Pitch Dingman Competition

Pitch Dingman Competition is the University of Maryland’s only business competition exclusively for Terps. Held annually, students can compete for more than $30,000 in startup funding. The competition consists of a fall Semifinals and a winter Finals competition. Top student entrepreneurs deliver pitches to judges who are experts in entrepreneurship, angel investing and venture capital.

Click here to register for Pitch Dingman Competition Finals on Mar. 6, 2018!


Applications open: September 18, 2017 at 12:00 a.m.

Application deadline: October 19, 2017 at 11:59 p.m.

Pitch Dingman Competition Semifinals: November 16, 2017 at 6 p.m. in Frank Auditorium, Van Munching Hall

Pitch Dingman Competition Finals: March 6, 2018 in Grand Ballroom, Stamp Student Union - Founders Showcase: 5-6 p.m., Competition: 6-7:45 p.m.

The 2018 Finalists

BEEQBOX - Brianna Queen '19
Dark Sonar Technologies - George Lee '18
Emprology - Sydney Parker '18
Flee - Didac Hormiga '19
Symbiont Health - Erich Meissner '18, Maria Chen '19, Kyle Liu '20

The 2018 Judges

Robert Hisaoka ’79, Investor and Philanthropist

David Quattrone MBA '05, Co-Founder & CTO, Cvent

Dick Patterson, President & CEO, RRR Automotive

Michelle Moore, Vice President of Retail Banking, SECU

Justin Pierce, Chair of our Intellectual Property Division, Venable LLP

Rob McGovern ’83, CEO and Founder at PreciseTarget

Liz Sara ’80, Founder, Best Marketing

Connie Weaver ’75, Co-Founder & CEO at Tracker Group

Prize Breakdown

Grand Prize: $15,000

Second Place Prize: $7,500

Third Place Prize: $3,500

Audience Choice: $500 at Semifinal Competition and $1,000 at Final Competition

SECU Finalist Award: $500

Other sponsored Prizes: various amounts


All applicants must be a current student at the University of Maryland. Applicants will be evaluated on the uniqueness of their ideas, the current traction and scalability of their business, and the viability of their business as measured by the steps that they have taken to mitigate risks. For the Semifinal and Final rounds, judges will also take into consideration the contestants' progress toward their goals and steps taken to grow their business since time of application.

Completing Your Application

You must complete an application for your team to be considered for the Pitch Dingman Competition. The application consists of a series of questions about you and your business as well as a pitch deck. If selected for the Pitch Dingman Competition, your pitch should be a two-minute presentation providing a brief overview of your business idea. It is meant to help you—as an entrepreneur—to practice and hone your ability to verbalize and sell the idea to early stage investors such as friends and family, angel investors and venture capital firms. The key is to share your passion and enthusiasm for your idea. Your pitch deck should be short (no more than 5-7 slides) and to the point. Some topics to consider including in your pitch deck are:

    1. What problem are you trying to solve?
    2. How big is your problem? Talk about addressable market size.
    3. What is your solution to the problem? What is the value proposition for the customer?
    4. Who are your competitors and why is your solution better?
    5. How will you make money? What are your revenue stream(s)? Marketing and distribution strategy?
    6. Management team—who? What backgrounds and experiences do they bring?
    7. Current traction–do you have existing revenue? Plan moving forward—how will you use the prize money to grow your business and what are your targets for the next six months?

Keep in mind that every business is unique and so should be your presentation. Please practice your presentation several times.

The 2017 Winners

Grand Prize
Curu, David Potter, Abb Kapoor

Second Place
CourseHunter, Aaron Bloch, Benjamin Khakshoor

Third Place
Gravity LLC, Richard Kong

Runners Up
Grumpy Joes, Gary Hwang, Michael McGraw
POSH, Nathalyn Nunoo, Elania Tait, William Kwao

The 2017 Judges

A keynote address was provided by Warren Harris as part of Tata Group's#TataInnovationDialogue.

John Czupak
President & CEO, ThreatQuotient, Inc.
Czupak is a senior technology executive with extensive experience in all aspects of building a start-up business, as well as executing on IPO’s and managing those businesses longer term

Christopher Groshko
Vice President - Retail Banking, SECU
Groshko leads retail banking at SECU, Maryland’s largest financial cooperative, including the development, implementation and maintenance of a consultative sales and service strategy for all Consumer Products and Direct Consumer Lending through brick and mortar.

Warren Harris
CEO and Managing Director, Tata Technologies
Harris has been with Tata Technologies and its predecessor companies for more than 25 years. His roles have evolved from engineer to a number of technical management positions worldwide.

Julie Lenzer
Associate Vice President, Economic Development, University of Maryland
Co-Director, UM Ventures, University of Maryland
Lenzer is an award-winning software entrepreneur, ecosystem builder, investor, and educator with a foundation in innovation-based economic development.

David Quattrone
Co-Founder & CTO, Cvent
Quattrone was responsible for the design and development of Cvent's original event management and online registration software. He has over fourteen years of experience in designing and developing large-scale web-based applications.

Liz Sara
Dingman Center Board Chair
Founder & CEO, Best Marketing LLC
Liz Sara has more than 25 years of experience in the local high tech community as an entrepreneur, business leader and angel investor. As founder of Best Marketing, LLC she has consulted for more than 90 companies, assisting them increasing revenue and speed market adoption for their B2B products and services.


David & Robyn Quattrone Hisaoka

SECU     Venable       

Thank you to our generous donors David & Robyn Quattrone, Robert G. Hisaoka, Venable and SECU for providing seed funding for the competition.