A Preview of the Cupid’s Cup Startup Showcase

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Cupid’s Cup is tomorrow, and we’re all excited to watch UMD and Terp Startup alum Javazen compete for the prize of $100,000. But before the main event starts at 4 p.m., there is a wonderful opportunity to see some rising stars of the UMD startup community at the Cupid’s Cup Showcase at 2 p.m. Who knows, one day they may be competing in Cupid’s Cup themselves. Here’s a sneak peek of the impressive startups and their founders you can expect to see there:

WeCook – Ryan Pillai

Ever wish you could have someone around to cook your meals for you, but don’t have the money to hire a full-time personal chef? WeCook’s affordable, professional chefs come to your door with all of the required groceries and cooking utensils they need to not only prepare up to a week’s worth of food, but also package it for future consumption. At the Pitch Dingman Competition this past February, Ryan Pillai’s pitch won over the judges and earned him the grand prize of $15,000 in funding. Read our profile on WeCook here.

VentureStorm – Tommy Johnson, Taylor Johnson, Tyler Denk

One thing we see a lot of at the Dingman Center is students who have a great idea for a mobile app, but need a developer to make it a reality. VentureStorm fills this exact niche with an online platform that helps pair talented student entrepreneurs with student developers on their campus. Another finalist in the Pitch Dingman Competition, VentureStorm is growing at an exciting rate. Read our past coverage on VentureStorm when they took Terp Startup with us last summer.

uBoard – Natalie Urban

uBoard’s customized dorm headboard business began when Natalie was just a freshman. She was looking to give her dorm room some added style, and created the first uBoard prototype. uBoard fever quickly spread in her dorm, and that summer she used the idea to win a competition at a PricewaterhouseCoopers retreat. Fast forward to Pitch Dingman Competition, where she earned the Audience Choice prize from a crowd filled with uBoard devotees. Learn more about Natalie’s journey here.

Startup Shell – Chris Szeluga

Startup Shell began in 2012 when a few students decided to clear out a storage room on campus to work on their projects. The Shell organically grew from this group of friends to a space where entrepreneurs and hackers from across campus came to build their ventures. Fast forward to 2015, and we have 100+ current members and 50+ alumni with over 60 startups that have passed through the space.

Route One Ventures – Dan Stern, Andrew Wills

Route One Ventures is a student-run venture fund that helps UMD student and alumni entrepreneurs get the funding, resources, and mentorship they need to build amazing businesses. After a successful launch party just last week, we are excited to see the impact their team will have on UMD’s booming startup community.

Spot This –  Sumanth Jinagouda

Sometimes when we’re complimenting someone’s clothes, what we’re really thinking is, “Where can I get that!” Spot This has the answer: upload a photo of an outfit to Spot This and its image processing technology will match you up with similar items on retailer websites. The fashion community is already catching on to its appeal.

Nonich – Damar Bess Jr, Henry Blanco

Nonich’s bold contemporary menswear line launched this year, but demand for their clothing was so high that they’re currently sold out on their website. The Nonich team was recently accepted into our Terp Startup incubator program, where they will be able to devote an entire summer to expanding their business. Read all about them in their feature in The Diamondback.

Meta Cartel – Jordan Greenwald

Another Diamondback featured Terp fashion startup and Terp Startup alum, Jordan Greenwald’s vision for Meta Cartel began while on a study abroad trip in Spain. Inspired by the art and street culture there, he created a progressive streetwear brand featuring a dazzling line of limited-edition hats. His company has also introduced original artwork into its brand.

CardBuddy – Sam Feldman

A serial entrepreneur and two time competitor in the Pitch Dingman Competition, Sam Feldman noticed people using a variety of cheap plastic stick-on phone wallets, but saw a potential market for high-quality leather versions. As of this Diamondback article, he was receiving about 200 CardBuddy Deluxe orders a week, and his business continues to thrive.

Cocoa Queens – Alexis Carson, Nadia Laniyan

If you’re interested in social enterprises, you must check out Cocoa Queens. The packaging for their line of hair extensions promotes breast cancer awareness to their market of African American women, who die of breast cancer at disproportionately high rates due to lack of access to health resources and education. As competitors in the ventures track of the Do Good Challenge, they were standouts at the Do Good Ventures Showcase, winning a golden ticket to the semifinals.


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