Catalyze Challenge

Igniting Entrepreneurship of Students and Recent Alumni of Oregon Tech

Oregon Tech’s Catalyze Klamath Challenge has been a huge success for student competitors and the Klamath Falls community.  Over the past nine years, student/alumni teams have competed for over $100,000 in prize money and services.  The 2023 event was made possible through generous sponsorship and donations from AVISTA, the City of Klamath Falls, Klamath County, Klamath County Economic Development Association (KCEDA), Klamath IDEA, Oregon Small Business Development Center, Sky Lakes Office of Strategy & Innovation, VertueLab, and the Wendt Family Foundation.

Catalyze Klamath aims to support business ideas and/or fledgling entrepreneurial activity from any field of study that produces a new idea, product, or service that could become a thriving business in Klamath Falls and has the potential for job growth in rural Oregon. 

Catalyze Winners

Deep Dive Robotics - Catalyze 2023

2023 Winner: Deep Dive Robotics

An autonomous robotic submarine that utilizes advanced visual recognition technology to inspect and collect data from various water bodies for a multitude of purposes, including environmental assessments, search and rescue missions, dam and watercraft inspections, and monitoring fish populations.  
Team: Lauren Sadrin (Mechanical Engineering) and Mauricio Huntoon DeRoche (Mechanical Engineering)  

Stellarum Publishing Catalyze Klamath

2022: Stellarum Publishing

A customizable planning notebook and companion app that can be used to organize tabletop role playing games.

Team: Gabbi Pech (Business – Marketing) and Hayden Pech (Business – Marketing)

BioSpec Enterprise

2021: The BioSpec Enterprise   
An all-in-one indoor house plant monitoring system. The BioSpec Enterprise went on to compete in the Invent Oregon Collegiate Challenge (InventOR).

Team: Abbey DuBois (Software Engineering Technology), Joshua Hewitt (Cybersecurity), Jared Monroe (Mechanical Engineering Technology) and Matt Volpe (dual Embedded/Software Engineering Technology)

The Reclaimers

2019: The Reclaimers  
Turn recycled plastics into crude oil. The Reclaimers went on place first in the Invent Oregon Collegiate Challenge (InventOR).

Team: Annika Andersen (Renewable Energy Engineering & Electrical Engineering), Ashlei Morgan (Mechanical Engineering) and Jessica Arrington (Mechanical Engineering)


2018 Winning Team: OrbitOWLS  
Utilize new technology to send small satellites and other devices to space for a fraction of the price of current methods

Team: Micah Hicks, David Minar, Julien Mindlin-Davidson, Brandon Camp, Ben Porter

Helios Hive

2017 Winning Project: Helios Hive  
A Solar Bee Hive which allows for the temperature regulation within a hive or set of hives, in order to assist with the elimination of the varroa mite. Inventor Mathias Dean is a Renewable Energy Engineering graduate.

GO Possibilities

2016 Winning Team: GO Possibilities  
Production of graphene oxide  
Team: Matthew Stansbury, Eric Tipler, Ben Fawver, Tate Orlik Hill


2015 Winning Team: Gro-volution  
Sustainable agriculture production system ("In the box farming")  
Team: Eric Wilson, Derek Pallett, Nathan Leung

2023-24 Schedule of Events



Additional Information
Catalyze Klamath Falls Kick-OffNovember 15, 2023,
5:00pm - 6:00pm 
 CEET 208This is a hosted event for students, faculty, and community members to learn about the contest and begin to form teams
Pre-Registration Team FormationJanuary 17, 2024, 5:00pm - 6:00pm CEET 208This is a hosted event for all prospective contestants to meet and network with potential team members as well as register for the event
Catalyze Team RegistrationJanuary 19, 2024  Team registration is due at 5:00pm
Catalyze Team Meet and GreetFebruary 7, 2024, 5:00pm - 6:00pm CEET 208This is a hosted event for all teams to meet with the Catalyze Klamath mentor network and learn about available external resources
Preliminary Concept SubmissionFebruary 16, 2024 Preliminary concept submission is due at 5:00pm
Shark Tech Venture Pitch ContestMarch 6, 2024CU AuditoriumThis event will also serve to select finalists (if needed).  Mandatory for all teams 
Catalyze Klamath Falls Challenge ContestApril 24, 2024
4:00pm - 7:00pm
CU AuditoriumTeams compete in front of a panel of judges for the PRIZES! A list of judges, prizes and final details will be posted prior to the competition


Winning teams are awarded cash prizes to invest in start-up costs and ignite project development, or to share among the Team.


Thank You Sponsors

VertueLab Logo
Cypress Creek Renewables Logo
Sky Lakes Strategy & Innovation


SBDC Oregon
City of Klamath Falls
Klamath County
Wendt Family Foundation
Choose Klamath Logo
Klamath IDEA Logo

Winning teams are awarded cash prizes to invest in start-up costs and ignite project development, or to share among the Team.

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