Tech is the trend among Canyon Challenge finalists

March 17, 2016 / by / 0 Comment

By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau

The emphasis on technology at Grand Canyon University has manifested itself in the Canyon Challenge, the annual entrepreneurial competition.

Of the 11 finalists, eight are tech-based ideas. The field will be cut to five Wednesday, and the finals are scheduled for 6 p.m. April 13 in GCU Arena.

cc logo_crop1“We’ve got a stronger focus on technology than we’ve seen in the past,” said Tim Kelley, assistant professor for entrepreneurship and economics in the Colangelo College of Business. “That’s a growing trend, partly reflecting the integration of engineers into our community. Also, the caliber of the plans and the ideas is better than in the past.”

A five-person panel of judges, which will include GCU President Brian Mueller and Phoenix District 5 Councilman and Vice Mayor Daniel Valenzuela, will award $7,000 to the winner, $2,000 to the runner-up and $1,000 to the third-place finisher. In addition, students can vote via text to award cash to their favorite teams.

Here’s a synopsis of each finalist, listed in alphabetical order:

Frapp House: Social gathering place located exclusively on college campuses where students can have a frappe-style coffee and socialize. As the executive summary states, “It will not be a quiet environment to conduct meetings or do homework, but it will be an atmosphere to meet people of the same age and connect with them.”

Knobely: Door knob equipped with sensors that notifies the home and business owner through text messages when someone touches it, and it’s cheaper than most home security systems.

Lectric Longboards: Longboards are longer and easier to use than skateboards. The target audience would be college students or last-mile commuters ages 15-29 and would sell for $600, half as much as the average electric longboard.

Narratus: It’s described as a “multiplayer choose-your-own-adventure” that would enable people to interact with a text-based book, from historical to fantasy. For example, Narratus would enable people to virtually experience the Battle of Gettysburg together.

Near: A location-based application for Instagram and Twitter doesn’t exist, so this would fill that gap by giving users the power to search for other users near their location.

Own Wood: This is a clothing brand that embraces state pride by putting an outline of the particular state’s shape on hats and athletic or outdoorsy gear.

Radius: The average commute time in America is 40 minutes, and Radius is a proximity optimization that improves the computer interface between offices, communications, buildings and communities.

Raffle Boss: Aims to make fundraising easy. It changes the way groups promote and sell raffle tickets for their cause by expanding the available pool of participants through social media and online sales.

Smart Armor: Installs a chip that enables consumers to lock, track and find their valuables using their smart device.

Storage Together: Calls itself the “Airbnb of self-storage.” It aims to link people who need storage space with people who have open storage space.

Tail Space: It would digitize advertising on trucks and enable companies to track return on investment in real time.

Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or

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