UT students' startups land share of $50,000 entrepreneurship cash

Texas undergraduate teams pitched their startup ideas recently at the University of Texas-Austin to win their share of $50,000.

University of Texas-Austin students made up four of the five winning teams at DisrupTexas, an undergraduate pitch competition hosted by UT-Austin's Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship, Growth and Renewal.

The event featured 25 finalists from UT-Austin, the University of North Texas, Trinity, Texas State, UT-Dallas and the University of Houston. Teams presented 10-minute pitches followed by a five-minute feedback session from four judges.

UT students Katherine Allen and Atreya Misra took home the top prize - $20,000—for their employer recruitment startup, Flo Recruit.

Allen and Misra began working together in 2016, first selling their web application to student organizations. The pair formally founded Flo Recruit in January and now have seven paying customers across the country.

The idea for Flo Recruit began as Allen and Misra were job hunting for life after college.

"We were going through the corporate recruiting process ourselves," said Allen, a mechanical engineering and Plan II senior. "And we realized the same issues that were plaguing organizations were plaguing larger companies."

Flo Recruit helps companies quickly receive candidate information and gather employee feedback on candidates. Allen and Misra hope their startup will eventually help detect bias in the hiring process and predict the likelihood of a candidate being hired even before the interview process begins.

The co-founders said they plan to use their prize money to go toward gaining new customers.

"I didn't expect we'd make it as far as we did," said Misra, an electrical engineering doctoral candidate. "It was really nice to be honored."

Four other teams took home money at DisrupTexas. Pigeon, a business communication platform, won $10,000. UT-Dallas' Survivr, a that standardizes police training, won $5,000. Pro Lit Fic, a self-publishing and peer review platform, won $3,000. Event planning Dive won $2,000. DisrupTexas also gave away $15,000 in Oracle credits.

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