April 24, 2023, KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – Seven entrepreneurial students from Oregon Tech competed April 20 at Catalyze Klamath Challenge for $13,000 in seed money to turn their product ideas and prototypes into real businesses. The winning concept, developed by students Lauren Sadrin and Mauricio Huntoon DeRoche, is known as Deep Dive Robotics.
The Catalyze Challenge fosters project development, design, and communications skills while boosting public understanding of the talent pipeline available at Oregon Tech. Judges John Lamy, Lamy Consulting; Randy Cox, Klamath County Economic Development Association (KCEDA); Heather Harter, Klamath County Chamber of Commerce; and Greg Newman, Desert Lake Technologies, applauded Deep Dive Robotics for developing an innovative solution to a user-centered problem, which is a focus of Catalyze.
The product concept from Deep Dive Robotics is for an autonomous robotic submarine that utilizes advanced visual recognition technology to inspect and collect data from various water bodies for a multitude of purposes, including environmental assessments, search and rescue missions, dam and watercraft inspections, and monitoring fish populations.
The seven students who presented at Catalyze are:
- Tarrah Bickford, Environmental Sciences 2027: Fearless Retreats
- Xavier De La Rosa, Business 2024: TapIn Mobile
- Ethan Hartline, Renewable Energy Engineering 2025: Eco-Spoke
- Claire Lowry, Business Management 2024: Juniper Joy
- Lauren Sadrin, Mechanical Engineering 2023, and Mauricio Huntoon DeRoche, Mechanical Engineering 2024: Deep Dive Robotics
- Clairise Tapken, Cybersecurity 2023: Actually Confidential Attachments (ACA)
The winning projects were:
- First Place – Deep Dive Robotics: $5,000 prize
- Second Place – Juniper Joy: $3,000 prize
- Third Place – ACA: $2,000 prize
- Entrepreneur in Action – ACA: $1,000 prize
- People’s Choice – Juniper Joy: $1,000 prize
Klamath Community College (KCC) alumni Shawntel Dill and Jason Leach presented at Catalyze in place of the Badger Venture event at KCC. Dill and Leach are graduates of Culinary Arts and presented their concept, Homemade 2 Go. Dill and Leach were awarded prizes from KCC, including the Badger Venture award for $2,000, Entrepreneur in Action for $1,000, and People’s Choice for $250.
Additionally, Deep Dive Robotics and Juniper Joy received the Invent Oregon (InventOR) award to further develop their business plans and compete against other colleges and universities in the statewide InventOR competition June 22. Selected teams are awarded an initial $500 prototyping grant and invited to an intensive state-wide boot camp to help bring their ideas into reality. Participating teams are eligible for an additional $2000 in grants and compete for $30,000 in prizes.
The Catalyze Challenge is supported by investments from community sponsors: Avista, City of Klamath Falls, Klamath County, KCEDA, Klamath IDEA Center for Entrepreneurship, Sky Lakes Strategy & Innovation, VertueLab, Oregon Small Business Development Center, and the Wendt Family Foundation.
For more information regarding the Catalyze Klamath Falls Challenge, visit www.oit.edu/catalyze.