The 2011 National Elevator Pitch Competition hosted by the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization(CEO) was held October 28-29 at the Omni Fort Worth hotel in Texas at the CEO National Conference. A total of 60 competitors competed in the two day event which consisted of three rounds. Over 140 original applications were received, including 30 schools that had automatic qualifying entries for the winner of their campus elevator pitch competition. Each round was judged by entrepreneurs from different industries and backgrounds.
Meathead Movers co-founder and CEO Aaron Steed was one of the selected judges for the competition. “As a judge, I found the ideas and preparation as well as the passion from the elevator pitch competition exciting and realistic business opportunities. Anyone who has any doubt or concerns about the millennial generation must attend this conference to see our futures best and brightest,” said Aaron. Aaron also led a breakout session during the National Conference, giving insights on his success to future entrepreneurs.
Each of the sessions were filled with fellow students, entrepreneurs, faculty, and investors who were there to watch the pitches. Each student was given 90 seconds to share their best business idea, or currently operating business. Here are the final standings and a quick recap of the winning business pitches.
Honorable Mention- Bryan Arturo, Senior, DePaul University: Bryan is co-founder of FunCaptcha, a company that proposed a to change how security captcha’s are seen on websites. Instead of typing odd words and combinations of letters and numbers, FunCaptcha would use positive advertisements where you have to describe something in the advertisement to pass the security of the website. Bryan and his team are already focused on a new startup project involving a mobile ap, as they decided to abandon their previous idea.
Honorable Mention- Jonathan Hirsch, Junior, Rowan University: Jonathan had a simple yet innovative idea to solve a common annoyance that he was constantly frustrated with. What did Jonathan really hate in life? Taking out the trash! Hirsch created a new design for the trash can, which was due for a new design. He plans on using the $500 to work on a provisional patent and on perfecting his design. His original idea came out of a class project where students were required to present an elevator pitch for an idea.
Honorable Mention- Jamie Lahiere, Junior, Texas State University- San Marcos, TX: “The Elevator Pitch Competition was one of the most rewarding experiences of my college career,” said Jamie. Jamie’s dance studio for adults, Feet on Fire, won 7th place in the competition and brought together a passion and a gap in the market to make a great future business. Jamie summed up her business by saying “our goal is for adults to apply the skills they learn at our studio in public settings and gain the confidence needed to dance at parties and events without feeling like they have two left feet.”
Honorable Mention- Jesus J Valdez, Senior, Mississippi State University: Jesus is Chief Operating Officer of The Juliet Collective: www.thejulietcollective.com. His company designs and manufactures custom design guitar pedals. Jesus enjoyed his time in the competition and at the CEO National Conference, and is currently working on achieving his second year goals within the business.
Honorable Mention- Jessie Becker, 21, Senior, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo: Jessie’s company is tackling a very difficult problem, postpartum hemorrhage. Her company, InPress Technologies, invented a device that simulates the body’s natural response to postpartum hemorrhage, making the treatment safer and less invasive. They are currently conducting bench-top testing and will be looking for investments to further their testing in the nexzt few months and prepare for 510(k) FDA filing.
4th Place- Alex Swaynie, Senior, Colorado Mesa University: Alex from Colorado Mesa brought his idea from the slopes to the elevator pitch competition. His snowboard binding converts into a snowshoe. Alex had a good experience in the competition and will be working on a final working prototype over the next month.
3rd Place, $1500- Abigail Rebekkah Hernandez,Sophomore, St. Mary’s University: Abigail pitched her startup company Planetary Technology and their idea of a solar powered cell phone. She and her business partner will be analyzing their idea and business to decide whether to continue with their idea or to pursue another business venture with the prize money.
Second Place, $2000- Justin Nothem, 5th year senior, University of Wisconsin, Whitewater: Justin was this year’s winner of the People’s Choice Award, which allowed a contestant to win a cash prize and automatically advance to the final round of the competition. Justin took his successful business as an innovative hot dog cart vendor, and turned it into a franchise opportunity for college students. Justin will be using his winnings to further develop the cloud computing aspect of his business, and to further growth. Look out for a College Dogs cart in your college town in the next few years, they are sure to be a hit! Visit www.Collegedogsfranchise.com for more information.
First Place, $2500- Jillian Jaccard, Junior, Loyola Marymount University: “PartiePoche is a novel women’s fashion accessory inspired by the nightlife of Los Angeles. It holds a woman’s 3 essentials (phone, cards, and cash) so that she doesn’t have to.” Jillian received a lot of interest in her product as a result of her pitch. You can find more information on her product at www.partiepoche.com.
The 2011 competition was the best yet according to coordinator Tim Stearns from California State University, Fresno. The 2012 National Elevator Pitch Competition will be held in Chicago, Illinois in early November.
For more information on the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO), please email Michael Luchies at MLuchies@c-e-o.org.