Hamilton students and alumni took the opportunity to put their business ideas and proposals to the test through the annual Hamilton College Pitch Competition held during Volunteer Weekend, April 5-7.
Theodore Clements ’14 took home the top prize this year with “StorageLink,”a person-to-person storage space. Clements received $2500 in cash, coaching services from Michael Fawcett and Hedy Foreman, and $5000 in legal services from Prithvi Tanwar (Foley Hoag LLP). Second place went to the team of Michael Nelson ’16, Farzad Khosravi ’16, Matias Wolansky ’16 and Noah Lowenthal ’16 who created Campus Scene, a new social networking app that provides aggregation of the campus social network and can be personalized. They’ll receive a year of coaching services from Mark Kasdorf ’06 (Intrepid, Timbre), and legal coaching services from Prithvi Tanwar.
Samantha Sherman ’15 won third place for her automated divot repair equipment and received an iPad; and Trang Nguyen ’14 and Ujjwal Pradhan ’15 pitched a food delivery service for students on campus and won 4th place and an iPad mini.
Branded this year as “PitchComp 3.0”, the annual pitch competition originated as the brainchild of Kasdorf. In just three years, PitchComp has rapidly grown to become one of Hamilton’s most well-attended workshops. This year, PitchComp attracted 21 teams vying for $10,000 worth of prizes that were awarded by a panel of judges to the strongest ideas and the best presenters.
Pitchcomp is a valuable asset to the Hamilton community as it goes beyond just handing out prizes for good business ideas. Instead, it engages participants with a more holistic approach to getting entrepreneurial ideas off the ground. For example, the panel of judges not only made themselves available during the final round of presentations to award prizes, they also devoted a great deal of time over the weekend to running mentoring sessions for those competing.
Throughout the day on Friday, the atrium of Kirner-Johnson came alive with small-group discussions as competitors and judges sat down to bounce ideas off one another and trade advice. The value in these mentoring sessions is that it not only strengthens participants’ presentations for the pitch competition at Hamilton, it also instills skills and strategies that will serve participants well in the future.
The judges for this year’s competition included Kasdorf, CEO of Burning Hollow and Intrepid; Michael Fawcett ’66 and Hedy Foreman of Meacham Woodfield; David Bisceglia of The Tap Lab, Prithvi Tanwar of Foley Hoag, and Aude-Olivia Dufour, CEO of Invup.
After a weekend of honing presentations, four finalist teams were selected to make a final pitch on Sunday for the main prizes. The judges based their decisions upon concept, financial plans, management and presentation style. Ultimately, the judges awarded a prize to each of the four finalist teams.
Due to its continued growth and success, one can expect the Pitch Competition will be back again next year. Hamilton students and graduates of the last decade are encouraged to stay tuned for details and start thinking about their future entrepreneurial plans.