Baltimore, MD (March 23, 2015) — Today Under Armour Founder and CEO Kevin Plank and the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business announced the panel of judges who will choose the winners of the 2015 Cupid’s Cup Business Competition. This year’s panel is comprised of top-level business executives and entrepreneurs who have built their organizations into industry leaders and exemplify the innovative spirit behind the Cupid’s Cup.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the competition chaired by Plank, a graduate of the University of Maryland, and strives to foster interest in student entrepreneurship. The international competition is open to undergraduate and graduate-level students at accredited colleges and universities, and recent graduates of these institutions. Winners will receive $115,000 in total cash prizes, coaching from a team of successful entrepreneurs, and in-kind services from top companies.
Joining Plank on the judge’s panel are the following individuals:
Daymond John, Founder and CEO, FUBU and Shark Branding— Now a star of ABC's hit show “Shark Tank,” John has evolved over the last 20 years from a fashion icon of his generation to one of the most sought-after branding experts and motivational speakers in the country. He created FUBU, “For Us By Us,” which represented a lifestyle neglected by other clothing companies. The birth of his brand opened up the urban apparel space and laid the groundwork for other companies to compete in this newly established market.
Karen Katz, CEO, Neiman Marcus Group— Katz has led Neiman-Marcus Group since 2010 and grown its position as an international, multi-brand, omni-channel retailer. The company’s portfolio of brands includes Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and mytheresa.com. Since joining the Neiman-Marcus in 1985, she has served in key executive and leadership roles in the company's merchant, stores and e-commerce organizations.
Mike Lee, Co-founder and CEO, MyFitnessPal— Since he co-founded MyFitnessPal in 2005, Lee has guided it to its position as a leading health and fitness platform, now a part of the greater Under Armour digital community, which also includes MapMyFitness and Endomondo. Prior to MyFitnessPal, he co-founded NextC, a venture-funded startup focused on building online communities. Through 20 years in the technology industry, he has held leadership positions at other Silicon Valley startups including Palm, Handspring, Beyond.com and Regis McKenna.
Ted Leonsis, CEO, Monumental Sports and Entertainment— Leonsis is founder, chairman, majority owner and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns and operates the Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards, Washington Mystics and Verizon Center. Leonsis serves on the board of governors for the NBA and NHL. He is a cofounder and partner in the “speed-up capital” Revolution Growth Fund II, founder and chairman of content and technology company SnagFilms and serves on the board of American Express. Previously, Leonsis served as the CEO of Groupon and spent 14 years in various leadership roles at AOL.
The judges will evaluate six finalists, narrowed down from a pool of 12 semifinalists who presented at Under Armour headquarters on March 10. The finals of the competition will take place on April 22 at the University of Maryland, College Park, and will be emceed by Dhani Jones. A former NFL player with the New York Giants, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Cincinnati Bengals, Jones has transitioned into a life dedicated to improving the planet and the lives of others. He works with Al Gore’s climate change initiative and his own philanthropic venture, Bow Tie Cause, which designs bow ties to support various charitable groups. In June 2011, Jones’ book "The Sportsman: Unexpected Lessons from an Around the World Sports Odyssey," was released, detailing his career in the NFL, his time as the host of a Travel Channel original series, Dhani Tackles the Globe, and his observations on the ability of sports to open a window into a culture and to unlock a common passion in people all around the world.
The finalists are:
- Gym Supreme (University of Maryland) – a fitness start-up that designs patented fitness products, including the Mega Bar, to help individuals stay consistent with their health goals
- GudNeSs Bar (Duke University, School of Medicine) – combats iron deficiency in India through increasing awareness and distribution of the GudNeSs bar, which provides the World Health Organization’s recommended daily iron dosage.
- Scholly (Drexel University) – a mobile and web application that allows students to easily research and find scholarships for college
- SnappyScreen, Inc. (Cornell University) – makers of the world’s first touch-less sunscreen application system
- VirtualU INC (Virginia Tech) – integrates 3D human modeling technology into the fitness and healthcare space so people can accurately track how their bodies change as they lose weight
- ZOOS Greek Iced Teas (Stetson University) – an all-natural, real-brewed, caffeine-free, ready-to-drink Greek Iced Tea
For more information about the competition, please visit www.cupidscup.umd.edu.
About Kevin Plank
As a special teams captain for the UMD Terrapins football program in 1995, Plank was tired of having to change his sweat-soaked shirts over and over again throughout his two-a-day practices. His frustration led to an inspiration for a better kind of T-shirt—one that could wick sweat and keep athletes cool, dry, and light instead of overheated, drenched, and weighed down. Upon graduating from Maryland in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Plank started to turn his idea into a reality and, as a result, began redefining the way athletes dress. After 19 years of outfitting athletes with the world’s most innovative performance apparel, footwear, and accessories, Plank now oversees a company with over 9,000 employees worldwide with total revenues over $3 billion. True to his vision in 1995, Plank and Under Armour remain committed to empowering athletes everywhere.
About the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship
The Dingman Center has been at the forefront of entrepreneurship education and practice for more than 25 years. The Center’s primary activities include helping students build their ventures, creating experiential learning opportunities and providing regional entrepreneurs with access to capital. Within the region, the Center operates Dingman Center Angels, the area’s most active angel investor network with more than 40 members and 30 companies funded since 2005.