Speeko awarded $25,000 at Startup Pitch Day in Jefferson

Nico Augilar wins $25,000 at the Startup Pitch Day on Oct. 8 for his company Speeko. (Photo courtesy of Nico Augilar).

Four startups gathered at the Forge in Jefferson on Tuesday evening for the chance to win $25,000.

30 people applied for the Startup Pitch Day and four finalists pitched their ideas and products to a panel of three judges: Sands, along with Ben Milne, the founder and CEO of Dwolla; and Ryan Broshar, founder and managing partner of Matchstick Ventures. 

The winner of the pitch competition was Nico Augilar for his company Speeko.

Speeko is a smartphone app that uses artificial intelligence and automated speech recognition to listen to how you speak, measuring a variety of metrics including words used and pacing to see if you sound professional. The app then gives you coaching specifically tailored to how you can best improve your speaking skills.

Speeko’s app launched last October at TechStars Demo Day and already has tens of thousands of users in over 160 countries. The app offers a free tier for users and a paid subscription tier that provides more advanced analytics.

Aguilar is a 2014 University of Iowa graduate with a master’s degree in healthcare administration and policy. He said he will use the $25,000 toward further development of the app and make it available for Android phones.

The three other finalists included: Sean McKay with Handrail, a supportive platform for research data collection; Brad Dwyer with Roboflow, a computer platform that makes everyday objects interactive; and Mahdi Eghbali with VerdiLife, a bio-mass converter to turn feed stock items into organic fertilizers and pesticides.   

Previous coverage

Speeko is using technology to create better public speakers -Jan. 22, 2019

Jefferson takes big leap forward with opening of Forge -Sept. 9, 2019