Meet the 2019-20 EQ Semifinalists

Five alumni judges with entrepreneurial backgrounds awarded spots in MU’s EQ program to nine teams after evaluating the top 15 applicants at the Nov. 18, 2019,  pitch competition. This year, more than 50 teams applied to be part of EQ at Mizzou.

The semifinalists represent four MU colleges and schools and 10 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Although they have diverse backgrounds and interests, they all share an entrepreneurial mindset: Thinking creatively, pushing boundaries and actively taking measures to make their business ideas a reality.

This semester, the semifinalists participated in an eight-week educational and mentoring program to refine their businesses and prepare for the pitch competition. The three winners of the March 16 competition will receive a total of $30,000 in awards and compete for an additional $30,000 at the University of Missouri System Pitch Competition, April 8.

Zach Cook

Zach Cook, MBA graduate student (Vesta Technology builds temperature-controlled storage lockers for e-food and grocery delivery. )

Trent Esser and Hayden Seidel

Trent Esser, business management & Hayden Seidel, civil & environmental engineering (Printerior creates custom-made 3D-printed furniture from recycled plastic.)

Maxwell Fazekas

Maxwell Fazekas, electrical engineering graduate student (Max Fix is a high-quality cell phone parts distributor and repair shop.)

David Goddard

David Goddard, finance graduate student (Ozark Fishing Adventures provides guide services along with gear and lures.)

Daniel Hoffman

Daniel Hoffman, executive MBA student (Norah Health software gives health care providers actionable insights to improve a patient’s experience.)

Drew Patel

Drew Patel, computer science (Pollinate is building a last-mile package delivery service for emerging economies.)

Emily Housey

Emily Housey, journalism-art direction (Housey Designs LLC customizes art through diverse mediums designed specifically for each customer.)

Madison Read

Madison Read, graphic design (Doodle Bed creates coloring book bed sheets for pediatric and elderly patients.)

Vanessa Rameriz, political science, and Daniel Serres, political science and communication (Fresher Than U is a lifestyle brand that tells the story of different cultures through art.)

MU alumni judges of the Nov. 18 competition, from left: Foster Honeck, BA ’15, chief of staff, Troutwine Ventures; Kelsey Raymond, BS BA, ’11, co-founder & CEO of Influence & Co.; Nickie Davis, BGS ’09, executive director of The District Downtown Columbia & owner of Muse Clothing; Jeremyah Grigery, BS BA ’12, director of digital marketing, Veterans United Home Loans & owner of Nostalgiaville USA; & Zach Beattie, BS BA ’14, CEO and founder of Off The Grid; co-founder of SafeTrek


UM System Virtual EQ Pitch Competition Finale

(Replaces canceled April 8 in-person event.)

Round One: April 15, 2020 — 4 to 7 p.m.
Three teams from each university will present via Zoom video conferencing. A panel of judges will choose top three teams.

Round Two: April 16, 2020 — 1 to 2 p.m.
Top three teams will present again via Zoom. A different panel of judges will rank them. First place receives $15,000, second place receives $10,000 and third place receives $5,000.

Questions? Call 573-882-3087 or email

A Message from EQ Winner Libby Martin

Veterinary medicine student Libby Martin won $30,000 from EQ in 2019 for her company Calving Technologies. Her invention is a collar for cows that tracks their vital signs and location to help decrease mortality rates during calving season. Martin has gone on to raise additional investment capital, including awards from other pitch competitions, and is now working on the beta prototype of her collar.

Watch a short video about her experience winning the Mizzou and UM System EQ competitions.  Learn more about the 2019 EQ finale.


About EQ

EQ provides workshops, tools and mentoring to help students from any degree program make their business ideas a reality. Participants have the opportunity to win up to $30,000 to jump-start their venture. Watch our two-minute video for more details.

Your Contact:
Dr. Greg Bier, EQ Director
1210c MU Student Center, Columbia, Missouri 65211
Follow EQ Mizzou on Instagram