This past Thursday, we hosted our annual Pitch Dingman Competition Semifinals in the Frank Auditorium of Van Munching Hall. With the recent news that University of Maryland had risen to #8 in the country in undergraduate entrepreneurship education, it was no surprise to see the room filled with attendees enthusiastically cheering for this extraordinary group of student founders.
Chaired by generous donor and UMD alumnus Robert G. Hisaoka, this year’s Pitch Dingman Competition Semifinals was preceded by an announcement for the new Hisaoka Entrepreneurs program. As part of the program, each semifinalist team will receive mentoring, coaching and additional funding to accelerate their venture toward success.
With only 4 minutes to present and 2 minutes for Q&A from judges, the 10 semifinalists all pitched their businesses admirably, but in the end, the judges chose these six exemplary startups to advance to the Finals:
BEEQBOX -Brianna Queen ’18
BEEQBOX provides vegan and cruelty-free illuminating cosmetic products with a branded feminist twist.
Dark Sonar Technologies, LLC – George Lee ’18, Simon Schlegel ’18
A cybersecurity company that prevents synthetic identity fraud on websites and mobile apps for small and medium-sized businesses.
Emprology – Sydney Parker ’18
Emprology, LLC is a digital brand consultancy and content creation shop that works to build influential personal brands for black women.
Flee – Didac Hormiga ’19
Flee is a location-based social media app that helps people find local events and entertainment.
Manta Technologies – Daniel Diazdelcastillo MS ’19
The Manta Technologies MANTA vessel efficiently eliminates water debris to save millions of sea life from water pollution.
Symbiont Health – Erich Meissner ’18, Maria Chen ’19, Kyle Liu ’20
Symbiont Health has developed wearable, automated fall detection devices for seniors.
Each finalist receives a $500 SECU Finalist Award, sponsored by SECU.
Congratulations to the remaining semifinalists on their impressive performance:
Basereach – Dan Bogachek ’18
Basereach sends personalized handwritten cards in your own handwriting to better connect with and thank your customers.
MPLEX VR – Galen Stetsyuk ’18, Stephen Walsh ’18
A virtual reality (VR) video game company creating a competitive, multiplayer game that fills a void in the market for VR game experiences.
Ötzi – Shyon Parsadoust ’19, Nick Sarfaraz ’19 – Audience Choice Prize Winner – $500
A Tinder-like platform for tattoo artists and their customers to better connect with one another before the inking process begins.
Senvision – Chris Look ’20, Sanna Madan ’20
Senvision’s algorithm performs global sentiment analysis on social media to predict stock market movement.
The semifinalists who competed but did not advance to the finals receive a $500 Hisaoka Entrepreneurs Award, provided by Robert Hisaoka.
The panel of judges assessing the semifinalists brought a valuable range of skillsets and perspectives. A round of applause for our judges:
Chief Angel, Englare
Professor, Academic Director, Center for Social Value Creation
Matt Fishlinger ’07
Founder & Executive VP, Gramercy Risk Holdings, LLC
Technology Manager, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
Ray Joyce ’17
Venture Analyst, Greenspring Associates
Director, Honors Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program (EIP)
A lot can happen on the road to Finals on March 6, 2018, and in the months that follow we expect to see tremendous growth from each of the six Finalists. Who among them has what it takes to win the $15,000 Grand Prize? Stay tuned and fined out!