Pitch Dingman Competition

Pitch Dingman Competition

The 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.

Register now to attend the Pitch Dingman Competition Finals, happening on March 7, 2017 from 6-8 p.m. in the Colony Ballroom of Stamp Student Union.


The 2017 Finalists

Founders: Aaron Bloch, Benjamin Khakshoor
A platform that interfaces with school registration systems to help students get into the classes they need.

Founders: David Potter, Abb Kapoor
A mobile app that helps users improve their credit score without changing their spending habits.

Gravity LLC
Founder: Richard Kong
Gravity LLC produces Gravity Tales, an online publishing platform for Chinese and Korean fantasy stories translated into English.

Grumpy Joes
Founders: Gary Hwang, Michael McGraw
An online apparel shop that features a line of novelty t-shirts designed by and for veterans.

Founders: Nathalyn Nunoo, Elania Tait, William Kwao
A beauty consultation firm that provides reliable, affordable service to clients seeking freelance makeup artists.

Come root for your favorite team at Pitch Dingman Competition Finals on March 7, 2017.


The 2017 Judges

A keynote address will be 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

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.

Carmen Mirabile
Assistant Vice President, Marketing, SECU
Mirabile oversees all marketing at SECU, Maryland’s largest financial cooperative, including marketing planning and strategy, research and analysis, brand strategy, corporate communications, product marketing and customer relationship management.

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. 


Prize Breakdown

Grand Prize: $15,000

Second Place Prize: $7,500

Third Place Prize: $3,500

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

Other sponsored Prizes: various amounts

**All teams selected as Semifinalists are guaranteed $250 and all teams selected Finalists are guaranteed $500


The 2016 Winners

Grand Prize
WeCook, Ryan Pillai

Second Place Prize
ICOW, Jonathan Kau

Judges Choice Prizes

Audience Choice
uBoard, Natalie Urban

Kimberly Marie Scholastic Achievement Award
WeCook, Ryan Pillai



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.



David & Robyn Quattrone

Thank you to our generous partners for providing seed funding for the competition.
David & Robyn Quattrone (pictured) provided the Grand Prize.

SECU and Tata Technologies donated funding for additional prizes

SECU                       Tata