Squirl Crowned Champion of Get in the Ring: US Competition

February 4, 2016

11:00 am

Squirl, a Houston, TX-based startup that has developed a location-based app for helping people discover books, took top prize in the final round of the Get in the Ring: United States competition hosted by the Houston Intercontinental Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

Jef Van der Avoort, cofounder of Squirl, delivered high-speed pitches along with four other finalists for the title of United States champion and an expense-paid trip to Mexico City to compete in the North America finals. At last year’s SXSW, Tech.Co actually sat down with Van der Avoort to talk a little more about Squirl:

EnergyFunders, another Houston-based startup, took home runner-up honors.  The company has developed an equity crowdfunding platform dedicated to energy investing.

Founded in 2009 by the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship in the Netherlands, Get in the Ring is a unique, high-impact pitch competition in which ambitious entrepreneurs battle head-to-head to secure growth opportunities, potential clients, and relationships with those who can help them succeed.The primetime event was held January 27 to an invitation-only crowd at the H.E.S.S. Club in Houston’s Galleria district.

The judges for this final round of the U.S. competition were:

  • Jeanette Hill – founder and CEO of Spot On Sciences and the 2014 winner of ‘Get in the Ring: North America
  • Donald Ball – Senior Consultant for Lone-Star College SBDC in Houston, TX
  • Jim Butler – President of F5 Financial Inc.
  • Art Goetze – CEO of Aliere Advisors
  • Zee Thawer – Executive VP of F5 Financial Inc.
  • Wes Okeke – CEO of Fruition Technology Labs

The other finalists were Houston-based WAVVE and L’Ateliers des Reves along with Fit To Cheer from Austin, Texas.

“We’re just very proud that we can represent the US at next week’s regional finals in Mexico City,” says Squirl co-founder Jef Van der Avoort.  “Book discovery is a major problem in the publishing industry and we’re working with authors and publishers to help promote their books and encourage discovery.”

Squirl Inc. now travels expense-paid to Mexico City, Mexico to compete against the best startups from Canada and Mexico.  Startups that won the Regional Finals in Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Southern Europe, Middle East, Eastern Asia, Northern Africa, Central/Southern Africa, North America and South America will compete for a chance at prizes, exposure and the opportunity for angel funding. The global Get in the Ring finals will be held on March 15 in Medellin, Columbia.

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I’m a serial entrepreneur and veteran launch team executive in high tech, e-commerce, and biotech. Based out of Austin, TX, I support women’s entrepreneurial initiatives and teach university courses on business/technical writing.

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