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LAMG Takes $1,000 Prize at PitchBR

A proprietary polymer earned a $1,000 prize for Louisiana Multi-Functional Materials Group (LAMG) at PitchBR’s third event of 2019.

The smart sealant, developed by LSU professors Guoqiang Li and Lu Lu, is designed to fill joints in pavement without cracking or spilling over, a common problem for roads and infrastructure. Typically cement contracts in the cold, causing joint sealants to stretch and rupture, then the cement expands in the summer heat, forcing sealant up through the cracks.

Testing indicates that LAMG’s polymer addresses this problem and outpaces the leading asphalt- and silicone-based sealants. The polymer, distinguished by its propensity to expand in cold weather and contract in hot weather, could have vast uses outside of transportation infrastructure, Li and Lu say.

For now LAMG is targeting government entities responsible for repairing roads in Louisiana and elsewhere in the U.S. Testing is projected to wrap up in June 2020, with a product release in August 2020.

Each 10-minute pitch at PitchBR laid out a plan for success and a timeline for completion.

LAMG’s competition included Fundraising for All, the brainchild of Sharon Walker McCall, owner of Resource & Fund Development, and which is in the design and development stage.

McCall noted the shortage of nonprofit organizations in areas of Baton Rouge that are in great need. These organizations, she pointed out, are not viable without funding. The final Fundraising for All service is intended to be subscription-based software designed to aid nonprofits in learning and applying the principles of fundraising and stewardship.

Another competitor, WorkSpaceNow, seeks to tap into the gig and on-demand economy by pairing students and remote workers with available workspots in offices and coffee shops. The service was pitched by co-founders Lezlie Clerc Bertrand and Aaron Koenck.

The subscription service is designed to meet a significant demand for coworking and study space that can’t be met by coffee shops alone, and to provide security for students and remote workers. Subscribers have the chance to reserve workspaces for up to two hours.

The pitches were evaluated by Noah Boudreaux, executive vice president of data center sales and operations at EATEL Business, Stacia Haynie, executive vice president and provost at LSU, and Brett Mason, an attorney with event co-sponsor Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann.

While the judges deliberated, a local high school student and graduate of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy presented his product, Reaction Relief. Charlie Roth says he invented the product in reaction to a running injury he sustained. Since traditional hot and cold packs were inaccessible on the track, Roth’s inability to alternate hot and cold relief appropriately prompted him to design the product. 

Each Reaction Relief pack offers a one-time use as alternately a hot and a cold pack (one on each side), allowing athletes to utilize the physician-suggested hot and cold injury relief, even when on the field. Roth fielded questions regarding his product, and discussed his production costs, target market and plans for continued research.

PitchBR took place at Juban’s Creole Restaurant and was hosted by the Louisiana Tech Park.

Stephen Loy