Business student

Student-Run Addiction Recovery App Wins $ 3,000 in University of Utah Business Competition

Ten finalists entered the Opportunity Quest competition for prizes totaling $ 8,000

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Nick Van Slooten and Elizabeth Miller, two of Tribe’s co-founders, won first place in the Lassonde Entrepreneurial Competition at the University of Utah on Friday, December 3, 2021.

This story is part of the Salt Lake Tribune’s ongoing commitment to identifying solutions to Utah’s biggest challenges through the work of the Innovation Lab.

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A student-run addiction recovery app won $ 3,000 in a business competition at the University of Utah.

Focused on helping those addicted to pornography, Tribe is an online community support group, said co-founder Nick Van Slooten. Van Slooten is a senior at Brigham Young University, but one of Tribe’s co-founders Elizabeth Miller is a junior at U.

Ten finalists took part in the Opportunity Quest competition, organized by the university’s Lassonde Entrepreneurship Institute. Businesses run by students from the University of Utah competed to win $ 8,000 in prizes.

The institute, which is in its 20th year, supports any University of Utah student interested in entrepreneurship and starting a business. About 400 students live in a dormitory formed to be an entrepreneurial community, but the institute works with thousands of other students throughout the year, spokesperson Thad Kelling said.

The judges included a partner from the University Growth Fund, Album VC, SEARCH Group Partners and the law firm Ballard Spahr.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Elizabeth Miller and Nick Van Slooten won first place in the Lassonde Entrepreneurial Competition at the University of Utah on Friday, December 3, 2021.

Although started with a focus on porn addiction, Tribe hopes to expand to help people with other addictions.

“We want to be the platform for team-based accountability,” Van Slooten said. “A support group built into the app for people to find a safe space to meet other people in difficulty or on the same path. “

In the first three weeks since launching in the Apple and Google app stores, around 100 people have signed up, paying $ 4 per month.

“The reason we charge is to get people who want to be on the platform,” Van Slooten said. “We tried a free beta [first run] and I found that the key is to find people who are really committed to engage.

Tribe, who Miller said would be renamed Relay in the coming weeks, will use the funds for marketing and advertising.

“We’re going to be able to reach more people,” Van Slooten said, adding that the company would place ads with online companies such as Facebook and Google.

Foam Laundry on-demand laundry service came in second, taking home $ 2,000. College students can drop off a bag of laundry at the Foam office at Lassonde Studios, and founder Carson Young or one of his employees will wash, dry, fold, and deliver it all for $ 10 a week.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) (Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Carson Young in front of his Foam Laundry business, which won 2nd place in the Lassonde Entrepreneurial Competition at the University of Utah on Friday 3 December 2021.

Young said he came up with the idea for Foam when he was a freshman who had never had to do his own laundry before.

“I was like, ‘Well that would be sick if I could just pay somebody,” Young said. “Fast forward so far I’ve done more loads of laundry than you have. never seen. “

Foam has had around fifteen clients to date since its launch at the start of the semester.

Aether Masks, co-founded by medical students from the United States, placed third, winning $ 1,000 for their masks that do not fog up on glasses. The company has already filed a patent for its new masks, which have padding on the nose that makes the mask more comfortable and prevents the wearer’s breath from escaping into the eyes.

“There are neurosurgeons who use duct tape,” said co-founder Chance McCutcheon. “They’ve been doing it for decades, these do-it-yourself solutions to avoid fogging. “

Aether’s co-founders hope to license the design of its disposable masks to surgical mask makers as well as a reusable design for everyday customers.