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        The Tiger Cage


        Students participating in the Tiger Cage kickoff

        The Tiger Cage Business Idea Competition is held annually to identify and support innovative early stage product or services ideas created by Auburn University and Auburn University- Montgomery students.

        Tiger Cage 2021

        Four student teams, StalLock (Chase Maasdorp and Wynn Gamble), Dead Bird (Mitch Owens), KultureXchange (MaKayla Smith) and Vulcan Line Tools (Zac Young), competed for a share of more than $50,000 in startup capital on Friday, March 26, in the Tiger Cage Business Idea Competition Finals. The virtual event, which was aired via Zoom, resulted in a first place award for Vulcan Line Tools. Congratulations and good luck with your startup!

        Enter the Tiger Cage

        • If you have an idea for a new business venture and are looking for an opportunity to secure early-stage seed funding to incubate your idea, this program is designed for you. You will have the opportunity to describe your new venture idea, pitch it to a seasoned group of judges and potentially win startup capital that will help jump-start your business.
        • Students will compete for a share of $50,000 in startup capital funded by the Harbert College of Business, other services in kind, and a $2,500 special category award sponsored by the College of Engineering’s Thomas Walter Center for Technology Management.
        • Competing teams will have access to mentorship from the Auburn family of business professionals and successful entrepreneurs as well as the Horton Hardgrave Hall Innovation Lab.

        Student workspace is available in the Horton-Hardgrave Hall Innovation Lab (Room 012) and the Tiger Cage Incubator-Accelerator located in the Auburn Research Park, Suite 103, 570 Devall Drive.

        The cutoff for Tiger Cage Business Idea Competition Applications is Friday, NOVEMBER 19, 2021. Please register before then if you wish to participate.

        Recognizing Your Excellence

        2021 Winners

        Vulcan Line Tools Logo

        First Place

        Vulcan Line Tools, a company, founded by mechanical engineering major Zac Young, which specializes in the production of devices for use in the electric utility industry.

        SmartStall logo

        Second Place

        SmartStall, designed by mechanical engineering major Chase Masdoorp and mechanical engineering grad Wynn Gamble, is a hands-free, restroom stall latch that uses motion sensor technology.

        Dead Bird and Kulture Xchange logos

        Third Place (Tie)

        Kulture Xchange, a company, founded by MBA student MaKayla Smith, which works with minority entrepreneurs and Dead Bird, a company, founded by finance major Mitch Owens, which makes duck calls.

        Previous Tiger Cage Winners

        • 2020

          In first place was SwiftSku, a platform that brings Big Data to convenience stores, founded by mechanical engineering major Daniel Mazur and mechanical engineering and accounting major Mit Patel. Second place was awarded to BrewMats, a product design of a portable mat for Beer Pong that prevents the cups from being knocked over, created by finance major Everett Conner. And in third was Remora Robotics, a drone that cleans waterways, designed by Zach Wadzinski, Gi Lee, Harrison Smith and Dakota Newsome, from the Ginn College of Engineering.

          To learn more about 2020's Tiger Cage Business Idea Competition, check out "Remote Tiger Cage competition won by team that develops Big Data algorithms for retail" in the News.

        • 2019

          In first place was FlashTract, a software that expedites the payment process for construction companies, created by civil engineering majors Ben Conry and Ben Chenault. Second place was awarded to Precision Performance Insoles, a device placed within insoles that maps the foot structure for comfort, designed by engineering majors Jordan Coker and Mohamed Badawy. In third was Parasky, a device that produces augmented reality in flight cockpits, designed by engineering management major Dan O’Leary, occupational safety and ergonomics major Fehmi Capanoglu and electric and computer engineering major Baha Yakupoglu.

          To learn more about 2019's Tiger Cage Business Idea Competition, check out "Software development team Flashtract wins 2019 Tiger Cage" in the News.

        • 2018

          In first place was ESCAPE Therapy, a garment to aid with physical therapy, designed by kinesiology majors Sarah Gascon and Matt Hanks and consumer and design services major Dawn Michaelson. Second place was awarded to Snippety Snap, a public cell phone stand and integrated mobile app that allows users to take photographs in popular locations, developed by public administration and public policy students Olivia Cook and Courtney Haun. In third was Enki Engineering, a spiral engineering calculation notebook, designed by supply chain management major Terran Ray, software engineering major Garrett Raab and marketing major Jackie Litschewski.

          To learn more about 2018's Tiger Cage Business Idea Competition, check out "Auburn students win $50,000 in funds and business services toward their electrotherapy garment to aid injury rehabilitation" in the Newsroom.

        • 2017

          In first place was BioErgo Solutions, . Second place was awarded to Soleline, a footwear storage and display solution, designed by engineering major Gibson Wang, electrical engineering major Berk Anadur and business administration major Frank Nguyen. And in third place was Honey Do, a peer-to-peer mobile app that enables individuals engaged in custom projects to find help locally and nationally, created by chemical engineering student Michael Minkler and MBA student Vlad Saveljeus.

          To learn more about 2017's Tiger Cage Business Idea Competition, check out "Harbert College graduate student among Tiger Cage winners" in the News.

        • 2016

          In first place was Envelope Aerospace, a device that would provide more accurate forecasts and dramatically increase the flight times of weather balloons, designed by  chemical engineering major Troy Ferguson, engineering systems major Shawn Majzlik and political science major Dennis French. Second place was awarded to EZXS, a backpack that could move around the body for easy access, designed by industrial systems graduate students Siddarth Doogar, Chaitanya Pawar, Rishi Kamat and Akilesh Yamsani. In third was HillVoy Solutions, a software that allows employees to descretely file complaints, developed by information systems management major Bobby Hillman, finance major Zach LaVoy and computer science major Eric Jackson.

          To learn more about 2016's Tiger Cage Business Idea Competition, check out "Tiger Cage winners pitch alternative to expensive weather balloons" in the News.

        • 2015

          In first place was Parking Grid Technologies, app-based software that alerts commuters to available parking spots on-demand, developed by Jonathan Philip and Alex Wakefield. Second place was awarded to SimplyProse, an editing and writing platform designed by supply chain management major Cole Kinchler, industrial and systems engineering major Sharan Kalva and finance major Jake Wright. In third was LifeLike Projections, a program that customizes retail stores via projection-mapping technology, created by information systems management major Vincent McNeeley.

          To learn more about 2015's Tiger Cage Business Idea Competition, check out "Students win Tiger Cage competition by designing app to locate vacant parking spaces" in the Newsroom.

        It's easy to apply!


        Along with a great idea, all you need is:

        • A 250-word summary of your business idea (PDF format). This will be used to introduce the judges to your business concept. Clearly state the problem or need you are addressing, your product or services solution, the market opportunity, and your go-to-market strategy.
        • A one-page Business Model Canvas that describes your business model (PDF format). You can find the template and additional information at
        • Three PowerPoint slides that aid in describing your business idea. They should be designed to interest a panel of angel investors, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and experts experienced in business development and funding.  Your goal is for them to see the market potential of your idea and want to learn more.
        • A video, up to three minutes in length describing your business idea, your business model, and the problem it is designed to solve (mp4 format).

        A series of workshops, conducted by Auburn faculty, staff, entrepreneurs-in-residence, and other guest speakers, will be offered to assist students in preparing to compete in the event.  Students will also have the ability to schedule individual coaching and mentoring sessions.

        Register Today

        Tiger Cage Rounds

        Tiger Cage competitions are often broken into several rounds to allow judges plenty of opportunity to award the best ideas. Check out the details below for more information. 

        • Tiger Cage Kickoff: September 3, 2021

          If you have an idea for a business plan, join us at this year's Tiger Cage Business Idea Competition Kickoff. You'll learn from experts how to take your idea and make it tangible ... and to possibly earn $50,000 in capital funding.

        • Tiger Cage Round One
          An independent panel of judges will review the submissions and select the top twenty teams or individuals to advance to the quarter-final round.  Selected teams, and teams that did not advance, will have the opportunity to participate in a series of mentoring and coaching sessions on business plan development and effectively presenting your business idea to potential investors.
        • Tiger Cage Quarter-Final Round: January 28, 2022

          Each of the top twenty teams or individuals selected from the online submissions will deliver a business plan pitch over Zoom to a group of judges with significant experience in business formation and funding.  The presentation environment is designed to simulate a typical (COVID-19-environment) pitch to an angel investor or venture capital firm.  Teams will prepare a PowerPoint presentation to aid in communicating their new venture idea during their presentation.

          • Each team will have up to 10 minutes (5 minutes for their presentation and 5 minutes for questions from the judges.)
          • Judges will select the top eight teams to advance to the Tiger Cage Semi Final Round.
        • Tiger Cage Semi-Final Round: February 25, 2022

          Judges will select the top four teams to advance to the Tiger Cage Final Round.

          Depending on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic, presenters will either pitch over Zoom or face-to-face with the judges.

        • Tiger Cage Finals: March 25, 2022

          This is a public event held at the Horton-Hardgrave Hall BEST Room and Rooftop Terrace.

          Depending on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic, presentations will either be over Zoom or face-to-face with the judges.

        Eligibility and Guidelines

        1. Individuals and teams of up to six Auburn or Auburn University—Montgomery (AUM) students are eligible to enter. This is a competition for Auburn University and AUM undergraduate and graduate students on-campus and online.  Auburn and AUM students enrolled in Fall Semester 2020 classes from any school, college, or academic department can participate.  Students planning to graduate at the end of the Fall 2021 semester may participate.
        2. An active student, or Fall 2020 semester graduate, must lead the team but recent Auburn alumni (within one year of graduation) are permitted to join teams.
        3. It is strongly encouraged that teams be inter-disciplinary and consist of a minimum of three members.
        4. Teams that have received prior outside investment from venture capital firms, private investors, or industry sources are not eligible to compete. Teams that have received family or friends and family investments up to $25,000 are eligible to compete.
        5. Previous Tiger Cage finalists are not eligible to compete.
        6. All entry materials will be treated as company confidential. The only individuals with access to the entry materials will be judges and members of the organizing committee.  No other or special provisions are made to protect intellectual property.
        7. Startup capital awards will be granted only to seed the startup of the submitted idea and will be paid out in stages according to mutually agreed upon milestones and proper documentation. No substitutions are allowed without the approval of the Director of Entrepreneurship Strategy.
        8. The Harbert College of Business reserves the right to disqualify, at its sole discretion, any team from the competition at any time, for any reason. Reason for disqualification include, but are not limited to, plagiarism and any other form of academic dishonesty, misrepresentation, misappropriation or infringement of the intellectual property of others as well as any failure to comply with these guidelines.  Disqualified teams shall forfeit any and all awards and other benefits.
        9. Only one submission per student team is permitted.
        10. Students’ behavior throughout the competition should be consistent with the values embodied in the Auburn Creed.

        Contact Us

        Have questions about the Tiger Cage competitions? We can help.

        Lou Bifano

        Lou Bifano

        Director of Entrepreneurship Strategy