NIU EIGERlab’s FastPitch Competition draws passionate presenters

An innovative new toothbrush. Customized, locally-manufactured footwear. Colorful signage to help students and visitors find their way around schools. These were the top winners in NIU EIGERlab’s 12th annual FastPitch.

Entrepreneurs from around the region gathered at NIU-Rockford on October 3 to showcase their products and share their projections before a panel of judges similar to ABC’s “Shark Tank.” From the 38 eager presenters who so passionately shared their pitches, cash prizes totaling $7,500 dollars along with additional services were awarded to an outstanding group of five entrepreneurs. FastPitch has experienced an impressive run with over 500 presenters sharing their “ideas on a napkin,” products, services, apps, etc. This year’s winners, with their variety of products and services, were truly exceptional!

Rachel Lolling was recruited at a local Facebook event for this year’s event. Account disabled by server administrator She overcame her initial hesitation and competed, taking home the $5,000 first prize for her FitsBrush toothbrush. With 20 years of experience in the dental field, she is on a mission to ensure that people are brushing correctly and practicing proper oral hygiene. When she’s not working at her fulltime position in the Rockford Public Schools system, she’s in one of the nine local stores which carry her toothbrush, educating people on different products, proper brushing & flossing techniques, disease awareness, and answering any questions people may have on dental treatment and procedures. FitsBrush is currently sold to dental offices, online, in local stores, and can also be used as a fundraiser for schools, clubs, and organizations to promote good oral hygiene.

Annie Mohaupt took second place with Mohop, an on-demand, custom footwear designer and maker. Mohop combines cutting-edge digital fabrication with traditional artisanal techniques to make beautiful, comfortable shoes that reflect your style. Good news for the region: the Mohaputs have just purchased a 10,000 square foot building in Rockford to manufacture Mohop products! We welcome these artistic entrepreneurs, along with their distinctive line of products.

AnnDee Nimmer took third place with her product, RoomTagz.