Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute announced three BYU teams among their top 20 student business finalists competing in the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge.
The final teams are BYU student-created businesses Zaymo, Mindsmith and Swish. The grand prize winner will be announced Feb. 25.
The institute at the University of Utah holds an annual business competition sponsored by Zions Bank for teams of Utah college students to compete for the best student business.
The awards include $60,000 in cash prizes, with the grand prize being $30,000, according to their website.
Zaymo is an email product geared towards e-commerce stores to reduce friction between the company and the customer, according to Brice Douglas, Zaymo’s cofounder. Douglas said the idea is to be able to shop, write reviews or even take surveys all within an email sent from a company.
The concept was formed by three BYU students — Brice Douglas, Santiago Gomez and Daniel Jones. The three worked through the Sandbox program at BYU where they launched their interactive email service, Douglas said.
They have also added Stewart Thompson as an engineer and Annie Brown as their designer, according to Douglas. “We put in over 40 hours a week each,” he said. “This is full-time.”
Zaymo has plans to focus on its audience and create the best-in-class product for it, Douglas said. Douglas said interactive emails have the potential to increase the conversion of emails anywhere between 20% and 80%.
Another finalist, Mindsmith, was created by four BYU students — Ethan Webb, Zack Allen, Christy Graves and Coleman Numbers. Mindsmith is up and running with over 1,000 users utilizing the business already, according to the CEO, Ethan Webb.
Webb, who is also a new father and economics major, said he works at least 40 hours each week on Mindsmith with his team.
“Mindsmith is a learning platform that uses generative AI to make it easy to create and share course material and training,” the website reads.
Webb said Mindsmith “can really supercharge learning and development teams by giving them access to just this raw content development.” Mindsmith plans to continue to expand on this feature by allowing users to upload static documents that are organization specific to create even more tailored lessons, according to Webb.
Webb partnered with Allen, Mindsmith’s software engineer, in July 2022 where they developed the app together, then added Graves and Numbers to complete their team. Webb said he is passionate about education and is excited to continue to work on Mindsmith as it expands.
Swish, a phone application for sports players, also made Lassonde’s 2023 finalist list.
Mark Tenney, a BYU senior in the finance program, said Swish is a family-supported project that he developed with his family members along with two full-time developers and a part-time designer they hired.
Swish is an app that allows users to create and join public or private player groups with their friends to organize all their pick-up sporting games, according to the app description.
Tenney said the app has been available for 15 months and can be used for any sport, but in the last six months, they have honed in on pickleball.
“It’s a sport that’s exploding and it’s here to stay,” Tenney said about pickleball. “And it’s only going to keep growing and so we feel like it’s a good industry to be in and want to be the best piece of technology for organizing pickleball games and tournaments.”
The app not only helps users join together for games, but actually hosts tournaments, Tenney said. Tenney said he has flown out to tournaments in Southern California, Utah, Arizona and Texas and will be headed out to Florida soon as well.
Tenney said Swish plans to expand its network, increase the number of tournaments they host and start ad campaigns.