Dental Gum Start-Up SNAGS $25K Prize at Trinity University Contest, Eyes Military Potential

One San Antonio start-up that recently won a $25,000 prize in a business pitch competition is aiming to hit two targets through its private label chewing gum — hotels and the US military. The gum contains the active ingredient found in some mouthwash products.

Cole Evans, co-founder of Plova Chewing Gum, said the main niche market is still hotels, which typically offer mints rather than gum.

“That’s what we sought to do, to be the only gum in a place where there is no gum.” Evans said. “Most hotels don’t carry gums because they get stuck in the carpets and bedsheets and all that.”

Another large customer base would potentially be the US Military, which already offers private label gum to troops, but Evans said he hopes to gain the edge with possible dental benefits rather than gum for recreational chewing.

“I thought that we need to focus on the troops because they are such a big market that could benefit from this,” Evans continued. “They definitely don’t have access to a lot when they are out in the field, our product can be better than nothing.”

Evans and his team of co-founders, all Trinity University students with about two more years left in college, just got the $25,000 boost after being selected for the Stumberg prize, named after the university’s benefactor family. The goal moving forward is to conduct a clinical trial in an effort to gain traction from dentists and order 300,000 pieces of the product from the manufacturer to jumpstart its sales debt free. – Kristen Mosbrucker, San Antonio Business Journal