The 2012 Business Pitch Competition brought forth ideas of self-heating coffee mugs, a battery-packed iPhone case, an on-the-go workout solution, a social dining smart phone application, and a new crowd-funding website.

Five student teams presented original business plans to a panel of 11 judges made up of local business men and women. The first place team won a $3,500 prize provided by the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG), the competition’s sponsor. The second-place team received a $1,000 prize and third place took home $500.

Twenty-seven teams participated in Round I pitches, with only five advancing on to the finals. The presentations consisted of explanations of how each team’s project worked, differentials from their competitors, analysis of their market, financial projections, and identification of a management team.

Seniors Kailey Raymond and Geoff Weathersby presented their business proposal for “In Lieu,” a crowd-funding site similar to one that Weathersby had used to raise the $20,000 for a scholarship fund in his father’s name, who had passed away from throat cancer. What would set their company apart from other crowd-funding sites would be creating a non-profit company that would be used for special events such as birthdays, graduations or weddings.

A customer would submit a proposal for their personalized page on the In Lieu website with an event, a fundraising goal, and a time limit. After getting approval from the In Lieu team, the customer would be sent a link to their page and launch their campaign.

Judges were impressed by the team’s presentation skills, straight-forward answers, and research. In the end, it was their conviction and passion for their business that set them apart from any other group, according to the judges.

In second place were seniors Matt Sobel, Mike Shrum and Chris Rigoli. The trio created a plan for “UR Menu,” a $0.99 social dining application for smart phones. The team marketed to the more than 12 million students enrolled at four-year universities in the United States. Although the team projected a $160,150 loss in the first year of their company, they projected $1.8 million in revenues in year three. They cited Instagram, a photography application that was recently bought by Facebook for $1 billion as an example of how an application like theirs can grow. 

UR Menu would be the first company to integrate a social aspect with a menu aspect at both on-campus and off-campus locations. Users (who would each have their own personalized profile with the company) could create contact lists to invite others to meet at a dining location.

The judges said the group’s marriage of college-aged individuals with social media was perfect. They were impressed with their research, strong presentation materials and overall presentation skills.

Richmond Senior Matthew Woolley and his partner Anthony Rinaldi, a senior at the University of Pittsburg, came in third with their idea, “Fast Fit.” 

Fast Fit is an exercise product, which consists of six resistant bands to attach to an office chair. The partners presented 11 exercises to be done while seated in an office chair, saying that when schedules fill up, people must sacrifice time (and that usually means a workout). The team’s low price of $19.99 and different angle on a simple idea is what the judges said caught their eye the most.