Auburn University student-startup business headed to national business pitch competition

Auburn University student-startup business headed to national business pitch competition
Justin Poiroux, seated, and Chris Maurice have notched a couple of wins in startup competitions with their cryptocurrency card business, Yellow Card. (contributed)

Yellow Card Financial, a startup business created by Auburn University students Chris Maurice and Justin Poiroux, will compete at the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards national pitch competition Feb. 9 in Dallas.

The team, which specializes in the cryptocurrency phenomenon, won first place Jan. 26 at the GSEA U.S. East Regionals in Atlanta. Winners at the national level will have the chance to compete for $40,000 in cash and prizes at the April 15-16 GSEA international finals in Toronto, Canada.

Yellow Card Financial, a startup business created by Auburn University students Justin Poiroux, left, and Chris Maurice, will compete at the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards national pitch competition Feb. 9 in Dallas. (contributed)

Maurice, a senior finance major in the Harbert College of Business, said the judges, who represented the Atlanta business district, noted “that sexy Bitcoin business” put the team over the edge and into nationals. “We felt like they truly understood what we did, which has certainly been an issue for us in the past being in such a young industry,” Maurice said.

Yellow Card is no stranger to national competitions, or success. The team pocketed $25,000 last spring at eFest, a national pitch competition for undergraduate students with a $250,000 purse.

Maurice and Poiroux, a junior engineering major, are part of the Tiger Cage Accelerator and Incubator program at the Auburn Research Park. The Tiger Cage provides office and co-working space for student-led startups. The accelerator and incubator is managed by the Harbert College’s Lowder Center for Family Business and Entrepreneurship.

“The more that we can keep doing things and presenting opportunities to help the teams grow or continue to advance in their company is great,” said LaKami Baker, managing director of the Lowder Center.

“This is also great exposure for the university. There’s some incredible innovation coming out of Auburn University. Competitions like these help student teams by giving them an opportunity to present to people that may be potential customers — or potential investors — and that will help them reach that next milestone that they have as far as launching their business.”

Maurice said his team is “hitting this competition (nationals) at the right time.”

“Cryptocurrency is all over the news, and we find that most people have heard about it and have some base of knowledge on it,” he said. “We’ll work on clarifying what we have, make little improvements here and there to the presentation, and hope that the current opportunity and attractiveness of the industry will carry us over into Toronto.”

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