Students Entrepreneurs Pitch
Michael Dingman to Win Funding
Blind Pig Cocktails
presents at the Pitch Dingman competition.
Four student entrepreneurs got the opportunity to pitch their business ideas
to Michael Dingman, benefactor of his namesake Dingman Center for
Entrepreneurship at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. The center holds
monthly “Pitch Dingman” competitions and weekly sessions that give student
entrepreneurs a chance to present their business ideas to the center’s staff and
entrepreneurs-in-residence for feedback and the chance to win start-up funding.
It was a treat for students to pitch their businesses to Dingman and his three
sons for $2,500 in prize money, to cap the kickoff to the center’s 25
First up, Evan Ulrich pitched RoboSeed, a small unmanned flying device with a
design based on a maple seed. Ulrich is an engineering PhD student and developed
the technology with his faculty advisor, Darryll Pines, dean of the James A.
Clark School of Engineering. His pitch including a demonstration of his RoboSeed
Next to pitch was Llacey Simmons, an MBA student starting a preschool
program, Leading Start Kids, that will incorporate leadership lessons and
Mandarin Chinese instruction into daily activities for children.
Then the judges heard from, Daanish Maqbool, an aerospace engineering
graduate student. He has come up with a new innovation on a type of jet engine
he’s calling The Advanced Pulsejet Engine.
Closing out the pitch competition were MBA students Landon Shoop and Brian
Walsh and their business, Blind Pig Cocktails, high-end, premixed cocktails they
are planning to sell in mason jars. Their high-energy pitch earned them the $250
audience choice award, determined by judging the crowd reaction noise level.
In the end, Ulrich and RoboSeed won the $2,500 in cash funding and the
approval of the judging panel, rounded out by past University President C.D.
“Dan” Mote, Dingman board chair Mark Walsh, and Smith School Dean Anand