How it all started: Winning the Georgetown University Bark Tank – Leonsis Family Entrepreneurship Pitch Competition in 2018

November 30, 2021
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On November 4, Georgetown University hosted its fifth annual Leonsis Family Entrepreneurship pitch competition called Bark Tank. The event featured six companies chosen to pitch their innovations and startup products. Winners from the previous competitions were invited to participate on the judges panel. We congratulate all of the 2021 participants and the co-winners: Joylet  and STAFM Technology.

Watch the full video here.

How it all started for OxiWear

It’s been three years since OxiWear won the Leonsis Family Entrepreneurship pitch competition. On November 28, 2018, eight Georgetown students and alumni were chosen to pitch their business ideas in front of a live audience for a chance to win part of the $100,000 cash prize. It was the second year of the pitch competition funded by the Leonsis Family and Shavini Fernando was selected as the winner of the $30,000 grand prize for OxiWear (formerly known as O2Wear). This was the second time she had formally pitched her ear-wearable continuous oxygen monitoring innovation, after winning first prize and the People’s Choice Award at the CitiVentures Global Impact pitch competition. 

Who Can Participate in Bark Tank?

The following overview describes eligibility for participants in the competition and the guidance provided during the process:

  • Current Georgetown undergraduate and graduate students, as well as Georgetown alumni within six months of graduation, are eligible for the prize and may be nominated as individuals or as teams.
  • Georgetown’s Entrepreneurs-in-Residence provide valuable mentorship to the Leonsis prize recipients as they develop and pursue their ventures.
  • Recipients of the prize are selected through a rigorous nomination, application, and review process.

Through the Years

After winning in 2018, Ms. Fernando graduated from Georgetown University’s Communication, Culture, and Technology (CCT) program. She continued to develop OxiWear and attracted technical and engineering talent to join her team.

In 2019, Ms. Fernando was asked to serve as the emcee of the Bark Tank competition. In 2020, the competition was held virtually because of the pandemic. For this event, she served as a panelist and was the only judge that was a previous Bark Tank winner. In 2021, Ms. Fernando was invited to attend the in-person competition as a panelist and judge, along with the four previous competition winners.

Where We are now

OxiWear began to accelerate product development and clinical testing in 2021. It closed its pre-seed funding round at $1.25M and obtained key patents for utility and design. The company is currently applying for country specific patents through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). Shavini participated in multiple pitch competitions and the team participated in multiple accelerator programs. It expanded its team to eight employees and from August to December, the OxiWear team participated in the leAD Sports & Health Tech accelerator in Lake Nona, Florida. OxiWear was also chosen for the MassMEDIC MedTech Ignite Cohort in 2021, receiving third prize overall and was gifted a Formlabs 3B 3-D printer, eqiupment, and resin to assist with product development. The company will begin beta testing in 2022 and plan to launch a consumer product in mid-year.

Milestone Year

OxiWear successfully closed its pre-seed funding round at $1.25M, above its target goal of $750,000. The company could not have achieved this goal without the continued support of Georgetown University’s Entrepreneurship program, our mentors, advisors, and the Leonsis Family.

“I’ve been a proud, early supporter of Shavini and her life-saving work and I congratulate her on not only meeting her pre-seed funding round target – but decisively beating it,” said Ted Leonsis, a global business leader in the technology, sports and entertainment business industries. “It’s a testament to how in-demand her product is and how smartly she has built her company around it. I expect she will only continue to grow, and I happily stand by her to offer advice whenever she needs it.”

As we reflect on the third anniversary of the Bark Tank pitch competition that was the catalyst for our company development, we want to thank the Georgetown community, especially Ted Leonsis, for their unwavering support and commitment to our mission and our company vision.