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


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.


2020 Winners

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

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

David & 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
Robert H. Smith School of Business
Map of Robert H. Smith School of Business
University of Maryland
Robert H. Smith School of Business
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College Park MD 20742