Wednesday, November 3, 2010

5th Annual Elevator Pitch Competition begins, part of the Duke Startup Challenge Elevator Pitch Competition

The 5th Annual Elevator Pitch Competition, hosted by the Duke Start-Up Challenge commenced with an eventful round of pitches from the Women-led startups track and the Social Enterprises track. Hosted by Meghan Gallagher (Fuqua ’11) and Jonathan Lee (Fuqua '11) at the Fuqua School of Business, 20 student teams pitched their startup ideas to mark the first day of competition among aspiring entrepreneurs throughout Duke University.

Summary of the Competition:
The 2010-2011 Duke Startup Challenge Elevator Pitch Competition begins with student entrepreneurs divided among 8 different qualifying tracks, competing in front of a live audience and a live panel of experienced judges. Each team has exactly one minute to pitch their business idea before the judges, and receive one question from the judges. At the conclusion of each qualifying track event, 2 Finalist teams are be selected to compete at the Elevator Pitch Finals with Greylock Partners on November 12th, 2010, hosted in Geneen Auditorium at the Fuqua School of Business, where they will be able to compete for a cash prize of $5000, selected by the judges, and an audience choice prize of $1500, selected via text-messaging.

More information can be found at:

Summary of the Women-Led Start-ups Track
Tonight marked the commencement of the Women-Led Start-ups Track, the second year of this track, meant to encourage women from across campus to be entrepreneurial. It was a strong showing. Teams were led by students from across Duke University and featured pitches by:
-Complete Makeover
-Bubble Tea Factory
-Pure Salon
-Street Snacks
-Asteria Propulsion
-Innovation Education International
-The Morph Purse
-K Kane
Our judges were Sarah Kate Fishback '09, Liliana Valle '09, and Nancy Zeleniak.

The Winners:
While the judges deliberated over their choice of a winner, host Meghan Gallagher directed the audience to the secure text-message voting system to determine the Audience Choice Award.

From the judges, the runner-up of the Women-led Start-up Track was Street Snacks and the overall winner was DreamPl8. And, after the audience's text-messaging votes were tallied, the winner of the Audience Choice Award was Bubble Tea Factory.

Both dreamPl8 and Bubble Tea Factory will advance to the Elevator Pitch Finals on November 12th with Greylock Partners.

dreamPL8 is an online food review website dedicated to helping consumers with diverse foodstyles find food vendors that can meet their needs and wants in their own community.

Bubble Tea Factory's goal is "Introducing Bubble Tea to the Netherlands: A fun, exotic and classic Taiwanese drink"

K Kane is a fine jewelry line whose pieces are as unique as the individuals who wear them. Dissatisfied with the monogram jewelry on the market several years ago, founder Kate Kane designed and handcrafted a pendant featuring her initials. When friends and strangers repeatedly asked for similar pieces, Kate realized that she was on to something. The economic downturn has caused consumers to be significantly more mindful of their discretionary investments, which has translated into more considered purchasing and gifting with a mind towards timelessness, quality and emotional significance. The unifying factor behind K Kane designs is personalization. While K Kane “signature pendants” currently allow Kate to grow her business on a highly customized level requiring very little start-up capital, the next step is “jeweled poetry,” a jewelry play on Magnetic Poetry that allows customers to build phrases of significance to them out of golden words – eventually available in several languages and fonts – and add these words to sophisticated chains and bracelets.

Pictures of tonight's event can be found here:

-Written by Trevor Scott, edited by Howie Rhee

Summary of the Social Enterprises Track

Tonight we had 8 great pitches in Social Enterprises Track

Our judges were:
- Bill Stevenson ‘96, Formerly Director of Social Investments at Lenovo
- Al Huntoon, Founder and CEO, Catalyst Consulting Services
- Keith Artin ‘99, COO of TROSA

The Winners:
Advancing to the finals event are WETOA the judges choice and TheRushie the audience choice.
Scribblit was selected as the judges runner-up.

WETOA stands for Women's Empowerment Through Outdoor Adventure and is provides women aged 30 to 60 with the opportunity to adventure in the outdoors and revitalize their mental and physical potential.

TheRushie is a "Social Network and Magazine for young Christian women

Scribblit is a textual (with optional integration of picture/sound/video within text) media-sharing website where users can read, create, and share original content for free.

A big thank you to all of our judges and competitors!

Don't forget to come to the Elevator Pitch Finals with special guest speaker David Thacker '97, of Greylock Partners, one of the top venture capital firms in the world. Investors in Facebook, LinkedIn, Pandora, etc... on Friday, Nov 12 @ Fuqua, Geneen Auditorium, 5:30pm Networking Event, 7:30pm Finals

Free vuvuzelas for everyone in attendance.

See for more details.

Pictures of tonight's event can be found here:

- Written by Tim Canavan '12


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