Gift-Sharing App Wins July Hatching Competition

EAST LANSING — Amongst a packed house, The Hatching added another great idea to its list of funded startups last week. Mark Omwansa, developer of the app Thughts, walked away with the prize. Thughts is a web and mobile application that allows a group of people to contribute towards a gift for a mutual friend on special occasions.

As a winner of The Hatching, Omwansa will receive $1,000 from monthly event sponsor Jackson National Life Insurance Co., as well as legal services provided by Loomis, Ewert, Parsley, Davis & Gotting P.C. and a promotional pitch video produced by Michigan Creative. Additionally, Thughts will compete again against other monthly winners in December for the chance at receiving $10,000 towards their business.

“Thughts is a great idea that will allow friends to come together to contribute money toward a gift for a mutual partner,” said Tony Willis, manager of business acceleration at the Lansing Economic Area Partnership, the capital region’s economic development agency. “The idea also shows promise to become a platform for companies highlighting new products and engage earlier adopters.”

The Hatching was created by LEAP, Spartan Innovations — Michigan State University’s business accelerator for faculty- and student-developed business ideas — and the New Economic Opportunity Center, a business incubator in Lansing. It’s intended as a monthly networking event and contest for budding entrepreneurs to experience pitching and development of their ideas into working, local businesses.

Each month, entrepreneurs are invited to submit their business startup idea to Through a popular vote, five ideas move to the final stage and those entrepreneurs are asked to pitch at The Hatching. Each innovator has the opportunity to pitch their idea for five minutes in front of a panel of judges and their peers.

“Every month, we see a new set of market-driven, creative ideas from people who lacked an opportunity to explore them with a supportive, startup-focused group,” said Brian Abraham, Executive Director of Spartan Innovations. “The Hatching and other events like the GreenLight Entrepreneurial Bootcamp and Lansing Maker Week bring innovation to the forefront, and allow people to come together, develop their ideas, and take them to market.”

The Hatching is open to public and takes place the last Wednesday of each month at Beggar’s Banquet in East Lansing at 6 p.m. The next Hatching event will take place Aug. 27. To find out more information or to submit an idea, visit

More about LEAP at

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