Tag Archives: Pitch

Meet the 5 Startups Competing in Friday’s Pitch Dingman Competition

The last Pitch Dingman Competition of the school year will take place this Friday, May 3 at 11 a.m. in Tyser Auditorium, Van Munching Hall.  Five ambitious student startups from the University of Maryland will compete for the chance to win $2,500 in startup funding. After the pitches, attendees will vote to award their favorite startup $500 for the Audience Choice Award. After the competition, students can stay for an entrepreneurial mixer where we will celebrate another successful year of Pitch Dingman. Lunch will be provided!  You can RSVP to attend Pitch Dingman here.

To get you ready for Friday, here’s a little preview of our finalists:

Cart Noodlescart noodles logoTeam: Hon laam Fung

Our mission is to provide affordable and authentic Hong Kong styled cuisine served in a fast and convenient manner tailored towards college students. With all ingredients ready and cooked, customers only need to specify what they want in their order, and the time they spend waiting is however long it takes to move through line. In less than three minutes, the transaction is complete and the consumers enjoy gourmet soup noodles with a price lower than anywhere on campus.

Sweet Buds

Team: David Kravitz, Ningwei Li, Allan Nicholas, Peter Weng and Erica Yingling

Imagine a future where all you have to do to smell great is put on your earrings. Sweet Buds allows for a functional and worry free way to smell great throughout the day. Our innovative idea revolutionizes the way you wear perfume by conveniently placing it in your earring backing. The perfume releases when our customer puts on the earring and punctures the plastic backing. The perfume then diffuses slowly from the opening allowing the user to smell great all day. This will change the way people wear perfume.

Ethan Grundleger, Mohammad Zia, Hafie Yillah and Saheed Badmus

BOVER is an E-commerce platform that connects small-scale farmers with large scale retailers. Our system uses SMS technology paired with a web-based marketplace to enable small scale and low yielding farmers to aggregate their yields, and sell at a fair market price to small and large buyers. The mobile application and website will work in tandem to streamline agricultural value chains around the world. The project’s innovation lies in its ability to move the agriculture value chain towards the 21st Century by increasing transparency and promoting modernization


Team: Mark Olcott, Kalpesh Raval, Aman Sharma, Greg Rea and Kristina Bailey

As a practicing veterinarian, I can say with complete confidence that the way we share medical information in the pet industry is broken and outdated. At Vitus, we will use modern IT to create innovative, web-based personal health records for pets that will help veterinarians grow their practice, improve hospital efficiency, and save lives.


Terpeture logo NEWTeam:
Johnny Dubbaneh, Ronnie Dubbaneh, Danny Dubbaneh, Alacendro Paratore and Shahzad

Terpiture is a furniture rental business created to help make the move-in and move-out process smooth for both students and their parents. Having Terpiture on campus will be an asset exclusive to the Maryland community, making students’ time here more enjoyable.The great thing about Terpiture is that it’s very simple and easily accessible. It will be available via social networking, texting, and email, which will make the students’ experience even more personal than having to deal with a large corporation.

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Smith MBA Wins 8th Annual China Business Plan Competition!

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In January, 18 MBA students from the University of Maryland headed across the pacific to Beijing to compete in the 8th Annual China Business Plan Competition. This annual event, co-hosted by the Robert H. Smith School of Business and the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University, brought together entrepreneurial students from the United States, China and Israel, to see who can deliver the best pitch for their innovative business idea that leverages Chinese resources.  The Smith teams made a strong showing, with three teams making it to the final round of competition, and one Smith team taking the grand prize! We caught up with Yuan He, apart-time MBA student and sole team member of the winning team, Honeymoon Honey, to get his thoughts on the competition and the trip:

Q. Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Yuan (pronounced “one”). I am currently pursuing both an MBA and an MS in Finance at the Smith School. At Smith, I serve on the boards for Net Impact and Finance Association as well as participate in the Global Equity Fund as a managing member.  I also hold a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Outside of school, I run my own company called HY Financial, LLC, as an independent registered investment advisor helping individuals reaching their financial goals. I also hold a position at the Defense Information Systems Agency, working in acquisition and system engineering.

Q. What was the business idea that you pitched and how did you come up with the idea?

The company that I pitched at the competition is called Honeymoon Honey. Basically, the honeybee population has plummeted since the 1950’s and it has become more and more challenging for farmers to pollinate their crops. In some countries, farmers have even resorted to pollinating their crops by hand. At Honeymoon Honey, we rent honeybee hives to these farmers to help them increase crop production while reducing the amount of manual labor needed. We then take the honey produced by the rented beehives and make them into high quality cosmetic products.

I got the idea from my friend Andy, who was also the very first friend I made in the U.S. some 20 years ago. His wife’s family had long been making honey based products as a hobby and would occasionally sell their products at the local farmer’s market. Andy saw the business potential in honey products and came to me in 2011 with the idea that eventually became Honeymoon Honey.  We have been working on the business ever since.

Q. How was your experience at the China Business Plan Competition?

It was an awesome experience! The advice and feedback from Prof. Bob Baum, John LaPides, and Elana Fine of the Dingman Center were invaluable, and the experience of learning how to put together a pitch was very rewarding. Both Bob and John would always be able to identify new areas for improvements at end of each advising session. I went in to every session wondering “what can they possibly say now?” The difference between my initial pitch and what I presented at the finals were definitely night and day.

Of course, it all pays off in the end when you’re standing before the judges and full audience at the final round. I am sure would not have been able to win the competition without everyone’s support, and I am thankful to the Dingman Center for that memorable moment.

Q. How was the rest of the trip?  Would you recommend it to other MBAs?

My trip was a little different than rest of the group since I used to live in Beijing, but I would highly recommend the trip and the competition to all other MBA students. There are a lot of opportunities in China, especially in this modern era, and I encourage other students to visit China and learn about what these opportunities can mean for them. Taking classes inside the walls of Van Munching Hall may be exciting enough, but it’s what you do outside those walls that will make your MBA a memorable experience.

Q. What are the next steps for Honeymoon Honey?

The future is very exciting for Honeymoon Honey. We are actually currently in negotiations with a few national retailers in the U.S. who are interested in working with us. In addition, I had several meetings with local VC firms in China after the competition that opened new doors for the business as well. Don’t be surprised if you see Honeymoon Honey in China in a few years.

Q. Any general advice to aspiring entrepreneurs?

You’ve got to love your business and believe in it before you can make others believe in it as well. When you really believe in your idea, it makes more thoughtful about your business, hungrier for advice, and more passionate in your pitches.

Since 2006, more than $200,000 has been awarded to promising entrepreneurs in  the China Business Plan  Competition co-hosted by the Smith School’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship and Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management. The CBPC is held as part of a week-long global studies trip and satisfies 3 credits of the Smith Experience MBA curriculum. The competition and trip is open to all UMD students at any degree level. For more information please visit our website at: http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/dingman/students/CBPC/

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Tips for pitching your business idea

A business pitch can make or break a startup. Delivering a successful pitch can grab the attention of potential investors, attract customers, and even win funding in a Pitch Dingman Competition! How can you tell if your pitch will be successful? Check out these tips from a few of our Dingman Center all-stars to get advice on pitching your new business idea.


Rudy Lamone, Dingman Center Founder

“Your opening statement must grab the attention of your listener or in most cases you have failed; so try again.”


Asher Epstein, Dingman Center Managing Director

“Focus first on what problem you are solving. Is this a vitamin or aspirin problem (must have vs. nice to have)? Second, concentrate on who specifically has this problem. The target market needs to be tight and focused. Finally, what is your solution and why is it better, faster or cheaper than current options?”


Elana Fine, Dingman Center Director of Venture Investments

“Know your customer. Pitching a business isn’t just about the product or technology you are creating, but about who you will sell it to, why they will buy it and how often/how much. Before you start a business, make sure you spend time talking to potential customers to confirm that you have identified a real market needs that people are willing to pay for versus other existing options.”


Alla Corey, Dingman Center Program Manager

“Show passion and commitment to your idea. Investors must believe that not only you possess skills necessary to carry out your plan, but are also dedicated and will not give up when challenges arise. “


Harry Geller, Dingman Center Entrepreneur-in-Residence

“Be brief. You should be able to clearly state your idea in two or three sentences. Practice this with some friends and see if they can comprehend the idea, if so then you are ready. Pitch Dingman sessions are limited to 10-15 minutes so you want to get the idea understood quickly so you have time to receive valuable feedback.”


Do you have a business idea still in the “back-of-the-napkin” stage? Come to a Pitch Dingman informal session held every Friday 11am-1pm in the Dingman Center for valuable feedback from one of our Entrepreneurs-in-Residence. Our team of veteran entrepreneurs are here to share their advice and expertise.

For more information, visit the Pitch Dingman Homepage

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Pitch Dingman Competition 11/17/11

As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week (November 14-20, 2011), the Dingman Center sponsored a Pitch Dingman Competition for student entrepreneurs to compete for $2,750 in seed funding to launch or grow their business!


Beagle: Philippe Azimzadeh and Julian Capps
Beagle is a mobile app that connects students who needs things done with people willing to do them.

Community Ladders: Bill Varettoni
Community Ladders provides very affordable, one-on-one financial planning and advisory services for every stage of life and is devoted to consumer protection, group bargaining power, and upward mobility.

Comrade Brewing: David Lin
Comrade Brewing Company is focused on providing world class beer that is locally brewed and owned, focusing on ingredients. Located in Denver, Comrade Brewery is a tasting room model where over ¾ of the beer is sold direct to consumers.

NeverBoredU: Duncan Graham and Tim Tolino
NeverBoredU  is a website that serves students by letting them know everything going on all the time. The goal of NBU is to permeate college life internationally as the place people look to find out what is happening on and off campus.

Saylo: Martinas Terskin and Karen Turner
Saylo  is a mobile app that lets you create and join location-relevant conversations, allowing you to communicate, one-to-many, with the people around you.

Congratulations to all of our winners!

1st Place ($2000) : NeverBoredU
Second Place ($500) : Saylo
Audience Choice ($250) : Comrade Brewing

The Dingman Center Staff would like to extend a special thank you to our judges:
Steve Begleiter ’92, President & CEO, KBL Group International
Doug Palmer ’92, CEO & Founder, Palmer Financial
Neil Davis, MBA ’81, Vice President of Operations, Emerging Technology Centers
Protiti Dastidar, Tyser Teaching Fellow

Take a look at the pictures below for a photo recap of the November 17th Competition

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Are you interested in competing in a future Pitch Dingman Competition? Start by attending a Pitch Dingman informal session; every Friday from 11am to 1pm in the Dingman Center (2518 Van Munching Hall). No need to have a well-developed business plan, you can come with your idea still scribbled on the back of a napkin.

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