Pitch Dingman Competition 2023 received over 100 student applications and 65 venture applications, all vying for a piece of over $100,000 in prizes. Our panel of judges was able to narrow down our wide range of applicants to reveal the top 5 teams that will be advancing in the Main Street Track, Quattrone Venture Track, and Idea Track for the 2023 competition. The founders of these teams will each receive a $500 prize, participate in workshops, and meet with advisors in the coming weeks to help them further accelerate their businesses and make them more competitive for the upcoming Round 3 of the competition. On Friday, March 31 our 15 remaining teams will pitch their businesses to an expert panel of judges in Van Munching Hall. We’re excited to see who wins the opportunity to pitch on the big stage at our finals event on April 18 at Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center, for a shot at our grand prize of $30,000!
Read on to learn more about the ventures that will be advancing in our competition:
TOP 5 Main Street Track Semifinalists:
Around the Block – Gabrielle McLaughlin ’23, Joelle Anselmo ’23
Around the Block is an apparel company that invokes nostalgia and camaraderie in the university community through our one-of-a-kind designs. The company prioritizes sustainable processes and philanthropic initiatives in everything we do.
NotUrAverage Candles – Courtney Johnson ’23
We are NotUrAverage Candles (pronounced “Not Your Average” Candles), a coconut wax candle company that illuminates the world to science through fragrance.
Rent My Closet – Ariyan Khana ’23, Arvyn Garchitorena ’23, Jamil Mailk ’23
Rent My Closet is focused on creating a peer-to-peer network for students on campus where items can be rented out for various occasions at an affordable price. The purpose of our venture is to tackle fast-fashion head on, provide students with an opportunity to earn extra income, and create a sense of community for students on campus through our network.
Room 242 – Kang Ewimbi ’24
Room 242 is an independent artist services company designed for college musicians. From living space and record label services to intuitive artist data and events, we provide not only a pathway to the career every new artist wants but the creative community every artist needs.
UMD Thrift – (Ethan) An Pham ’24
UMD Thrift is a student-run premium second-hand clothing business. We aim to bring a sustainable alternative to fast fashion to students at the University of Maryland.
TOP 5 Quattrone Venture Track Semifinalists:
Lingo AI – Pranav Shikarpur ’23, Ian Costello ’22
Lingo AI is an AI-powered multilingual content tool designed to help content creators launch language-specific channels with no extra work/cost to the creator. This helps content creators reach untapped global audiences on platforms like YouTube, Snapchat, and Tiktok.
SkinSwap – Andrew Pomeroy ’24
SkinSwap allows gamers to trade, sell, and buy virtual game items (“skins”) for the games Counter-Strike: Global Offense (CS:GO) and Rust. SkinSwap enables users to do so easily using a complex pricing algorithm to evaluate the prices of user “skins” and an intuitive interface with 24/7 live support.
Sustainabli – Kevin Tu ’23, Telon Yan ’23, Oliver D’Esposito ’26
Sustainabli provides avenues for research institutions to reach sustainability goals by making labs greener.
Victuals Life Sciences Pvt Ltd – Sourabh Mane ’23, Vrushali Deshpande
We ensure mother & child nutrition during and after pregnancy using user-centered tracking, training & management interventions. We aim to ensure that the right nutrition reaches the right stakeholder at the right time in the right quality & with the right nutritional potency.
WISE Cities – Marie Brodsky ’24, Katherine-Aria Close ’23, Victoria Chai ’25, Sonia Warrior
WISE Cities is a women-run startup creating accessible technology for seniors experiencing social isolation to connect with their communities. Our platform allows seniors to easily discover local groups and resources and gives community centers, city departments, and businesses the opportunity to share their services with this typically hard-to-reach audience.
TOP 5 Idea Track Finalists:
Kaalmi – Matthew Foulk ’23, Paige Alban ’24
Creates a tangible solution to help those struggling with anxiety and panic disorder by helping them reconnect with their five senses.
Spray – Connor Hartzog ’23, Mari Ortega ’24, Jason Fotso-Puepi ’23, Ajitesh Kaladi ’25
Spray is an augmented reality (AR) street art application that allows people, such as artists and creatives, to compose murals on real-world physical surfaces. Spray will provide users the tools to beautify their world through immersive art.
Stylversity – Seun Sule ’23, Ezi Nwodim ’23
Stylversity is an app that serves to bridge the gap for college students seeking beauty services on campus in order to optimize their college experience while building connections and community.
Tessen – Celine Liptrot ’24, Kilian Liptrot ’23
Tessen designs and produces protective covers for large, high-quality lenses in the photography, scope, drone payload, and optical sight markets. Using a new, innovative, and patent-pending iris design, Tessen’s “Lens Blade” product allows anyone to use their large-high-quality glass optics in the field without having to ever remove their lens caps from their device.
Travsy – Joyce Tijani ’22, Dami Adigun ’23
Travsy is a platform that connects travel agents and travelers to book full vacation packages including accommodation, flights, activities, and transportation. We help busy and technologically challenged customers with disposable incomes travel by removing the pain points of the process such as the hard-to-navigate booking of activities and transportation.
The following quarterfinalist ventures will not be advancing in the competition, but we would like to honor the great business ideas and future potential these students have shown:
TOP 12 Main Street Track Quarterfinalists:
Exercise Network – Candace Austin ’23
Physical activity among kids is declining. Exercise Network seeks to combat this problem by designing fitness and aquatics programs that encourage kids to live life healthier.
Herbin’s Fashion – Herbert Obeng ’24, Philip Nyameasem
We sell customized clothes and accessories made in Africa. The goal is to promote the heritage and style of African culture.
Lucid Productions – Griffin Shirodkar ’23, Jason Goldman ’23, Mervyn Akumbu
We are an event planning venture that serves clubs on campus, local music groups, and UMD College students at large.
Old Town, New Clothes – Brian Spinner ’23
Old Town, New Clothes is a fully sustainable clothing brand aimed to capitalize on the rise in popularity of second-hand clothing while combating the rise in popularity of fast fashion.
S&A ToysWorld – Abdurahman Muhammad ’22
S&A ToysWorld buys hobby-grade remote-controlled toys from the manufacturer and disassembles them into parts and then separates the parts into groups and sells them on an e-commerce site. Its target audience is the RC hobbyist community in different locations around the globe.
Topflight Wellness – Timothy Hunter ’23
Topflight is wellness coaching and physical training to assist others in making long-term lifestyle changes promoting health and fitness for people of all ages who want to get better but need help. Beyond Topflight’s physical training and nutrition services, a significant aspect is creating and enhancing a person’s self-concept by revealing their strengths, talent, and hangups and figuring out how to overcome them.
Slut for yarn – Anna Boyd ’24
My venture aims to create more size inclusivity in the crochet community and to empower people to wear what they want and be confident in that. I also am changing the connotation of the word slut and taking the power from people who use this word as an insult by using it to show confidence and power.
TOP 12 Quattrone Venture Track Quarterfinalists:
FRICK – Fady Yanni ’23, Dhruv Srinivasan ’25
FRICK is dedicated to serving drivers, who often face the challenges of expired parking tickets, towed vehicles, window-smash-ins, and confusing in-street parking regulations. Our solution offers a Smart Dashcam that not only records driving footage but also prevents expired parking tickets, notifies you if you’ve been towed, glass-breakage alerts, and information on on-street parking restrictions.
Frontground – Kenneth Yeaher Jr. ’24, Kenneth Yeaher Sr.
For medical facilities in Africa still using manual paper systems, Frontground provides secure software solutions that will effectively organize, manage, and analyze medical records. Unlike Epic Systems and other US vendors, Frontground provides tailored and personalized solutions that fit the needs of facilities in developing nations and emerging markets.
Kestrel – Kamal Narra ’25, Bobby George ’26
Kestrel builds alternative credit scores for the world’s 500 million smallholder farmers.
Pet Passport – Dorian Stephens ’23, Dorian Stephens ’23, Alex Sonnie ’22, Shahriar Jahanbani ’22, Ogugua Obii-Obioha ’23, Musangu Bukasa ’23
Pet Passport is an online platform that allows vets, kennels, and pet owners to instantly transfer pet health records, track behavioral analytics, and essential onboarding information.
Our online network allows pet owners to track their pet’s vaccination status, virtually request veterinarian-certified health records, and instantly transfer health records to a kenneling facility when booking a stay.
UCleaner – Robert Choe ’23, Blake Kuzemchak ’23
The UCleaner device is the first all-in-one auto-flosser that caters specifically to adult dental implant and prosthetics patients. This comprehensive full-mouth oral hygiene device utilizes fluid mechanics to clean around your braces in less than 30 seconds.
Visionergy, LLC – Terry Goolsby ’25, Rachel Berley ’23, Medha Tumkur ’23, Emmanuel George ’24, David Bigio
Visionergy, LLC is a woman-owned, UMD student-owned business exploiting 64% of waste in the energy system. It provides energy consulting and energy educational services for small businesses.
ARCH DASH – Ina Kovacheva ’25, Brian Godsey
We enable architects to make data-driven decisions that will result in healthier, more efficient, and sustainable buildings.
TOP 12 Idea Track Quarterfinalists:
CloShare – Vina Chen ’25, Arieh Geller 25, Emily F. De Oliveira ’25
Our venture was created as an aid to assist individuals with their personal fashion concerns. Aimed at teenagers and young adults, our proposal can actually be used by anyone. A free-to-download app on the App Store, CloShare. We aim to create a virtual closet app that allows users to view their entire closet at a glance and create outfits easily. Additionally, a shareability feature allows them to share their entire closet with close friends to trade pieces and get input on their outfits.
Pills – Neelesh Mupparapu ’22, Neha Mupparapu ’25
Our venture aims to help patients organize as well as keep track of their prescription medications and enables improved compliance/adherence through the use of both an app as well as a “smart”-pill-bottle. We seek to provide adults in the US, and globally, with a new and more cost-effective way to manage their prescriptions by integrating with the FDA drug databases as well as health-record platforms such as MyChart.
Poolers – Ningxi Yan ’24
This venture is based on a carpool app, that let people able to carpool together. Specifically targeting young people (college level) to carpool together, distance range from grocery runs (right off-campus) to long-distance trips (end of semester out-of-state moving), and also event-based transporting (cooperating with event hosters). We aim to create a green, environmentally friendly transportation solution for everybody that wants to participate.
SeptSeven – Khali Williams ’22, Myia Elum ’23, Khali Williams ’22
SeptSeven is a multimedia collective that will optimize emerging vocal artists’ efforts to monetize original works, sustain ownership, and engage their community by providing record label services without signing long-term record contracts. Our services proposed to benefit artists most include audio production tools, marketing and promotion, event booking, and merchandising.
Serenitea – Keva Singhal ’24, Anna Phung ’23, Bryan Zhang ’24
Serenitea presents an integrated approach to creating an environment that combines somatic movement with traditional tea. Our hope is to engage customers in a yogic lifestyle by participating in not only somatic movement, but also taking into account health, wellness, and way of life.
Yong Kang Tea – Alexa Yang ’25, Emily Hai ’25
YK Tea is a B2C(DTC) e-commerce venture that sells a curated selection of premium loose-leaf Chinese tea. We aim to take advantage of the growing market for tea consumption to become the leading premium Chinese tea brand in the US.
Journy – Mildred Diggs ’24
Many minorities and immigrants from non-European backgrounds have difficulty finding a wellness program that works, especially a nutritional plan, because most do not include the food they eat daily. Hence, I am starting Journy, a culturally inclusive wellness app that provides content, coaching, community, and tools to help individuals eat healthily and reduce stress.