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Casper StartUp Challenge winners pitch for seed fund, move into WTBC

All the finalists gather together on Thursday. (Tom Dixon, Wyoming Business Council)

CASPER, Wyo. —  The three winning companies from the 2019 Casper Start-Up Challenge applied for their share of the challenge’s $50,000 seed fund during a pitch event earlier this month.

The companies — Symmetry Trailers, Piggyback Cocktail Co., and NevRA — were given 30 minutes each to make their pitches in front of a judging panel that was tasked with deciding what amount each company received.

“This is the toughest part of being a judge,” said Justin Farley, president/CEO of Advance Casper. “We wish we could give each company $50,000, because they are all so good.”

Each company also will receive a year of free rent and business incubation from the Wyoming Technology Business Center (WTBC). All of the companies went through the Casper Start-Up Challenge last year and spent the past few months perfecting their seed fund pitches to the judges.

“Each company is incredibly unique, and we at the Wyoming Technology Business Center are extremely excited to work with them,” says WTBC-Casper Director Eric Schlidt. “The companies will have the ability to interact with the other current incubator clients and learn from their invaluable experience.”

The WTBC in Casper is located at 2435 King Blvd. and provides business incubation to startup companies in central Wyoming. The incubator houses multiple companies that receive business incubation from the staff there.

Other panel judges were Brook Kaufman, CEO of Visit Casper; Nicholas Grooms, shareholder of Grooms & Harkins PC; Samantha Benton, vice president/commercial loan officer at First Interstate Bank; and Shawn Houck, founder and CEO of Adbay.com.

The Casper Start-Up Challenge opens in the late summer, and finalist presentations occur in the fall.

The Casper Start-Up Challenge is sponsored by Advance Casper, Hilltop Bank, First Interstate Bank, the Wyoming Business Council, Oil City News, WIDC Frontier CDC and the University of Wyoming.

Shawn Houck, Founder and CEO Adbay.com, is also the owner and publisher of Oil City News and Cap City News. He is identified in this story as a Casper StartUp Challenge Judge. Houck has had no input in the posting of this story.