News at Smith

Company Founded by Smith School Undergraduate Wins $15,000 in Business Plan Competition

May 01, 2003


A start-up technology company founded by Smith School undergraduate has been awarded $15,000 in the University of Maryland's Third Annual Business Plan Competition. AlertUS Technologies, co-founded by junior accounting major Jason Volk, took second place in the May 9th competition, during which Volk and co-founder Sandeep Mehta went before a panel of judges that included top venture capitalists and angel investors.

It is a tremendous honor for AlertUS Technologies to receive the business plan competitions second place award, and recognition by the eminent panel of judges, said Volk, who participates in the university's Hinman Campus Entrepreneurship Opportunities (CEOs) program. Our team will put the award money to good use as we proceed with manufacturing the components of our early warning solution.

AlertUS Technologies is developing a secure wireless communications system for emergency warning information. The system is designed for closed communities such as universities, large corporations, and government campuses. It can disseminate detailed information - such as the nature of an emergency and what actions people should take in response - to large populations within seconds.

AlertUS was one of six technology start-ups, all founded at the university, to share in the competitions $50,000 in prize money. All of the winning companies, comprised of students, faculty, and recent alumni, focus on new or next-generation technologies in areas such as homeland security, high-tech manufacturing, and recreational vehicles.

Winning this competition will help us realize our entrepreneurial dream, said mechanical engineering student Alok Priyadarshi, a member of first-place company Terplicators Inc. Being recognized by such a distinguished panel of judges validates our business plan and gives us confidence to move forward. Our credibility will also be higher as we seek additional funding.

Terplicators, which netted $20,000 by winning the competition, is developing next-generation mold design software solutions. The company's software modules take Computer Aided Design (CAD) or scanned data and produce accurate mold designs within minutes. More than a third of the 30 potential customers contacted by Terplicators have already expressed interest in its product, including Black & Decker, Direct Dimensions, Space Limited, and NAVSEA.

Third-place-winner Castle Duncan Inc. won $7,500. The company has developed a prototype of its ultra-safe all-terrain vehicle, which is designed to cut down on ATV-related injuries and deaths with a custom roll-cage and four-point safety harness. Castle Duncan's team includes undergraduate student Adam Herbert and alumnus Richard Duncan, both from the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The three remaining teams each won $2,500.

The competition was judged by Jonathan Aberman, partner at Fenwick & West LLP; Rob Cerbone, associate at Telecommunications Development Fund; Wayne Lee, partner, at Reed Smith LLP; John May, managing partner at New Vantage Group; and Erik Org, senior associate at Techno Venture Management. Sponsors of the competition included Mohr, Davidow Ventures, Fenwick & West, Techno Venture Management, Telecommunications Development Fund, and Reed Smith LLP.

The Hinman CEOs Program, a living-learning entrepreneurship program at the University, managed the competition. The Hinman program is a joint initiative of the university's Robert H. Smith School of Business and the A. James Clark School of Engineering.

Read more about Jason Volk and the competition in The Sun.

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty master's, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.