Pitch Dingman Competition

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 over $70,000 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.

Competition Tracks

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

Semifinalist Prize: $500; $6,500 in AWS Activate Credits

Audience Choice Prize: $1000

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

Semifinalist Prize: $500; $6,500 in AWS Activate Credits

Audience Choice Prize: $1000

Track 3: Fearless Ideas 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. Learn about this year’s challenge!

Grand Prize: $5,000 and guaranteed admission to our Terp Startup summer accelerator program (additional $5,000 stipend)

Competition Dates

David & Robyn Quattrone Venture Track + Main Street Track

  • Applications open: January 12, 2021, at 12 a.m.
  • Application deadline: February 12, 2021, at 11:59 p.m.
  • Quarterfinalists notified: March 4, 2021
  • Semifinalists notified: March 9, 2021
  • Semifinals Coaching Sessions: March 26, April 2 & April 9, 2021
  • Pitch Dingman Competition Semifinals: April 16, 2021
  • Finalist Coaching Session: April 23 & 30, 2021

Fearless Ideas Track

  • Applications open: March 1, 2021, at 12 a.m.
  • Application deadline: April 5, 2021, at 11:59 p.m.
  • Winner notified: April 28, 2021

All Tracks

  • Pitch Dingman Competition Finals: May 4, 2021

Eligibility

All current University of Maryland - College Park (UMD-CP) and UMD-CP at Shady Grove students, both graduate and undergraduate, are welcome to apply. Applicant teams must be composed of at least 50% UMD-CP students as part of the founding team and currently serving on the lead management team. Ventures of any industry are welcome.

OFFICIAL RULES: 2021 PITCH DINGMAN COMPETITION

2021 Winners

Main Street Track

Audience Choice ($1,000): Hana's Cake Bar - Hana Bekele '21
Hana's Cake Bar is a bespoke bakery that tailors to every customers' needs for baked goods.

2nd Place ($5,000): STEPS Inc. - Sanketh Andhavarapu '23, Uzair Chaudhary '23
STEPS connects volunteers with paying K-12 families seeking personalized, 1 on 1, and long-term tutoring.

Grand Prize ($15,000): Fancy & Spicy - Brin Xu '22
Fancy & Spicy started from a popular Chinese Sichuan food blog, providing authentic Chinese food recipes, cookbooks, cooking events, and cooking consultation.

The David and Robyn Quattrone Venture Track

Audience Choice ($1,000): Technica - Hugo Burbelo '22, Utsa Santhosh '22
Technica sells an innovative online event platform that is custom-built for hackathons to other technology events and corporate partners in order to improve the experience and engagement of their attendees in a virtual format.

2nd Place ($10,000): Technica - Hugo Burbelo '22, Utsa Santhosh '22
Technica sells an innovative online event platform that is custom-built for hackathons to other technology events and corporate partners in order to improve the experience and engagement of their attendees in a virtual format.

Grand Prize ($30,000): Blimp Logistics - Camilo Melnyk '21, Spencer Yaculak '23
Blimp Logistics is developing a drone delivery system that will provide last-mile delivery services to businesses shipping packages under 30 lbs. in both suburban and rural areas.

2021 Finals Judges

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

Chris Ballenger
Founder & CEO, APEX Strategies

Tom Parsons '93, MBA '10
President, Parsons Ventures, Inc

Athena Abbott, MBA '91
Director, Pharma Data Product Strategy, CVS Health

Shelly Kapoor Collins
Founding Partner, The Shatter Fund

Manpreet Singh '03
Chief Investment Officer, Singh Capital Partners

Danny Wright
Chief Operating Officer, 1863 Ventures

2020 Winners

Grand Prize ($15,000): HydrazeCharles 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, LLCDaniel 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

Aurelia Flores
Managing Member, Athena Digital Media Group

Tom Parsons '93, MBA '10
President, Parsons Ventures, Inc

Angela Singleton
Director, TEDCO Builder Fund

Becky Smith
EVP, Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer, SECU

Prize Breakdown

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

2019 Winners

Grand Prize ($15,000): Aurora Tights - Jasmine Snead '18, MBA/MPP '21, Imani Rickerby ’17, Sydney Parker ’18
Performance sports apparel for women of all skin tones and sizes.

2nd Place ($7,500): Solr Tech - Alex Onufrak ‘21
Solar-powered charging stations that can retrofit to any patio umbrella.

3rd Place ($3,500) & Audience Choice ($1,000): Synapto - Chris Look ’20, Megha Guggari ’20
A device using AI and portable EEG to streamline Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis.

2019 Finals Judges

David Quattrone, MBA ’05
Co-founder & CTO, Cvent

Bill Boyle ’81
Founder, FiberGate Inc.

Cassie Costin
Community Market Leader, SECU

Gloria Jacobovitz
Technology Manager, Applied Physics Laboratory

2018 Winners

Grand Prize ($15,000) : Symbiont Health (Emergency Detection Systems, LLC)- Erich Meissner ’18, Maria Chen ’19, Kyle Liu ’20
An innovative technology to detect falls for seniors and nursing home patients. 

Second Prize ($7,500): BEEQBOX - Brianna Queen ’19
A vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics company featuring feminist branding.

Third Prize ($3,500): Dark Sonar Technologies - George Lee ’18
A cybersecurity company that prevents synthetic identity fraud on websites and mobile apps. 

Audience Choice ($1,000): Flee - Didac Hormiga ’19
A mobile app that helps students discover events and entertainment around campus.

2018 Finalist Judges

Robert Hisaoka ’79
Investor and Philanthropist

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

Rob McGovern ’83
Founder & CEO, PreciseTarget

Michele Moore
Vice President of Retail Banking, SECU

Dick Patterson
President & CEO, RR Automotive

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

2017 Winners

Grand Prize ($15,000) and Audience Choice ($1,500): Curu- David Potter ‘18, Abb Kapoor ‘18
A website and mobile application that assesses spending habits and offers ways to optimize the user’s credit score.

Second Place ($7,500): CourseHunter - Aaron Bloch ‘17, Benjamin Khakshoor ‘18
A platform that interfaces with school registration systems to help students get into classes they need.  

Third Place ($3,500): Gravity LLC - Richard Kong ‘20
An online publishing platform for Chinese and Korean fantasy stories translated into English.

2017 Finalist Judges

John Czupak ‘89
President and CEO, ThreatQuotient, Inc.

Christopher Groshko, MBA ‘05
Vice President of Retail Banking, SECU

Warren Harris
CEO and Managing Director, Tata Technologies

Julie Lenzer
Associate Vice President, Economic Development & Co-Director, UM Ventures, University of Maryland

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

Liz Sara ‘80
Founder & CEO, Best Marketing LLC

2016 Winners

Grand Prize ($15,000) and Kimberly Marie Scholastic Achievement Award ($1,000): WeCook - Ryan Pillai ‘18
A tech company that brings personal chefs into people’s homes, at a low price to stock their refrigerators.

Second Place ($5,000) : ICOW – Jonathan Kau ‘16  
A web app to simplify the higher-ed application process for international students.

Judge’s Choice ($2,000): Embitterment – Russell Garing, MBA ‘16
A craft cocktail bitters company.

Judge’s Choice ($2,000): VentureStorm – Tyler Denk ’16, Taylor Johnson ’16, Tommy Johnson ‘16
A web platform connecting entrepreneurs and student developers.

Judge’s Choice ($2,000) and Audience Choice ($500): uBoard – Natalie Urban ‘18
uBoard transforms student dorm beds with customized headboards that are stylish and comfortable.

2016 Finalist Judges

David Burd
General Manager, Uber

Paul Capriolo
CEO, Social Growth Technologies Inc.

Malcolm Gillian
Managing partner, Syndicate Group NYC

Jennifer Meyer
CEO, Betamore

Carmen Mirabile
Assistant Vice President of Marketing, SECU

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

Greg Vetter
CEO, Tessemae's All Natural

David and Robyn Quattrone
David and Robyn Quattrone

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 members of the Dingman Center Board of Advisors.

The Dingman Center would also like to thank the following sponsors:

  • Chris and Vidya Ballenger '89 
  • Parsons Ventures, Inc. 
  • Amazon Web Services
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