EMDR VR was our Chicago Regional winner and aims to treat PTSD and anxiety disorders by providing EMDR therapy through a virtual-reality (VR) application that can easily be implemented by patients at home with a smartphone and VR headset. We chatted with founder Jarrod Luca, a computer science major at Miami University in Ohio about his startup and his TigerLaunch experience thus far. Find out more here: http://www.emdrvr.com/

TigerLaunch: Is this your first pitch competition?
Jarrod Luca: TigerLaunch is not my first competition. Competitions that I have competed in with EMDR VR include: Global Wellness Summit Shark Tank of Wellness, Waffle's Birthday Shenanigans Pitch Competition (local comp in Miami), and TCU Values and Ventures Business Plan Competition (April 2018). I have applied to dozens of others, but the aforementioned are some of the competitions where I have advanced far enough to pitch.

TL: How does TigerLaunch differ?
JL: TigerLaunch differs in that it gathers a selection of diverse and high impact student startups.  I believe the application and advancement process is responsible for the quality curation of startups.  It is thorough and requires concentrated efforts by startups to advance. This process prepares the startups for future business development regardless of advancement to regionals or finals. TigerLaunch prepares founders and teams for success beyond pitch competitions. TigerLaunch connects startups with top mentors and experts through the constantly growing network of EFN and, thus, produces unparalleled results.  This network allows conversation and collaboration beyond the one time event. TigerLaunch provides of a strong foundation for the entrepreneur’s journey throughout their lifetime.

TL: What is your biggest failure and what have you learned from it?
JL: My biggest failure (from a previous venture) was not doing sufficient market research.  This resulted in a large loss of time and money. I’ve learned to do copious amounts of research before I even consider prototype development.  If that preliminary research proves that there is a need, I do research with the prototype, and that has generally produced a positive outcome.

TL: Who is an entrepreneur you are inspired by the most?
JL: am most inspired by Elon Musk.  Fundamentally, the success of Tesla and SpaceX has come from Elon’s innate desire to improve the environmental conditions of Earth and expand humanity’s existence beyond this planet.  Personally, these are the most inspiring startups. Initially, he received harsh criticism from industry experts, but his persistence has continued to pay off. Persistence and patience.  I look up to the tenacity that Elon demonstrates through any of his ventures. And The Boring Company flamethrowers… those were pretty dope!

TL:What would you do with the $15k?
JL: uman research studies, marketing, and distribution.

TL: What was the most exciting question you heard from the judges?
JL: A question about how the remote option of EMDR VR works made me realize that telehealth providers could be partners rather than competition.  This is important to keep in mind as I continue business development and partnerships.

TL: What are you looking forward to most about finals?
JL: I am looking forward to sharing about my startup, meeting other student entrepreneurs from around the world (Paris!), and seeing the results of my hard work!