; Dana Scott, B.A. Environmental Studies, ’12, M.S. Geospatial Technologies, ’16; Nicole Simon, B.L.Arch Landscape Architecture, ’11 (Seattle); Matt Abplanalp, sophomore (law and policy), vet. U.S. Army; Patrick Stevens, senior (computer science & systems); Zac Lu, B.S. Computer Science & Systems, ‘17

Handimaps provides custom accessible routes and travel information for event venues to individuals with disabilities. The app-based service will target users aged 16-55, with a focus on event venue interiors such as arenas, stadiums and concert halls.


Brendan Studebaker, junior (biomedical sciences); Alexandra Franklin, junior (healthcare leadership); Katrina Sells, B.S. Environmental Science, ’16, vet. U.S. Air Force

Helrus intends to develop innovative treatments for irritable bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Taking a cue from nature, the company intends to isolate the compounds that helminths (parasitic worms) use to create a benign environment, which act as anti-inflammatory agents and immunosuppressants.

Lieu’s Pantry

Tina Van, junior (business administration)

Lieu’s Pantry will be a distributor of meal kits and prepared meals using locally-sourced ingredients, and initially emphasizing Vietnamese cuisine. Early-stage retail outlets will be farmer’s markets, later to expand to include stores and supermarkets.

Oli Fitness

Alexander Orozco, B.S. Computer Science & Systems, ’17; Charlton Smith, Senior (computer science & systems); Chris DeJarlais, B.A. Business Administration, ’16, B.S. Computer Science & Systems, ’16; Peter Chu, Junior (computer science & systems), vet. U.S. Air Force; Jeremy Crawford, chief design officer, MediaDojo Inc.

Oli Fitness provides a suite of integrated services and technologies to individuals, trainers and owners in the personal fitness/weight training market. Through hardware and software, Oli tracks training progress at the overall and granular level by analyzing technique, coaching injury avoidance, and suggesting tailored workouts.

Nom-Nom’s Cookie Café

Lydia Mautz, B.A. Arts, Media & Culture, ’17

The café will serve edible cookie dough, providing classic flavors and customizable toppings and mix-ins. The product will include gluten-free, lactose-free, natural and organic ingredients where possible. The retail outlet will provide space for art and craft work in a Victorian-inspired atmosphere.

Renaissance 21

LeShawn Gamble, Junior (psychology), vet. U.S. Army

Renaissance 21 produces and sells art, produces shows, hosts galleries and operates art workshops, all focused on social equity and cultural awareness. The proceeds from these activities fund a youth art program that provides young people in underserved communities an environment to create and express themselves artistically.


Jordan Hoover, B.A. Urban Studies, ’17; Jim Thatcher, assistant professor, Urban Studies

RunSafe, operating via a free mobile app, allows runners to find safe routes through their city using time- and location-based data. Through a user feedback loop, RunSafe will sell “toolkits” of runner safety data to city planners, to aid them in designing and deploying pedestrian safety measures.

Tart Cider

Nicholas Timm, vet. U.S. Air Force; Zoe Van Schyndel, faculty, Evergreen State College

Tart Cider is a commercial cidery in Olympia producing a hard cider product that targets the artisanal cider market, distinguished by significantly less sugar and no “back-sweetening.” Production facilities focus on environmental sustainability; distribution will emphasize kegs rather than bottles.


Korbett Mosesly, United Way of Pierce County; Ken Miller, ret. Weyerhaeuser Co.; Brittani Flowers, community development consultant; Alek Beers, graphic design consultant

Torqly helps recruit the right employees in high-demand sectors like construction, hospitality and healthcare. Torqly is a mobile application with profile pages for job seekers and a searchable candidate database for employers.


Lydia Mautz, B.A. Arts, Media & Culture, ’17

Wisherr is a website, mobile app and Facebook app that facilitates the creation of wish lists. Clients can share those lists or individual items from the lists with friends and family. Lists can be linked to Facebook events and to crowd-funding requests.

Written by: 
John Burkhardt / April 13, 2017
Media contact: 

John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or