Tulane Student’s Cereal Startup Wins Amazon Competition

NEW ORLEANS — Ceres, a plant protein cereal startup co-founded by Tulane MBA student Rich Simmerman, won the national award for Top Physical Consumer Products Startup at the 2022 Amazon Web Services University Startup Competition. 

Simmerman and co-founder Branson Morgan created Ceres, a vegan, keto, non-GMO and gluten-free cereal that they say is good for the planet. Each serving contains 20 grams of plant protein and zero sugar or artificial sweeteners.  

Ceres was one of 13 semi-finalists competing for cash prizes and AWS credits in a final virtual livestream pitch competition earlier this month. The team won $10,000 in cash and up to $10,000 in marketing support from Amazon Launchpad.

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“Through the AWS University Startup Competition, I got a sneak peek of tomorrow’s revolutionary companies,” Simmerman said in a press release. “It’s empowering to share the stage alongside many companies working to tackle important social and environmental problems through innovative concepts.” 

Simmerman says Ceres will use the prize money to support its ingredient-sourcing and production process, lower the cost of goods sold, expand its business on Amazon and Thrive Market, and promote the cereal.

AWS Startups launched the University Startup Competition to find and support student and faculty entrepreneurs as they build and launch their ventures. The competition is in partnership with Amazon Launchpad, a program that supports entrepreneurs by providing resources, expertise and global support to help showcase and deliver unique products to Amazon customers.

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Now in its third year, the 2022 AWS University Startup Competition received more than 1,000 applications from startups across 300-plus university campuses between September and November.

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