The 2016 annual Business Pitch Competition, sponsored by University of Richmond’s Entrepreneurship Club, the Innovation and Entrepreneurship program and the Richmond chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth, took place on April 4. Six teams competed for the top prize of $3,500. After deliberation from the panel of judges that included Bryan Bostic, founder of 2b Technology and SmartBox, John Kemper, CEO of John E. Kemper and Steve Howell, ’85, co-founder and managing director of Windward Advisors the winners were chosen.

The top prize was awarded to Jake Raboy, ’16, George Pelose, ’17, and Jimmy Heiner, ’17, for their predictive polling application Toldja. You can “bet” against friends and family by selecting the winner of athletic events, major award shows and other future live events. Once the event is complete, you can see how you did compared to everyone else. They plan on using the prize money to make their idea a reality. 

In second place, The Richmond MBA students Britt Blackwelder, GB’16, and Ryan Stuhlreyer, GB’16, took away $1,500 with their application ageNsee. In-home care is incredibly expensive, requires a long process to set-up and the quality of service is unreliable. AgeNsee helps match those looking for in-home care for the elderly with local care giving organizations. Users have the ability to select the nurse they want based on previous users ratings, the date and time they’re needed and book the session all in a few minutes. During the session, nurses can input the time arrived, notes of the visit, pictures and time of departure. The user then has the option of rating the nurse on their experience.

Third place prize of $500 was awarded to Jason Bright, ’18, and Sam Schneider, ’16, for their application LENDIT. The application’s goal is to create a trusting environment to borrow or lend items to those around you. Users can search within categories and location to find the item they’re looking for. Options for short- and long-term or future use is available. Each user can create a profile and upload items to let others borrow. They will also have a rating based on user interactions. Their plan is to start with University of Richmond then expand onto similar sized campuses.

The three additional participating teams were Oliver Parker, '17 with Balboa, Anthony Builder, '16 with Cute, and Timothy Ranney, '17 and Madison Day, '17 with PennyLess. Balboa is the brainchild of two brothers that was funded through a Kickstarter crowd-funding project last spring. Each product is stamped with a number. That number represents how many meals will be donated to Americans in need by Meals for America. Currently they sell bamboo sunglasses, bracelets, t-shirts and stickers, but are looking to expand their line. Over 3,600 meals have been donated so far.

Cute is the concept for an app that allows users to shop by swiping right for like and left for dislike. Stylists and boutiques from around the world would hand pick outfits and desired items will automatically be added to a shopping bag for review. 

PennyLess offers a solution to receiving change from a transaction. When a user pays with cash, they can opt to receive   change back on the PennyLess card. The card can be used to transfer the funds to a bank account or make a donation to a charity or an investment fund. There would be an incentive based on number of uses for the user as well as the participating store. 

Eric Martin, director of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship program, was incredibly impressed by not only the volume of applicants, but by the quality of the ideas. So much so that he increased the number of particpants this year. Throughout the 2015-2016 academic year, the Robins School has continued a theme of entrepreneurship. Having the Business Pitch Competition at the culmination of the year perfectly portrays the entrepreneurial community the Robins School hopes to foster. 

Photo from right to left: Professor Eric Martin, Jason Bright, Sam Schneider, Britt Blackwelder, Ryan Stuhlreyer, Jimmy Heiner, George Pelose, Jake Raboy, Professor Susan Cohen