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Five UMD Startups Compete for $30K in Pitch Dingman Competition Finals

Feb 02, 2016
Entrepreneurial Spirit

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Pitch Dingman Competition Finals
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
6 p.m.—7:30 p.m.
Stamp Student Union, Colony Ballroom
Register to attend

University of Maryland student entrepreneurs will vie for more than $30,000 to fund their startups at the Feb. 16 Pitch Dingman Competition final event at Stamp Student Union. Entrepreneurs heading up five businesses will take to the stage to pitch to a panel of seven judges and an audience of more than 200 students, business leaders, faculty, staff and guests.

The Pitch Dingman Competition is the University of Maryland’s only business competition exclusively for Terps, hosted by the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the Robert H. Smith School of Business.

“There is lot of momentum on campus around fearless ideas and the Pitch Dingman Competition is the next part of that – how fearless ideas turn into profitable, sustainable ventures,” said Elana Fine, managing director of the Dingman Center. “We often see that the real hurdle for student entrepreneurs to grow beyond their dorm room can be $5,000-$15,000 in funding. This competitions gives students the opportunity to win non-diluted funding that can help them manufacture a product, spend on sales and marketing, or get more data from the market on how to grow.”

The five finalists have been preparing since advancing from the semifinal round of the competition, held in December 2015 when 10 founders were selected to pitch their startups. The finalists have been meeting with Dingman Center staff to hone their pitches in preparation for culminating event.

The finalists include a mix of undergraduate and graduate students who are spending much of their college experience building a business. The startups are Embitterment, a cocktail bitters company; ICOW, a web app to simplify the higher ed application process for international students; Uboard, an innovative bed company; VentureStorm, a web platform connecting entrepreneurs and developers; and WeCook, a personal chef service.

Each finalist will pitch his or her business, walk judges through a demonstration, then field questions from judges. At stake are a $15,000 grand prize; $5,000 second place prize; $5,000 judges’ choice prizes; and a $500 audience choice prize, decided during the competition by text voting.

The competition was made possible by a generous gift from alumnus David Quattrone, co-founder and chief technology officer of Cvent, and support from SECU. Quattrone will serve as a judge for the final competition, along with Gary Attman, president and CEO of FutureCare Health and Management Corp.; Paul Capriolo, CEO of Social Growth Technologies Inc.; Malcolm Gillian, managing partner of Syndicate Group NYC; Jennifer Meyer, CEO of Betamore; Carmen Mirabile, assistant vice president of marketing at SECU; and Greg Vetter, CEO of Tessemae's All Natural.

Fine said Quattrone’s gift ensures the future of the competition for years to come as the university’s entrepreneurial community continues to grow and mature.

“This competition showcases students that are leveraging all of the entrepreneurship resources on campus and starting viable businesses,” said Fine. “The quality of the companies that students are starting on campus is definitely increasing. Our students are starting ventures that encompass a breadth of ideas and serve markets well beyond their fellow students.”

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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.