Mercer Innovation Center Announces Winners of Next Big Idea Competition

Newt Technologies

MACON – This year, the Mercer Innovation Center awarded $11,500 in prize money as part of the Next Big Idea Competition to help students launch their businesses.

During the finals on April 13, Newt Technologies earned the $6,000 first-place prize, AgAir and Press App Sports tied for second and each received $2,500, and LOC(a)L claimed the $500 Bear’s Choice prize with the video pitch that received the most votes from the audience.

First place – Newt Technologies (Jonathan Kent and Brandon Hancock)

The goal of Newt Technologies is to revolutionize physical therapy for both patients and healthcare providers. The company’s initial product, the Newt Knee, is a “smart” knee sleeve that actively monitors and assists patients during the entire patient recovery process. Incorporating wearable technologies into physical therapy provides a never-before-seen layer of transparency for the patient and healthcare provider. This new layer of transparency promotes increased patient accountability, which ultimately leads to a faster and fuller patient recovery.

AgAir and Press App Sports

Second place – AgAir (Parker Laue and Justin Hanson) and Press App Sports (Conrad Cornell)

AgAir is a drone-based vendor that integrates drone technology into existing appraisals and collateral inspection processes for agricultural banks, leading to significant cost savings, increased efficiency and improved data-gathering capabilities. AgAir seeks to serve as an eye in the sky for the nation’s largest agricultural lenders.

Press App Sports is a sports social media platform taking a new approach that will allow athletes to feel comfortable posting highlights from whatever range of sports they play for coaches and fans to see.


Bear’s Choice – LOC(a)L (Grant Denton)

LOC(a)L is a streamlined and on-demand travel platform that connects travelers with experienced locals to discover tourism in a whole new way. LOC(a)L makes it easy to book an on-demand travel guide and customize a travel experience.

For more information on the Next Big Idea Competition, click here.