Pitch Dingman Competition, the Dingman Center’s signature annual competition, provides the university’s most talented student entrepreneurs the opportunity to compete for seed funding and exclusive access to venture development resources. This year, the Dingman Center is expanding the competition by doubling the prize funding and adding three competition tracks for University of Maryland students to enter. Students from any college or major can now compete for $65,000 in non-dilutive startup funding.
Beyond funding, the competition provides a vehicle for entrepreneurs to learn the skills needed to grow their ventures and deliver a successful venture pitch. In the finals, the top student entrepreneurs deliver pitches to an expert panel of judges composed of founders and investors.
Track 1: The David and Robyn Quattrone Venture Track
This track is targeted to students with scalable ventures that already have traction (revenue, users, investment and/or grants).
Grand Prize: $30,000
2nd Place: $10,000
Track 2: Main Street Track
This track is for small businesses with revenue and/or initial customers but not focused on scale.
Grand Prize: $15,000
2nd Place: $5,000
Track 3: TerrapinStrong Track
This track is for students who do not yet have a developed venture. This idea-style challenge asks students to improve/solve a specific problem each year through venture creation. Stay tuned for the release of this year’s challenge!
Grand Prize: $5,000
Prep and Apply
Applications open in January 2021. Between now and then, student entrepreneurs can participate in the center’s “Prep Series” featuring a range of relevant workshops that prepare you for the Pitch Dingman Competition.
Grand Prize ($15,000): Hydraze – Charles Grody ’20, Jack Sturtevant ’20, Tuvia Rappaport ’20
Hydraze Inc. is a sustainability-oriented venture that develops disruptive automatic toilet flushing technology with the ability to reduce average toilet water consumption by 45% which would save UMD at least half a million dollars annually.
Second Place ($7,500): AlgenAir LLC – Dan Fucich, PhD ’20, Kelsey Abernathy
Indoor carbon dioxide accumulation is detrimental to our health and productivity. The aerium is the world’s first natural air purifier that uses algae to reduce carbon dioxide and produce oxygen as effectively as 25 house plants.
Third Place ($3,500): Door Robotics – Joshua Ermias ’20
Door Robotics is at the intersection of drones, virtual reality, and photography. We are launching a drone with an integrated virtual reality camera system.
PPE Award ($1,000): BraceLint, LLC – Daniel Raithel ’20
BraceLint is a completely flat, single-use, and patent-pending version of the lint roller that allows anyone to freshen their clothing once they are out of the house.
PPE Award ($1,000): SweetsbyCaroline – Caroline Ta ’21
SweetsbyCaroline is a catering business that specializes in custom french macarons, cakes and cupcakes for your parties and events. We value and aim to bring your ideas into unique and delicious products while using the best quality ingredients.
2020 Finals Judges
David Quattrone, MBA '05
Co-founder & CTO, Cvent
Matt Fishlinger '07
Founder & COO, Gramercy Risk Holdings, LLC
Managing Member, Athena Digital Media Group
Tom Parsons '93, MBA '10
President, Parsons Ventures, Inc
Director, TEDCO Builder Fund
EVP, Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer, SECU
David & Robyn Quattrone Grand Prize: $15,000
Parsons Ventures, Inc Second Place Prize: $7,500
Third Place Prize: $3,500
2020 PPE Award (Pandemic Perseverance in Entrepreneurship): $1,000
Audience Choice: $500 at Semifinal Competition
SECU Finalist Award: $500
Other sponsored Prizes: various amounts
About our Partners
David and Robyn Quattrone have been supporting the Pitch Dingman Competition since 2015. In 2020, the Quattrones significantly increased their support by providing funds that allowed the Center to go from offering $30,000 in total award funding to offering $65,000 in awards.
As a Pitch Dingman judge, David enjoys engaging with students on their innovative business ideas. It’s something that the family looks forward to every year.
“Every time David comes home from the competition, he tells us all about what the different submissions were,” Robyn says. “Even our kids are interested in it, which is not always the case when you talk to them about work.”
“The program inspires people to think creatively, launching something new or transforming an organization from the inside. That’s what makes the work compelling,” says David. “Hearing how people can get those lessons and experiences to use on their own adventures or create change within their spaces is rewarding and makes me excited for the future.”
Additional funding is provided by SECU and members of the Dingman Center Board of Advisors.