Westlake Youth Entrepreneurs Develop Innovative Flood Finder Solution to Help Save Lives

Westlake Business Incubator Teams to Present at Pitch Night

Austin, TX, May 01, 2024 --(PR.com)-- The Westlake Business Incubator Program will host pitch night for four Westlake High School Incubator Teams on Thursday, May 2, including a group of young entrepreneurs from the Business Incubator Program who are working to help Texas families stay safer with their groundbreaking project, Flood Finder. The Incubator team’s innovative solution, designed to prevent flood-related deaths, combines in-home devices and a complementary app to alert users of imminent flood risks.

Pitch Night takes place on May 2 at the WHS Performing Arts Center, where more than 100 Westlake High School students compete for a grand prize of $15,000 in funding in a Shark Tank television show atmosphere. The top four teams are pre-selected to present to professional investors, as well as one Wild Card Team, voted on at the event.

The Origin of Flood Finder
The journey began when a group of high school juniors, inspired by their personal experiences and a shared commitment to safety, decided to tackle a pressing issue-flood death prevention. "We sifted through numerous ideas, from parking apps to safety devices, but our focus on a product that could ensure safety led us to Flood Finders," Lauren Daniel, one of the Westlake Incubator team members shared. Daniel’s personal experience with the loss of close family members to the May 2015 Wimberley, TX, flood and the Incubator team’s on-site market research with the families in that area inspired their deep-seated desire to enhance safety and awareness around floods, a phenomenon all too familiar to Texans.

Inside the Incubator
The team, comprised of five dedicated students, brings a diverse set of skills to the table. Cole Taylor, the team’s tech sage, spearheads the development of the app and technology behind the project, creating the MVP (Minimum Viable Product), while Evan Lung excels in putting together and delivering the team’s elevator pitch and presentations to sell their idea both internally and externally. Therese Taylor, with a knack for numbers and customer engagement, is focused on the young business venture’s financials and working to gather the important feedback needed to create a user-friendly app and device. Lauren Daniel, the creative force behind the project designed the logo and content for the marketing pitch, and Emerson Davis, the team’s task master and operations lead ensures everything stays on track.

The focus of the team’s product was to develop a user-friendly way to detect rising floodwaters and promptly alert homeowners. Flood Finder features two versions: a standalone alarm system that warns home occupants and a more advanced model that sends notifications directly to users' smartphones via an app. This dual approach aims to cater to varying consumer needs and preferences.

The Road to Pitch Night
As they prepare for the much-anticipated Pitch Night, the team is fine-tuning their presentation, iterating their prototypes, and strategizing their marketing efforts. This event, a cornerstone of the Business Incubator Program, offers them a platform to showcase their hard work to a panel of seasoned business professionals.

Beyond the Incubator
While Flood Finders is the immediate focus, the team members are already looking ahead. They envision a future where their solution not only mitigates flood risks in Texas but also serves as a global beacon of disaster prevention. "We're not just building a product; we're fostering a safer world," the team affirms.

As they navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship, the students draw inspiration from personal role models, including supportive family members who have instilled in them a spirit of resilience and a commitment to making a meaningful impact.

A Beacon of Hope
The Westlake Youth Entrepreneurs' initiative is more than just a project; it's a testament to the power of innovation and determination. As they continue to develop Flood Finder, they remain focused on their mission: to save lives and empower communities to withstand the challenges posed by natural disasters.

The Westlake Business Incubator Program has not only provided these young visionaries with the tools and knowledge to bring their ideas to life but also instilled in them a sense of responsibility toward their community and the world at large. Through Flood Finder, they hope to leave an indelible mark on disaster prevention efforts, one alert at a time.

About Westlake Business Incubator Program
The Business Incubator is a rigorous entrepreneurial class based on the Lean Startup method and has allowed students to form more than 85 businesses to date. In the program, students acquire foundational business concepts, then apply those concepts to the team’s new business idea. From concept to Minimum Viable Product to Pitch, students hypothesize, test, iterate and learn from feedback. Importantly, they learn while working in a collaborative team-based environment developing “soft skills” as well that are so critical for careers of the future. Westlake Incubator teams have a history of creating concepts with a double bottom line with participants such as Pharmassist (drug conflict management) and Notifeye (sleep detection for the truck industry).
Leisha Richardson
Claudia McWhorter
(512) 732-9002