A “superfood coffee blend” developed and sold by University of Maryland graduates is one of six finalists vying for more than $100,000 in total prizes in the 2016 Cupid's Cup Entrepreneurship Competition.
Javazen, the name of the startup and product, has been selected from hundreds of applications representing nearly 100 universities and colleges.
Operated by Eric Golman ’15 (economics and environmental science), Ryan Schueler ’14 (marketing), Aaron Wallach ’14 (kinesiology and exercise science) and Yoni Razin ’14 (communication), the company will go before Under Armour Founder and CEO Kevin Plank and a panel of celebrity judges in the Cupid’s Cup final round on Thursday, April 7, 2016, at the University of Maryland's Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.
Javazen co-founders Golman, Schueler and Wallach, as UMD students, introduced the organic concoction of cocoa, green tea and coffee through the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship’s Terp Startup Marketplace in the Robert H. Smith School of Business.
Cupid’s Cup is in its 11th year and is chaired by Plank, in collaboration with his alma mater and founding university partner the University of Maryland.
Judges, in addition to Plank,will include Cleveland Cavaliers owner and Quicken Loans Founder and Chairman Dan Gilbert, Huffington Post Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington and author Wes Moore, who’s also BridgeEdU’s founder and CEO and host of Beyond Belief on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
The finalists advanced from a field of 12 startups in a Feb. 19 semifinal round at Under Armour’s global headquarters in Baltimore. The competitors pitched their businesses and interviewed with a group of established investors, entrepreneurship experts and Under Armour executives.
In addition to Javazen, each of the following finalists will be paired with a coach to help them prepare for the final round of competition:
- Headbands of Hope (North Carolina State University) – Creates fashionable headbands aimed at girls experiencing chemotherapy. For every headband sold, a headband is given to a child with cancer.
- mybestbox (Columbia University) – Assembles boxes with essential, high-quality products that cover a broad range of health & wellness areas.
- Plova Chewing Gum LLC. (Trinity University) – The world’s first and only beneficial oral care product for people who are always on the go.
- Six Foods (Harvard University) – Uses crickets milled into a flour to make tortilla chips (Chirps) that are familiar to Americans, in an effort to normalize insect foods, starting with snacks to meat.
- Wolf & Shepherd (University of Notre Dame) – Designs shoes to provide unparalleled comfort by concealing high performance foam technology into the heart of each sole.
The competition was open to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at accredited colleges and universities or recent alumni of those institutions. Applicants ensured that they are running a legal business entity that has demonstrated proof of traction.
More information about the competition, including tickets to attend the April 7 event, can be found at www.cupidscup.com.
PHOTO: Javazen co-founders Schueler, Wallach and Golman in Honduras holding a basket of freshly picked and ripe organic coffee. Courtesy of Javazen.
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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.