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MSU students win start-up business competition

Mississippi State students have again won the Mississippi New Venture Challenge Competition.

John L. Gazzini, of Birmingham, and Olive Branch’s Read T. Sprabery took first place, with Nimbus Mobile, an app design business. Nimbus is close to launching FeatherServe, which allows pool service companies to more easily and efficiently manage their operations.

Gazzine and Sprabery both graduated from MSU in May with computer engineering degrees.

Second-place went to Sensei Mobile, LLC, founded by Matthew M. Hoelter of Collierville, Tenn., another MSU spring computer engineering graduate. He is launching a service called Chat Katana that provides an anonymous one-on-one messaging service through a native phone application.

The annual competition is sponsored by Innovate Mississippi, a Ridgeland-based nonprofit organization that promotes statewide innovation and technology-based economic development.

“It’s gratifying to see our students continue a tradition of excellence,” said Abby Thompson, entrepreneurship program coordinator in MSU’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer, in a school press release.

For the past three years, Mississippi State students have won eight out of nine places in the competition Overall, MSU had 11 teams compete in this year’s New Venture Challenge.

“We have taken purposeful steps to make innovation and entrepreneurship priorities. We have been building that ecosystem steadily with students, faculty and staff,” said Gerald Nelson, director, OETT.

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