Each year the CSUF Business Plan Competition seems to get bigger and better and 2014 was no different (Although the 2013 and 2012 Finals were awesome as well). In addition to three great teams presenting, more on them later, we had an engaged audience comprised of students, faculty, staff and friends of the University.
The setup for this event was pretty straightforward, each team had:
- Five minutes to setup
- Fifteen minutes to present
- Ten minutes to answer questions from the judges
The first team to present was Cordomi Rentals. Founded by Quinn Royston, Cordomi Rentals will help pet owners find rental homes or apartments based on their pet policy, i.e. some place will accept small dogs but not larger ones. To do this, Cordomi will provide an easy to use website that displays pet-friendly rental listings and allows users to filter by type of pet policy (i.e. breed and weight restrictions).
Next up was White Light Medical. Comprised of students from Cal State Fullerton (Andre Conde) and Johns Hopkins University (Luis Herrera and Anvesh Annadanam), White Light Medical is a startup medical device firm that is developing a low-cost, smarter pedicle probe, AccuSpine, for the accurate placement of screws in spinal fusion surgeries. Basically, the intent here is to reduce breach rates during surgery, operating room time and radiation exposure.
The last team to present was Eagle Eye Engineering. This team featured five CSUF Engineering students, including: Jordan Tran, Rohullah Latif, Nick Hymer, Sean Morgan and Joseph Shamblin. This team has developed a training system for archers that emulates the physical action and form required to shoot outdoor target distances within the confines of an indoor range. This system helps archers develop the proper muscle memory for competitors.
As you can see, these were some heady ideas and what was really exciting for us was the fact that the Finals alone included five students who are Engineering Majors and another two students from another university! Fortunately for us, we had an All Star panel of judges for this event. The judges included:
Last year’s CSUF Business Plan Competition winner, John Chi, was one of the judges. He continues to grow Synova Life Sciences and is actively pursuing investments at this moment.
Shawn Way, the 2012 CSUF Business Plan winner for his idea Tank Skinz, who is currently the Senior Mortgage Banker for loanDepot and the manager of 16 residential units.
Molly Schmid, Ph.D. was also one of the judges. Her resume is filled with patents, teaching at Princeton and Claremont Universities, raising over $100MM in capital and so much more.
Peter Meyers has been a commercial banker for over 30 years and is currently the First VP and Senior Relationship Manager at Farmers & Merchants Bank, specializing in real estate.
Andrew Carroll is the General Manager of NCH Tax & Wealth Advisors, a CSUF alumni and a CPA. Andrew specializes in helping business owners manage and exit their businesses.
Michael Sawitz is an adjunct professor at CSUF where he teaches Lean Startup Strategies. Plus, he founded FastStart.studios and has held many leadership positions in his career.
Once all of the presentations concluded the judges were cloistered in another room while awards were presented in the main hall. The biggest award, first prize in the Ed Huizinga Innovative Idea Award, to a non-Finalist went to BliviO Technologies for their concept that brings noise cancelling technology to outdoor events. Teams finishing in the Top 10 all received a prize package from LegalZoom.
Meanwhile, the judges had to make the agonizing decision of where all the Finalists finished in the Top 3 (1st Place to receive $3,000 + in-kind services, 2nd Place to receive $1,000 + in-kind services and 3rd Place to receive $500 + in-kind services). Taking up more than there allotted amount of time the judges were finally able to agree on the final ranking for the teams.
First place in the 2014 CSUF Business Plan Competition went to White Light Medical. Second place went to Eagle Eye Engineering and third place went to Cordomi Rentals.
Congratulations to all of the contestants! This year was a very strong year in terms of competitiveness and we thank you all for making this competition so good. This was a very exciting event and we should have video of this event to post soon. If you are going to be a student for the Spring 2015 semester please keep tabs on what we are doing so that you won’t miss any info on the competition!