Brian Foster hadn’t planned to sing during his team’s presentation at the Shocker New Venture Competition Friday, but he joked afterward that his ditty may have been what pushed Quickdraw Studios over the top.
Quickdraw — a video game and application company geared toward restaurants and bars — won the $10,000 first-place prize Friday at the finals of the competition, which is put on by the Wichita State University Center for Entrepreneurship.
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The company is the brainchild of entrepreneurs Foster, Nicolas Gallo and Cody Harryman. The idea was spawned when Gallo, a Textron Aviation engineer and WSU graduate student, thought the logo for the Hopping Gnome Brewing Co. in Wichita was so memorable, it needed to star in its own video game.
During the trio’s pitch to a panel of judges Friday at WSU’s Devlin Hall, one of the judges jokingly asked whether someone from the group would sing their response to an inquiry during a question-and-answer session.
Proving he was a good sport, Foster did sing his answer, leading to applause from onlookers during a lighthearted moment.
“I think it might have put us over,” Foster later joked.
In addition to the video game, Quickdraw also makes a trivia application, which was also purchased by the Hopping Gnome. With their prize money, Gallo, Harryman and Foster hope to continue to grow their business.
Quickdraw already has about 70 downloads in states other than Kansas, Gallo said, and was approached recently by a construction company about developing a building preview program.
“It’s been an exciting day,” Harryman said. “The questions we got from the judges weren’t as difficult as we thought they might be. We’re just proud because there were some great ideas in this competition.”
Lawn Buddy, an idea for an Uber-like lawn service app, finished in second-place, earning its inventors a $5,000 prize.
A total of 62 teams entered this year’s competition, which began with a trade show at Koch Arena earlier this month. Six teams were selected for Friday’s final round.
Teams needed to have at least one member currently enrolled at a Kansas institution of higher learning.
Mark Torline, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and a judge in the competition, said it wasn’t easy to choose a winner.
“I think one of the determining factors for Quickdraw Studios was that it has already launched its product,” he said. “It was a shorter time to market for them.”