Fifth Orange Tank Business Pitch Competition Presents $40,000 to Promising New Ventures

On Oct. 24, 2019, the 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 ideas. Thanks to the generous support of John Couri ’63 (A&S) and Mark ’83 and Judi ’84 (VPA) Morris, the cash prizes for the fifth annual event totaled a record $40,000.

Gene Anderson and John Torrens, standing with first place winners and a large check at the 2019 Orange Tank business pitch competition

The grand prize of $25,000 was awarded to Kelsey Davis ’19 (NEW) ’20 M.S., CEO and founder of CLLCTVE, a platform to empower the next generation of creatives by providing a space for college students to develop their portfolios, showcase their skills and increase their visibility, while providing brands with 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 (iSchool), G ’22 (LAW) took home the 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 older adult 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 of $4,000 cash 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, which provides private training, yoga and Pilates brought directly to the customer’s home.

“The Orange Tank competition is a 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, EEE department chair and associate professor. “The students’ preparation was impressive, as was their professionalism and passion for their business ideas.”

Judges included John 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.

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.

John Couri ’63 (A&S) (left) receives the Orange Entrepreneur of the Year award from Dean Gene Andreson (right).

Couri Honored as Orange Entrepreneur of the Year

During the fifth annual Orange Tank, John Couri ’63 (A&S) was honored as the Orange Entrepreneur of the Year. Couri is an accomplished entrepreneur and generous supporter of the Whitman School and Syracuse University.

A co-founder of Duty Free International Inc., he served as president and CEO from 1982 until 1993 and chairman of the board until 1994 when the company was sold to the British Airports Authority. He continued to serve as a consultant to the company until 1999.

Couri is a member the Whitman Advisory Council and former chairman and lifetime member of the Syracuse University Board of Trustees. He is the naming benefactor of Whitman’s Couri Hatchery student business incubator. In 1993, Syracuse University awarded Couri the George Arents Pioneer Medal for excellence in business.

Formerly, he was a member of the Listed Company Advisory Board of the New York Stock Exchange and the board of directors of the Datahr Rehabilitation Institute (now Abilities Beyond Disabilities), serving as chairman from 1997 to 2000. He serves on several corporate advisory and nonprofit boards and is president of the Couri Foundation Inc., the Founder Hall Foundation Inc. and the Hammond Street Senior Center Foundation Inc.

Kimmy Kimball