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Green manufacturer named Spark Bowl winner at DelVal


Xenoil ™, a company that creates machinable wax and 3D printing filament utilizing recycled plastics, emerged victorious in the second annual Spark Bowl, a “Shark Tank”-style competition, at Delaware Valley University.

The company, which has additional products in development, was one of five finalists in the competition held in person and streamed live on April 15.

“We plan to use (the $12,000 in prize money) to expand our manufacturing as well as marketing to bring in sales,” said Anthony Prato, CEO of Xenoil. The company “recycles and re-manufactures oil-based products that are impossible or difficult to recycle, like plastics, rubbers and waxes.”

Representatives from each of the five Bucks County area companies presented their business ideas to four judges during the event organized by Delaware Valley University’s Department of Business and Information Management and the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce.

With the help of student consultants under the guidance of a faculty advisor, as part of DelVal’s experiential learning program, each company prepared its pitch for a chance to win the grand prize of $12,000 to help them address social, consumer or business-oriented challenges in and around Bucks County.

Second prize was $5,000 and third prize was $2,000. Student consultants from the top three teams also earned cash prizes of $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 respectively.

The second-place finisher, receiving a prize of $5,000, was GrowFlux Inc., which provides automation for lighting controls and microclimate sensing in greenhouses and indoor farms.

Coming in third place and receiving a prize of $2,000 was Pippy Sips, offering Maia, a portable container to keep breast milk cold for up to 10 hours, designed especially for mothers who are unable to work from home and may not have access to a refrigerator. Additional products are planned.

Also presenting were Adam Nelson of Philly Esports, a veteran-owned esports event and tournament organizer working with colleges and the military, and Barbara Schuster of B Comfee. Shuster invented Grooming Hands, a pet massage and grooming glove.

Serving as judges for the competition were:

Michael Araten, president and CEO of Sterling Drive Ventures, a family firm that owns, among other things, The Rodon Group, a highly automated plastics injection molder with a focus on small parts;

Donna De Carolis, the founding dean of Drexel University’s Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship and the Silverman Family Professor of Entrepreneurial Leadership;

Susan Lonergan, director of middle market and specialized banking for Fulton Bank’s commercial sales and lending teams across five states, and;

William Schutt, a member of the Delaware Valley University Board of Trustees and founder, former owner and chairman of MATCOR, Inc., an international engineering and manufacturing company serving the worldwide oil, gas and infrastructure industries and governments.

The judges quizzed the entrepreneurs about their business plans, materials sourcing, marketing, manufacturing, distribution, customer base, profit margins, patent status, competition and more.

A representative from each of the five businesses had five minutes to pitch their idea, and then the four judges had a total of 10 minutes to ask questions.

The business owners prepared for their presentations and the judges’ questions with the help of the students and their advisors.

“The students were pivotal in preparing research and their support leading up to the pitch was a big part of our success,” said Rachel Hodgins of Xenoil, according to a posting on DelVal’s website.

Bridgette Schoultz and Javon Speid, the DelVal students who worked with the winning company, gained valuable real-world experience in their field, the college said.

“Spark Bowl was a new experience for me and I liked getting to learn about a company,” said Schoultz, a sophomore business student at DelVal who helped the winning company prepare its pitch. “I want to have my own small business one day.”

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