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Meet the winners: Hacking for Homebuilding competition

The winners of Hacking for Homebuilding hold up their checks.
The winners of Hacking for Homebuilding hold up their checks at Boise Entrepreneur Week.

Entrepreneurs from all over the state gathered for the third annual Hacking for Homebuilding, a statewide “reverse pitch” competition where industry partners pose a problem and teams propose a solution in the form of a new venture. The program is a collaboration between the College of Innovation + Design’s Venture College and theĀ College of Engineering.

The competition was launched in 2020, enabling students and community members to solve problems in the homebuilding industry and pitch their solutions, while learning from industry experts and mentors. Winners receive funds to help them build on their ideas and take them to the next level.

Hacking for Homebuilding is sponsored by: Franklin Building Supply, Boise Cascade, House of Design, Masonite, Rugby Architectural Building Products, Syringa Construction and Orgill.

Three teams of entrepreneurs from both the student and public tracks pitched at Boise Entrepreneur Week, hoping to win their share of $40,000 in prize money. Judges included business leaders, entrepreneurs and industry sponsors.

Samuel Slusser from the University of Idaho founded StrapWell Bags, and won first place in the student track. Strapwell Bags is a bag that is designed to latch onto tie downs and be safe and secure for any type of hauling or moving, and solves the problem of stock transfers across locations for difficult to move items, such as a tube of caulk or a box of nails, that can easily get lost in transit.

Eric Morrison won first place in the public track. Morrison founded Alley Homes as a response to the problem of rising property taxes, inflation and the current housing shortage. Alley Homes sells accessory dwelling units directly to homeowners as a vertically-integrated design-build contractor.

Student track winners:
  • First Place: Samuel Slusser; StrapWell Bags; University of Idaho
  • Second Place: Susie Johnson, Shane Elmose and Leonard Johnson; Heat2Go!; University of Idaho
  • Third Place: Achiraya (Intty) Anantachote, Deanna Kienbaum, and McKenna Jacobs; GCC (Gamified Customer Care); University of Idaho
Public track winners:
  • First Place: Eric Morrison; Alley Homes
  • Second Place: Shashank Rayasam; Dirt Right Excavations
  • Third Place: Ahron Barber; Brownian Motion Consulting