Under Armour's Kevin Plank Awards Second
Annual Cupid's Cup
Goozex Inc., an award-winning, peer-to-multi-peer
video game trading company, won this year's Cupid's Cup.
The second annual Cupids Cup competition was held Friday, May 4, 2007, at the
Robert H. Smith School of Business in College Park, MD. The Dingman Center for
Entrepreneurship hosted the business competition for student- and alumni-run
startups. Under Armour Chief Executive Kevin Plank, a 1996 Smith graduate, put
up $22,500 in prize money and helped pick the winner of this years competition
Goozex Inc. (www.goozex.com), an
award-winning, peer-to-multi-peer video game trading company headquartered in
This competition was really
inspired by Kevin Planks entrepreneurship, said Asher Epstein,
managing director of
the Dingman Center.
This competition was really inspired by Kevin Planks entrepreneurship, said
Asher Epstein, managing director of the Dingman Center. I looked around and
realized many other students have great ideas and share Kevins passion and we
really want to foster that to help outstanding ventures thrive.
Goozex designed and developed an innovative online system that connects
members and builds a user community across North America, allowing them to trade
games with each other. Goozex operates on a point-based system that allows its
users to retain the real market value of their used video games when trading for
other games. The company is run by Smith MBA 2006 graduate Valerio Zanini and
features a team of recent Smith MBA and undergraduate students. Goozex took home
$15,000 for their innovation.
Goozex is run by Smith MBA 2006 graduate Valerio
Zanini and features a team of recent Smith MBA and undergraduate
Goozex plans to use its share of the prize money to expand the Web sites
community features. Zanini hopes his company will achieve continued growth and
hopefully see the kind of success Kevin Plank has realized with his company. He
said he owes some of the credit to the Dingman Center.
I came to Maryland for my MBA because of the Dingman Center, and it was at
Dingman that I met the Goozex guys, said Zanini, who came to Smith from Italy.
The Dingman Center has really been the cornerstone of my MBA and my American
Cupid's Cup got its name from one of Kevin Plank's early entrepreneurial
ventures, a rose sale business called Cupid's Valentine that sold roses to
University of Maryland students on Valentine's Day. This small business earned
him over $20,000 during his four years at UM and helped fund his ultimate
entrepreneurial venture, Under Armour.
Jordan Lichman (center), MBA 2006, accepted the
second-place check for $7,500 for Sunscreen Mist, the exclusive
distributor of the Sun Treatment Center. Asher Epstein, left,
Kevin Plank, right.
Eligible contestants must have been enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate
program at the University of Maryland. Alumni of the University of Maryland,
graduating with an undergraduate or graduate degree between May 2002 and
December 2006 also were eligible for the competition. All entrants must have had
an operating company that generated at least $5,000 in revenue prior to the date
of entry. Companies that generated more than $500,000 in revenue were not
eligible to compete in Cupid's Cup.
The winners of the first Cupids Cup
competition Dominic Crapuchettes (right) and Satish
Pillalamarri, both 2004 MBA graduates, gave an update on
North Star Games.
The 2006 winners of the first Cupids Cup competition,
North Star Games
founders Dominic Crapuchettes and Satish Pillalamarri, both 2004 MBA graduates
and former Dingman Center scholars, shared the ups and downs of their board game
company in the past year. They reported that the $10,000 prize they won last
year helped keep their company on the path to success this year realized with
their game Wits and Wagers picked up by major retailers Target and Barnes and
Judges for this years competition included Plank, executives from Under
Armour -- Matthew Mirchin, VP of North American Sales; Jody Giles, Chief
Information Officer; and Alex Miyamoto, director of investor relations -- along
with venture capitalists Dingman Entrepreneur-in-Residence Tien Wong and Matt
Brock of CD Ventures.
The final round of the competition included five finalist teams, narrowed
from a field of more than 20 applicants. Each team had eight minutes to present
their business plans before judges and a sizable crowd in Van Munching Halls
Frank Auditorium. Finalists included Geocentric, Gill Grilling Company,
Sunscreen Mist, and Workscited4U.
Kevin Plank turned down a
well-paying job in the financial services industry when he graduated
from the Smith School in 1996 to follow his dream of
starting Under Armour.
After the business plan presentations, Plank spoke about entrepreneurship and
his business endeavors, then presented an over-sized $15,000 check and trophy
cup to Goozex and a $7,500 check to second-place winner Sunscreen Mist.
Spend wisely with that money, Plank joked before announcing the winners. Im
telling you, its a lot of money what I would have given for it when I was in
Plank turned down a well-paying job in the financial services industry when
he graduated from the Smith School in 1996 to follow his dream of starting Under
Armour. He founded his athletic apparel company in his grandmothers basement and
has grown it into a successful publicly traded company.
He said he keeps four rules for building his company and encouraged the
entrepreneurs to do the same:
Zanini said Planks ideals about entrepreneurship and running a company align
very much with Goozex's strategy especially Planks points about servicing the
customer and building a good team. Goozex plans to continue to work on both.
We are five guys now, but we are working like we are 15, Zanini said.
Plank said events like Cupids Cup really give young entrepreneurs the edge,
because there is increasing global competition, which means only is America just
is not true anymore, he said. We need you to keep coming up with great ideas and
keep developing those ideas, Plank told the entrepreneurs. Above all, he pushed
entrepreneurs to stay passionate, stay positive and stay focused to achieve