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Winners of 307 Startup Challenge Include Two Businesses of UW Students

October 11, 2022

Three companies, including two started by University of Wyoming students, have been selected as recipients of $25,000 in seed money resulting from pitches at the 307 Startup Challenge during the Wyoming Blockchain Stampede.

A three-judge panel awarded first place and $15,000 to Ordinal Inc., second place and $5,000 to Indico Blockchain Solutions, and third place and $5,000 to Near Field Query. The challenge was sponsored by Blue Ocean and conducted through IMPACT 307, a business incubator program at UW.

The companies all earned complimentary space in the IMPACT 307 building, as well as business counseling and other services from the startup incubator at UW.

“The judges could have easily awarded $250,000 to the businesses in the competition, if that amount of money had been available,” says Fred Schmechel, who managed the event for IMPACT 307. “They were all that good.”

Ordinal Inc. presented use of blockchain in solving supply-chain issues with an infrastructure as a service approach. Learn more at www.linkedin.com/company/ordinal-inc/.

Indico, a team of UW students and graduates, presented use of blockchain in creating community-driven, collaborative economic solutions. Team members are business majors Dylan Benedetto, of Laramie; Teagan Pennock, of Pinedale; Matt Skrlac, of Sheridan; Joe Marchand, of Cheyenne; and Isaac Riley, a graduate from Evansville. Learn more at www.linkedin.com/company/indico-blockchain-solutions-llc/.

Near Field Query, founded by UW student Zane Davidson, an energy systems major from Cheyenne, presented use of blockchain to facilitate scalable transactions leveraging smart contracts accessing near field communication devices such as smartphones. Learn more at www.linkedin.com/in/zane-davidson-042b56168/.

Other entries in the 307 Startup Challenge were ThatchCoin, Maven Federal Credit Union, LegaciLife, Crypto Legacy and Jonathan Stokes. Judges were David Pope, founder and CEO of DAPCPA Pope & Jackson Inc.; Anthony Apollo, founder of Rensa Games; and Chance Price, a business recruitment manager with the Wyoming Business Council.

It was the first time for the 307 Startup Challenge at the Wyoming Blockchain Stampede.

“The partnership with IMPACT 307 is an important addition to the Wyoming Blockchain Stampede and WyoHackathon,” says Steve Lupien, director of the UW Center for Blockchain and Digital Innovation (CBDI), which conducts the event. “We’ve structured the Wyoming Blockchain Stampede to showcase the opportunities blockchain and digital assets offer for starting businesses in Wyoming and resources offered at UW.”

Lupien says the 307 Startup Challenge sponsorship by Blue Ocean and Wyoming Blockchain Stampede sponsorship by IOHK will lead to more opportunities at future events for the pitch competition.

The second- and third-place finishes of blockchain startups by UW students indicate educational efforts at UW, such as the minor in blockchain, are paying off, he says.

“It’s not that students are just learning about blockchain; they are learning how to apply it,” Lupien says. “I’m of the opinion that the best way to learn about starting a business is to start a business.”

IMPACT 307 is a statewide network of Wyoming innovation-driven business incubators committed to growing and strengthening Wyoming’s entrepreneurial community by providing resources and support for founders to thrive.

UW’s CBDI is an interdisciplinary center focused on emerging technologies to foster innovation, economic development and education.

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