Posts Tagged ‘competition’

Annual Shark Tank Competition Results!

March 3rd, 2016 by cgevry

By now you must have heard, the fourth annual Shark Tank competition was a huge success.  Originally advertised that teams could win “up to $10,000,” the final pay out was $14,500! With four great pitches, two winning teams and a panel of successful alumni judges, I can hardly wait to see what is in store for next year.  Many thanks to everyone involved!


2016 Shark Tank Competition Winners

FIRST PRIZE: $12,000: Breweries Stewardship Alliance
>Matt Watson ’16 is an anthropology major, and has self-designed his own food studies minor. He is interested in bringing about sustainable, ethical reform within our global food system and is seeking to empower environmentally friendly craft-breweries.

SECOND PRIZE: $2,500: StEP (Student Empowerment Program)
>Sean Griffin ’16 & Jake Medina ’16 are the founders of StEP, a non-profit organization that seeks to close the educational technology gap. StEP partners with existing college and university service programs to enhance educational non-profits and schools with innovative technology, ongoing training, and access to online resources.

THANK YOU to our 2016 JUDGES:

Michael Balmuth: Partner, SV Life Sciences
Michael Guleserian ’93: Chief Experience Officer, Nubar, Sheraton Commander Hotel
James Horne ’98: Analyst, IBS Capital LLC
Larry Naughton ’93: Co-Chair of the Business & Technology Group, Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP

Read a review of the event from Emma Collins ’16 HERE and check the COES website for more information.

Photo Credit: Rob Carlin

Annual Shark Tank Competition

March 2nd, 2015 by cgevry

Annual SHARK TANK COMPETITION – Open to Campus (Come Watch!)
SharkTank_Comp S15 2
Over $10,000 in Prize Monies! *Multiple prizes will be awarded.

Competition Date: Thursday, March 26, 2015
5:30pm in McGrath Lecture Hall (Smith Labs 155)

TWO COMPETITIONS: (Choose one)
1. Clever Idea: Distill your idea into a two-minute pitch.  No Q&A.
Two prizes will be awarded at $250/team for an original and promising idea.

2. Serious Start-up: 5 minute pitch + 5 minute Q&A.
Two prizes will be awarded for teams most ready for launching their business.  First prize is $7,500/team.  Second prize is $4,000/team.

Pitch your product/service idea to a panel of alumni judges for the chance to win! *Multiple prize monies awarded from clever idea to serious start-up, only to be used towards venture.

2015 JUDGES:
John Addonizio P16, CEO, J. Addonizio & Company, LLC
Bob Allard ’91, Co-Founder, extensionEngine (eE)
John Calcio, VP Channel Development, QStream
Tom Flynn ’87, Managing Partner, SV Life Sceinces
Ben Kaplan ’15, Co-Founder & CEO, WIGO & 2013 Holy Cross Shark Tank Winner
Mary Moran ’77, Financial Services Consultant and Contractor

REGISTER: http://offices.holycross.edu/business/sharktankcompetition (Teams must register by Thursday, March 19th to compete.)

Don’t want to compete but want to check out all the good ideas?  COME WATCH!! Free and open to the campus community.

HC Shark Tank Winner Ben Kaplan ’16 Set to Launch New Social Networking App

September 25th, 2013 by hhoran

As those of you who are avid readers of this blog might remember, last spring the Ciocca Office of Entrepreneurial Studies and the Entrepreneurship Club co-sponsored the inaugural Holy Cross Shark Tank competition where Ben Kaplan ’16 took home the grand prize for his original social networking app: WiGO.

Well, we are excited to announce that since last spring Kaplan has taken serious strides towards making WiGO (Who is Going Out) come alive and he has the initial launch slated for this early October.  Holy Cross just might have its very own Mark Zuckerburg on its hands.

The goal of Kaplan’s app is to simplify the process of making social plans for college students.  As a freshman at HC, Kaplan felt that making social plans and figuring out “who is going out?” was unnecessarily challenging.  College students didn’t want to constantly be sending out group texts and no one wanted to always be posting all the details of social plans online and so WiGO was born.

The app creates networks based on a users’ college or university email address so that, for example, when an HCer logs in their homepage will show all of the other HCers who are users and indicate who has – or has not – said they’re headed out that night.  There’s no specifics given, just “I am going out”, and there’s no friending process like with Facebook.  Rather, if you go to HC you can see everyone else in your network and vice versa.  From there, Kaplan believes that this app will make it easy to see who wants to go out and then utilize the app’s chat function to make plans.  Additionally, if you see someone on the app who you’d like to encourage to go out you have the option to “shoulder tap” them, which lets them know you’d like them to see them out.

I had the chance to sit down and talk to Kaplan last week, as he prepared for the upcoming app launch, and what I was really struck by was the way he has developed an initial idea he had last spring into a real live app.  He explained to me how he’d started the summer interviewing web developers and coders and ultimately settled on a team from Green Mountain Software, located in his hometown of Burlington, VT.  He then spent the rest of the summer working with them to take what was initially an idea in his head and turn it into something that’s accessible and user friendly.  We discussed why he decided to hire a local team, rather than outsourcing the coding as many app developers do, and he said that the opportunity to actually meet with, and have easy access to, his coding team was ultimately one of the best decisions he made.  It allowed him to take real ownership in the creation process and meant that he could be involved making changes and decisions during the course of development.

Kaplan also credited the Holy Cross alumni network as being indispensable in this process.  The time and feedback that he said so many alumni were willing to give him was very beneficial in the development of this app.  Last spring, Shark Tank judge Chris Stephenson had told Kaplan that if he brought his idea to Seattle he’d meet with him to discuss.  Kaplan cashed in on this promise over the summer, flying to the West Coast to meet, and also said that there were many other alumni who connected him with local entrepreneurs, weighed in on questions of copyright and intellectual property law and offered feedback as he moved through the process.

Obviously in launching an app, the marketing efforts are, in many ways, as important as the actual coding and Kaplan explained that he had a clear game plan for that too: he was starting by focusing on sports teams here at HC, because such a larger percentage of students are involved in them, and had reached out to individuals on the various teams to get them onboard as ambassadors.  The plan is that these individuals will encourage their teammates to download, and use, the app thus creating the initial injection of users needed to get WiGO off the ground.  From there the hope is that it will catch on organically and as students see how easy and effective it is to use they will encourage their friends to use it, too.

What’s the plan long term?  Well, Kaplan is initially launching the app exclusively here at Holy Cross and you need to have a verified Holy Cross student email address in order to register.  But, looking forward, Kaplan said his next step would be to roll it out to a handful of additional colleges, continue to monitor its growth, and then allow it to continue to spread to schools across the country.

Towards the end of our talk Kaplan said that he thinks no matter what happens with WiGO – whether it gets off the ground or not – the process of creating the app and bringing it to market has been incredibly valuable in and of itself.  That being said, after listening to him for an hour – hearing where the idea came from, how he built the app, and how he plans to roll it out – this blogger has a hard time believing Kaplan isn’t going to make this a success.

Ideas for new apps created on Day 1 of the 2013 Executive Leadership Workshop!

March 5th, 2013 by hhoran

Yesterday kicked off the 2013 Executive Leadership Workshop and one of the things the students definitely learned was that working a full day (they started at 8:30 am and were busy until 7 pm) is challenging!

Peter George ’81 started off the week talking about how to start and build a business. He was accompanied by Geoff Oblak and Gary Kramer. The students’ challenge for the day: work with their teams to come up with an educational app and then pitch it to the day’s three executive teachers who were acting as Venture Capitalists.

While all the teams came up with interesting ideas, two teams were ultimately rewarded funding: Michael Biggins ’16, Claudia Bechtold ’15, Maggie MacMullin ’16 and Michael Tucker ’14 came up with the idea for BookChat, an online database for professors to post excerpts of readings and where students can engage in online discussions. Nolan Kiernan ’15, Matt Devine ’15, Brendan McGill ’14 and Sophie Haggerty ’16 came up with the idea for SyncroNote, an online note taking software with an audio recording technology. I’m not going to include too many details, in case any of these teams decide to really run with the idea, but the judges were all impressed.

Stay posted for updates on the rest of this week’s workshop. Today’s topic is “Using Culture and Values to Build a Sustainable Business”. Currently the students are split up in groups prepping for a debate on whether culture should be a primary or secondary concern in companies. We’ll see who comes up with the most persuasive argument…