During the Orange Tank competition, current Whitman students and alumni entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges in the hopes of winning cash prizes. The first-place presenter in the alumni and student categories were awarded $5,000. Second-place presenters in each category received $2,000 and $1,000 was given to the third-place winners.
“We were delighted to have a record number of applicants for this year,” said Alex Mckelvie, department chair and an associate professor in the department of entrepreneurship & emerging enterprises at the Whitman School. “We’re so very proud of the efforts of our student and alumni entrepreneurs. This Orange Tank event, made possible through the financial support of our alumni, truly helps them take the next steps in pursuing their dreams.”
This year, Tamara Seredneva ’19 MBA won first-place in the student category for her learning vacation business, Devtrips. Giorgio Parlato ’18 MBA and Thuy Nguyen ’18 MBA placed second for Miruku, a peanut milk manufacturing business. Nikolay Rodionov ’15 (ECS), ‘18 MBA came in third for his business venture, Apollo Biomedical, which designs and develops wearable technology for collecting outpatient bio-medical data.
“It was exciting to pitch in front of an experienced panel of judges and the audience,” shared Serednova. “It was also beneficial to network with fellow entrepreneurs and Whitman alumni, students, staff and faculty during the reception. The prize money will go toward the development of the business website. I appreciate this incredible opportunity for Whitman students made possible by the generous alumni sponsors.”
In the alumni category, Daniel Brenner ’16 and Alec Ellin ’16 (Newhouse) were awarded first-place for their business Laylo, a fantasy-sports style business that allows users to compete to find and spread music around the world. Logan Bonney ’17 M.S.E and Brittany Berry ’18 (VPA), placed second for their business Anything But Beer, a New York farm brewery that manufactures and markets craft beverages for consumers who are gluten sensitive. DraftingSleepers.com, a social network for fantasy sports pitched by Thomas Berman ’10, received third-place.
This year’s panel of judges included:
- Daniel Folkman ’12, vice president of business development for goPuff, an on-demand convenience store delivery service
- Lisa Fontenelli ’86 (Whitman/Newhouse), former deputy head of Global Investment Research and head of Securities Research for Goldman Sachs
- Karen Livingston ’12 MBA, co-founder of Divine Renewable Energy, a solar photovoltaic system design and installation firm and advisor at the Onondaga Small Business Development Center
- Jared Hutter ’06, founder of Aptitude Development, a real estate investment and development firm headquartered in New Jersey
- Michael Gursha ’10, chairman and CEO of Rookie Road Inc., a sports media and technology company.
Mike Smith ’12 ’13 M.S.E, an entrepreneur and advisor, served as the master of ceremony.
Orange Tank was sponsored by generous gifts from Mark ’83 and Judi ’84 (VPA) Morris and Andrew Greenberg ’85 (VPA).