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Wharton's 2011 Business Plan Competition: Babies, High Fashion and Fundraising
Published : May 11, 2011 in Knowledge@Wharton
Since the dot.com bubble burst more than a decade ago, two popular categories in Wharton's Business Plan Competition (BPC) have been health care and retail. This year was no exception: E-commerce startups offered products ranging from baby supplies in Brazil to disposable flip flops for public showers. On the health care front, business plans involved devices to improve spinal fusion procedures and blood extraction, as well as a new drug therapy for hay fever.
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With more than $115,000 at stake in combined cash prizes and in-kind legal and accounting services, the eight finalists of the BPC presented their pitches on April 27 to a panel of judges and an audience of venture capitalists, business leaders, faculty and students. The competition is open to any student of the University of Pennsylvania and is managed by Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs. The BPC began last fall when 210 student teams entered the competition, slightly less than last year's 230 teams, but significantly more than the 162 teams in the 2009 BPC and the 145 teams in 2008. Throughout the course of the year, teams were narrowed down by 235 judges until only the "Great Eight" finalists remained. The judges at the Venture finals this year included representatives from Karlin Asset Management, Weston Presidio, Quaker BioVentures and Compass Partners. After hearing the finalists' pitches, the judges had a chance to ask questions that focused on such issues as intellectual property, budgets and product development. The team judged to have the most viable business plan was named the grand prize winner, receiving the $30,000 Michelson Grand Prize plus $15,000 in legal and accounting services. The second-place winner received $15,000 in cash and $15,000 in legal and accounting services, and the third-place winner received $10,000 in cash and $15,000 in legal and accounting services. A vote by audience members determined the winner of the $3,000 People's Choice Award. Below are summaries of the eight business plans. The winners are listed at the end of the article. Don't peek. Baby.com.br: What's the one thing you always seem to need more of when you have a baby? In addition to sleep, the answer for many new parents is diapers -- along with countless other baby supplies. However, in Brazil, where 86% of the population lives in urban areas, running out for a simple errand like buying diapers can be quite a challenge. Many stores have inventory management issues, often requiring parents to visit several shops in search of baby supplies. Combine that with some of the world's worst traffic and a 170% increase in e-commerce spending in the last two years, and Brazil is quite an attractive location for an online baby market, according to team leader Davis Smith. Smith, a second-year Wharton MBA student and experienced entrepreneur, is following the business model of Diapers.com in the U.S., which was recently sold to Amazon for more than $545 million. Babies.com.br currently has seven employees on the ground in Brazil and is ramping up to launch its web site in the next two months. Projecting $130 million in sales within five years, the company has already raised $4.3 million from VCs and angels both in the U.S. and Brazil. In addition to being a participant in Wharton's Venture Initiation Program, the team recently won the business plan competition at Harvard Business School, where Smith's business partner (and cousin) Kimball Thomas is an MBA student.
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Page 2 of 4 . and project revenues just under $8 million by 2017. and plans to establish a sales force. making it profitable during its first year. including 45. The current process for extracting bone from patients to use in these procedures is not only painful. Infections can range from athlete's foot and fungal infections to MRSA. This is particularly a problem in public showers. With the supplemental education market worth $8. BOSS Medical is led by a Wharton and Penn Engineering undergraduate student. All materials copyright of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. BOSS Medical is developing a minimally invasive device -. Cyrano Nasal Sciences is commercializing a drug therapy called Rhinox® that is based on a method of applying botulinum toxin (BoNT) in the nose.000 high school students.edu/article. The 65 million Americans with this problem -. In a beta test with 1. a runny nose. first-year Wharton MBA student Kathryn Schledwitz. Abhiraj Modi. the team is seeking $7 million to obtain a source of BoNT and perform phase II clinical trials. With the technology protected by two patents and an additional six pending. When polled.allergic rhinitis -. plan to market to high school students studying for the SATs. in collaboration with a development team of five biomedical engineering graduate students at Johns Hopkins University who are working closely with three leading spinal surgeons from the Johns Hopkins Medical Institute.5 million members of private gyms and four million students using university facilities. he said.called the Boss Harvester -.and not have to stow them wet in their gym bags. Regardless of how often a health club cleans its facilities. as well as parents of home schooled students. it really comes down to who showered just before you. LLC: Congestion. Indeed. student Adam Kapelner didn't do as well as he had hoped on the verbal section of the GRE. clinical trials have shown that a single intranasal application can eliminate all symptoms of allergic rhinitis for up to five months. where "nasty" bacteria are brewing on shower floors. more than half of these patients say they want a better way to deal with hay fever. and 70% said they felt more confident about taking the SATs.wharton.5% of the market within six months (after getting FDA approval).000 patients need spinal fusion procedures in the U.Wharton's 2011 Business Plan Competition: Babies. Flipables offers a low-cost.cfm?articleid=2769) Business School. To address this problem. BOSS Medical: More than 400. according to Bienstock. where Smith's business partner (and cousin) Kimball Thomas is an MBA student. According to team leader Alexandre Paris. Cyrano Nasal Sciences. but also a 20-second clip of a movie using that word and a photo capturing the word's essence. team leader Lee Bienstock. the team believes it can capture approximately 2. The device allows for a gentler extraction procedure using a hollow drill that conforms to the geometry of the pelvic bone. Users not only see a definition of a word.these are all symptoms that hay fever sufferers know well.to improve the "harvesting" of bone. noted that four out of 10 Americans urinate in the shower. he started thinking about how people learn words. With a prototype in place. DictionarySquared: When Wharton Ph.spend more than $5 billion annually for prescription drugs. noted that there is a large market for his product. DictionarySquared is a participant in Wharton's Venture Initiation Program. a second-year Wharton MBA student. sneezing -. they have conducted cadaver testing. His program mimics the way the brain learns vocabulary by showing words in a variety of contexts. Bienstock.upenn. To solve this problem.2 billion and growing at 18%.D. but comes with a lengthy recovery time of up to two years. Flipables: While it's rather gross to think about. Consumers can simply throw the sandals out after use -. 75% indicated that their vocabulary improved after using the program. oftentimes taking a "cocktail" of allergy medicines. and Schledwitz noted that the University of Pittsburgh recently applied for a $1 million grant to prove the program's efficacy and improve its features. High Fashion and Fundraising: Knowledge@Wharton (http://knowledge. he became "obsessed" with this topic and began building an online vocabulary training program based on extensive research.S. Because the therapy is priced below existing treatments. biodegradable and disposable sandal designed to be worn by people taking showers in such places as gyms and university dormitories. The team is looking to raise $2. Kapelner and his team member.5 million for remaining research and development.without harming the environment -. who won third-place in the 2010 PennVention contest and was a finalist on NBC's "The Apprentice" in 2006. a Wharton undergraduate student. each year.
com. we have been approached by many people -this competition has really opened up a lot of doors for us.br won third place. Stylitics: It would be ideal if fashion brands and media buyers could instantly track trends. They plan to be profitable by 2015 and project sales of $100 million by 2017.S. Stylitics introduces a new generation of tools that can track and analyze actual offline clothing and purchase behavior. Devgon. High Fashion and Fundraising: Knowledge@Wharton (http://knowledge. clearly showing the portion of each donation that goes directly to the nonprofit. They traditionally rely on customers filling out surveys and polls. Pledge4Good offers a new platform for nonprofits to raise funds that combines social gaming. it bothered him how many times patients would need to be stuck by needles to draw blood for laboratory tests. They plan to open the site to all nonprofits at the end of the year." he said. Stylitics captures up-to-the-minute insights that will make it the "Nielsen for clothing. a second-year Wharton MBA student. both first-year Wharton MBA students. according to the business plan. expanding to include political campaigns in 2012. And the Winner Is. Stylitics won first place. a company started by Wharton alumni. he designed the PhlebCath -. The People's Choice Award went to Pledge4Good. with nearly 72% of that expense due to inefficiencies in the process. including recurring donations. They tend to attract followers. For example.wharton. The team noted that hospital systems spend more than $1 billion each year drawing blood. the team is looking to raise $500. The prize money will help with product development and the hiring of another developer to join their design team. but the pledges will be tied to achievements from everyday life and shared via social networks. but the difficulty is getting donations. but either way. According to team member Farhad Najam. team leader Rohan Deuskar. Frank Chu and Andrew Ward -. are experienced marketers who met when working Vibes Media.is completing development of a beta prototype. The problem is that analytics in the fashion industry are fragmented and often out of date. and encourage friends to match the amount raised. "Since we won. the team -. In second place was Next Generation Phlebotomy. Devgon said his team is currently working on the prototype for the next step of animal testing.edu/article.000 to develop the prototype." With a large potential market of more than 50. Drawing blood through an IV would make more sense. This device would significantly lower the cost of blood extractions.a device that integrates with Peripheral IV systems to extract blood for laboratory testing. but current IVs are only able to deliver medicines and cannot be used to extract blood. Zach Davis. To address this problem. reduce lab errors and improve patients' experiences. who was on the winning BPC team in 2009 for NIR Diagnostics.000 a month per license.cfm?articleid=2769) Next Generation Phlebotomy: When Wharton MBA alumnus Pitou Devgon was doing his medical residency. Establishing a cost to clients of $5. Users can make online donations to charities. presented with team members Ravi Raghavan and Marc Montserrat. Baby. With Devgon fully owning the IP. This business offers nonprofits a way to monetize their social media presence and increase donations. They are considering whether to seek seed funding or bootstrap the cost themselves. Pledge4Good.Wharton's 2011 Business Plan Competition: Babies. Deuskar said that he plans to move to New York after graduation to work on fundraising for Stylitics and prepare for its upcoming launch. The site will be 100% transparent.000 prospective clients in the U. Currently.. By incentivizing customers (with gifts like reward cards) to log what they wear on a daily basis. they hope to complete that stage of testing within the next six months. said that the brands he has talked to are excited about Stylitics and are eagerly awaiting its full launch this summer. a first-year Wharton MBA student. a user might make a micro-pledge of $1 every time he gets a birdie while golfing. Page 3 of 4 .. goal setting theory and mobile check-ins.which includes first-year MBA students Vikram Bellapravalu. social networking. LLC: Most people have run a race for charity or have pledged money to someone who has. the company projects $95 million in revenue by 2015. using social media effectively is an uphill challenge for nonprofits.upenn. As for Next Generation Phlebotomy. Both Deuskar and his business partner.. All materials copyright of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
com P. Kembrel.Wharton's 2011 Business Plan Competition: Babies. In its 13th year. (212) 221-9595 x407.edu/article. Having already raised VC funds. PetPlan USA. For multiple copies.com. More than a dozen of the "Great Eight" finalists from the past 10 years are still in business. Page 4 of 4 . please contact PARS International: reprints@parsintl. The prize money will help with that launch. Innova Dynamics and MicroMRI. BuySafe.cfm?articleid=2769) Smith of Baby.br noted that he is moving to Brazil after graduation to work on the business. Wharton's BPC has helped start a number of successful businesses. posters or plaques. as well as cover moving costs for him and his business partner. including Warby Parker. NetConversions. e-prints. custom reprints.upenn.wharton. PayMyBills. High Fashion and Fundraising: Knowledge@Wharton (http://knowledge. the next step is to launch the web site.com. This is a single/personal use copy of Knowledge@Wharton. All materials copyright of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
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