The SnagTag team, (l-r) Jake Elliot, Nicholas Sando and Alex Rodriguez, all School of Engineering students, presents to the judges.
New ventures including a mobile application for shopping, a data analytics solution for hospitals to reduce heart failure readmissions, and art deco chocolates that represent South Florida’s cultural mecca have taken top honors in the University of Miami’s 2014 Business Plan Competition, hosted by the university’s School of Business Administration. The competition winners, to be honored in an awards ceremony today, took home a combined total of $65,000 in prizes.
Jake Elliot, Andrew Rodriguez and Nicholas Sando won the Grand Prize and $10,000 in the undergraduate student category for SnagTag, an application for your smartphone that enhances the retail shopping experience by connecting retailers and consumers in a way never seen before.
In the graduate student category, Matt Varghese, Cristina delToro, Sabrina Taldone, Joshua Cameron took home the Grand Prize and $10,000 for their venture, Valens, which provides a next generation data analytic solutions that allows hospitals to maximize efficiency in reducing heart failure readmissions while improving patients’ lives through better healthcare delivery systems.
And in the UM alumni category, Lucy Calamari won the Grand Prize and $10,000 for Lucky Lucy's Chocolates, inspired by the colorful flavors and cultures of South Florida. Her chocolates reflect retro and colorful designs of the city’s Art Deco movement.
“This year’s young entrepreneurs came to the competition with an extraordinary mix of great business ideas,” said Isaias Sudit, CEO and founder of TROVE and one of the Competition judges. “It is clear to this panel of judges how these winners are ready to go beyond the idea stage and truly execute.”
Second Place in the undergraduate category and $5,000 went to Paola Campodonico and Austin Zaslow for The Nest, a recovery center that accommodates prenatal and postpartum women, and post-surgical patients and offers 24/7 nannies, breastfeeding support, and other services in order to make recovery faster and easier. Second Place in the graduate category and $5,000 went to Joe Bucciero of AdMoney, a mobile phone application that places ads on the background of a smartphones or tablet lockscreens in exchange for a monthly fee. Second Place in the alumni category and $5,000 went toAlex Suma of Ibis Power, which offers customized solutions for local renewable energy generation that overcomes all downsides of current technologies. It is almost ready to enter the U.S. and European markets.
Third Place in the undergraduate category with $2,500 went to Sultan Saleh Alghamdi for Central Express Laundry, a full-service laundry business in Saudi Arabia. Third Place and $2,500 in the graduate category went to Rodolfo Hernandez for The Quiet American, a sustainable men’s luxury-yet-affordable clothing brand made of Alpaca wool; while Third Place and $2,500 in the alumni category went to Thien Van Tran for Leash, an electronic security company that provides both hardware and software solutions to remedy the rise of smartphone theft.
In addition to the undergraduate, graduate and alumni category prizes, the Paul K. Sugrue Entrepreneurial Spirit Award and $2,500 was presented to Sidonia Swarm of On Demand Dietician, a way to streamline access to dieticians for corporate employees. Also, four Heffner Internship Awards of $2,500 each were awarded to Maxim Bjelos, Alex Cantwell, Joey Lopez, and Kenthia Farmer.
Now in its 12th year and open to all UM students and alumni, the Business Plan Competition started last fall when 42 concept papers were submitted to the judging committee. Ultimately 16 semifinalists were selected to present to the judges April 1-3, with the winners announced Friday. The judges included roughly one dozen successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists from South Florida and Latin America.
Lucy Calamari, who won the Grand Prize in the alumni category for Lucky Lucy’s Chocolates, presents to the judges.
Posted April 4, 2014