On Oct. 24, 2019, Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management hosted the fifth annual Orange Tank business pitch competition. Student and alumni entrepreneurs pitched their ventures to a panel of accomplished judges in hopes of receiving valuable feedback and winning a cash prize to further advance their venture. Thanks to the generous support of John Couri ’63 (A&S) and Mark ’83 and Judi ’84 (VPA) Morris for their generous support of Orange Tank. This year’s cash prizes totaled a record $40,000.
The grand prize of $25,000 was awarded to Kelsey Davis ’19 (Newhouse) G’20, CEO and founder of CLLCTVE, a platform to empower the next generation of creatives by providing a space for college students to develop their portfolio, showcase their skills and increase their visibility, while providing brands exclusive access to local Gen Z consumers and Gen Z content creators.
“Our experience of traveling to NYC to compete against nine of the best student and alumni teams was everything we hoped for and more. Winning $25,000 at Orange Tank was the exact momentum we needed leading into our next phase of product development,” shares Davis. “I made the decision to attend Whitman for my master’s in entrepreneurship so that I can been surrounded by the resources and support CLLCTVE needs to launch our product, and taking home the Grand Prize from Orange Tank brings us one step closer to that goal.”
In the student category, Matt Shumer ’22 won the first-place prize of $4,000. His company, Visos, is creating a next-generation enterprise-focused VR headset and software platform with groundbreaking analytics capabilities for training, education medical applications and more.
Nick Barba ’20 and David Fox ’19 G’22 took home a second-place prize of $2,500. Their company, Modern Solutions, is a service-based organization that utilizes existing smart-home devices to create scaled ecosystems that improve the life of senior homeowners. Third place went to CBD Boys, a holistic health and wellness company, founded by Joel DeJesus ’20, Eduardo Gomez ’20 and George Rivera ’20.
The first-place prize in the alumni category with a $4,000 cash prize went to Jose Javier Garcia-Rovira ’19 and Quentin Rene Marcel Rosso ’18 of Gamercraft. Gamercraft is where passionate gamers go to achieve their collegiate, professional and personal gaming goals. The company creates a more holistic and balanced approach towards esports, creating healthier relationships around parents, children and gaming.
Second place and $2,500 in the alumni category was awarded to Daniel Fridliand ’18, CEO and founder of Awning, a mobile application designed to detect, assess and treat stress by constructing customized therapy routines using guided meditation, breathing exercise, journaling and music therapy. Joe Bach ’04 took home a $1,000 third place prize for his company BACH, a private training, yoga and Pilates brought to the customer’s home.
“The Orange Tank competition is fantastic forum for student entrepreneurs to receive thoughtful feedback on their venture pitches from accomplished entrepreneurs, not to mention critical funding needed to improve their businesses,” says Todd Moss, Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprise (EEE) department chair and associate professor. “The students’ preparation was impressive, as was their professionalism and passion for their business ideas.”
Judges included Couri, Adam Fazackerley ’96, Oriana Fuentes ’12, Greg Lettieri ’04 and Gregg Wallace ’91. The master of ceremony was John Torrens, deputy director of EEE.
This year, Couri was also awarded the Orange Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Are you interested in learning how you can get your ideas off the ground? Or do you need assistance moving your business venture to the next level? Learn more about Whitman and Syracuse University’s student entrepreneur resources: Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship and the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University.
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