Semifinalists to Compete for $115K National Business Competition Chaired by Under Armour Founder and CEO
Fourteen student startups were selected from nearly 150 nationwide entries to advance to the semifinal round in the 2014 Cupid’s Cup Business Competition, presented by Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank and the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. The entrepreneurs will present on February 20 at Under Armour’s global headquarters in Baltimore, MD. The top five startups will compete for $115,000 in the final round to be held April 4 at the University of Maryland in College Park.
Semifinalists will travel from across the country to spend the day pitching their businesses and interviewing with the investors, entrepreneurship experts and Under Armour executives who will serve as judges. Plank and the judges will narrow the applicant pool to five finalists who will compete for a transformative prize package including $115,000 in total cash prizes ($75,000 for the grand prize winner), coaching from a team of successful entrepreneurs, in-kind services from leading edge companies, and the prestigious Cupid’s Cup. Plank will also grant the 2014 grand-prize winner exclusive access to a member of his professional network.
The 14 semifinalists represent 11 universities across the nation and a broad range of industries. They are:
- BaseTrace (Duke University) – a DNA-based fluid barcoding solution for tagging industrial fluids
- CHAARG [Changing Health, Attitudes, + Actions to Recreate Girls] (Ohio State University) – an organization aimed at igniting a passion in college-aged women for health and fitness
- College Student Apartments (Texas Tech University) – a service to change how college students find apartments and list subleases
- Compology (University of Maryland) – a system that tracks what’s in dumpsters to know when to pick it up and how much it’s worth to increase hauler’s margins by 50 percent
- CrowdTunes (Duke University) – a music marketplace powered from patrons’ phones offering a free, turnkey music solution to bars
- Disease Diagnostic Group (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) – a biotech company that says it can save one million lives with just refrigerator magnets and a laser pointer
- Encore (Georgetown University) – a company that synthesizes social data in actionable, bite-sized alerts for marketers at leading brands
- Golden Gear Corp. (Syracuse University) – an equipment provider for professional boxers, mixed martial artists, and muay thai fighters
- Imaginex (University of Maryland) – a tech company that develops and provides large interactive media displays for events and brands
- Kohana (The Johns Hopkins University) – maker of a new type of breast pump, The Gala Pump, that women can discreetly wear
- Million Dollar Scholar (Morehouse College) – an ed-tech social venture utilizing a web-based platform to educate high school/college students and ex-offenders on how gain scholarships and avoid student debt
- Rehabtics (The Johns Hopkins University) – a software developer using customized motion-controlled video games for physical rehabilitation
- SEG (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) – an apparel maker that connects sports fans to the game through sound
- Wheel Shields (University of Maryland)– maker of a longboard skateboarding device that improves safety, keeps riders dry, and lets skaters perform new tricks
Plank and the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, part of the Robert H. Smith School of Business, hosts the annual Cupid’s Cup as a culmination of the support it provides students to start and grow businesses. The Dingman Center provides students with opportunities to pitch their business ideas, receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs and access to funding. Cupid’s Cup was inspired by a rose delivery business Plank started as a student at the university. As a member of the football team he wasn’t permitted to have an outside job, so he turned to entrepreneurship as a way to pursue his business interests. Plank worked with the Dingman Center to create and lead a business competition to foster similar student entrepreneurship.
The competition was open to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at accredited U.S. colleges and universities or recent alumni of those institutions. Applicants had to prove they are running a legal business entity that has generated at least $5,000 in revenue or provide demonstrated proof of traction.
About Kevin Plank
As a special teams captain for the UMD Terrapins football program in 1995, Plank was tired of having to change his sweat-soaked shirts over and over again throughout his two-a-day practices. His frustration led to an inspiration for a better kind of T-shirt—one that could wick sweat and keep athletes cool, dry, and light instead of overheated, drenched, and weighed down. Upon graduating from Maryland in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Plank started to turn his idea into a reality and, as a result, began redefining the way athletes dress. After 17 years of outfitting athletes with the world’s most innovative performance apparel, footwear, and accessories, Plank now oversees a company with over 7,000 employees worldwide that reached $2.3 Billion in revenues at the end of 2013. True to his vision in 1995, Plank and Under Armour remain committed to empowering athletes everywhere.
About the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship
The Dingman Center has been at the forefront of entrepreneurship education and practice for more than 25 years. The Center’s primary activities include helping students build their ventures, creating experiential learning opportunities and providing regional entrepreneurs with access to capital. Within the region, the Center operates Dingman Center Angels, the area’s most active angel investor network with more than 40 members and 30 companies funded since 2005. More information is available at www.rhsmith.umd.edu/dingman.
About the Robert H. Smith School of Business
The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, MS in business, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.