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2016 CIE Business Plan Competition

Congratulations 2016 CIE $5,000 Business Plan Pitch Competition Winners!

 2016 BPComp winners and judges
2016 CIE Business Plan Pitch Competition Winners & Judges
The CIE held our new annual CIE $5,000 Business Plan Pitch Competition on Thursday, May 12, 2016, 6-9 pm, in the Forbes Family Conference Center-Lucas Hall 126.  Graduate and Undergraduate students of all majors/year of study were invited to apply to compete, sharing their game-changing business plan and team pitch to our panel of judges.  

$5,000 Grand Prize Winner:  AloaLabs, LLC-Reece Jackson, Christian Raroque

2016 BPComp 5kWinners
Congratulations to $5,000 Grand Prize winning team AloaLabs, LLC!  Shown above are Reece Jackson (left), CTO of AloaLabs and Computer Science & Engineering Major/Minor in Entrepreneurship, and Christian Raroque (right).
The Idea:  AloaLabs, LLC is a technology development and consulting company striving to eliminate the risk associated with product development.  We are here to help our clients realize the full potential of technology.
There is often a disconnect between individuals, groups and companies that need software, website, and/or iOS development and the developers that are needed for these projects. Enter AloaLabs-No headache product development. AloaLabs LLC adds a product consultant layer that iterfaces with the client and deals with all of the friction that clients normally face when tracking a project.  Product consultatnts can pull developers from our developer network that fit the project budget, timefram, type, platform and other cirteria.  Developers don't 'have to worry about collecting payment, legal issues or logistics.  We help clients complete projects and let developers focu8s on the developing.  
Where to Find It:  Visit the team at

$1,000 Second Prize Winners:  

Downshift-Justin Gabriel and Dheepak Jayaraman

ZappMe-Marco Gaspari and Jacob Ejercito

With a score difference of a mere 0.10%, the CIE felt rather than award $1,000 for second place and $500 for third place, we'd award TWO $1,000 Second Prizes.
2016 BPComp Downshift
Downshift:  Shown above are (left) MBA student and 2015 CAPE alum Dheepak Jayaraman, COO of Downshift, and Bronco alum and 2015 CAPE alum Justin Gabriel, Downshift CEO.
The Idea:   Today, most car shows require enthusiasts to find the event, RSVP, register/apply and buy tickets on their own and on separate platforms.  In addition, some shows still require participants to download a form, fill it out, scan it and either email or fax back with a check or credit card information.  We surveyed 257 enthusiasts and found that 82% said they were more likely to attend an event if they knew a specific car (or type of car) was going to be there.  Currently, there are no platforms that focus on showcasing the cars prior to the event.  Downshift saves coordinators and enthuiasts time with our website and mobile apps.  Car enthusiasts will be able to discover events, RSVP, register, securely buy tickets and see which cars are going all on one platform-Downshift.  
ZappMe:  Shown above are (left) Econ Major/Minor in Entrepreneurship student Marco Gaspari, ZappMe Co-Founder, and Jacob Ejercito, ZappMe Co-Founder.
The Idea:   Share your multiple social media accounts all at once.  When meeting new people or building a brand, connecting across multiple social media accounts can be exhausting.  Whether it's just a freshman in college trying to make new friends or a celebrity building a digital brand, it's an irritating process.  ZappMe creates a frictionless process by allowing users to follow or friend multiple social media accounts all at once using a unique QR code.  Today, the average smartphone user has 7.4 social media apps downloaded; however, there is no one applications that combines these accounts into one digital identity.  ZappMe aims to establish a new marketing by being the first one to ever do so-instantly add multiple social media accounts or other users in just one scan.  
Six teams were selected to compete from an applicant pool of 30 venture teams, which included undergraduate and graduate students from the Leavey School of Business, the College of Arts and Sciences AND the School of Engineering, which is always a goal of the CIE-to be inclusive across campus.  There was even one team that had a member of each of these schools.  Congratulations and thank you to the other competitors:
Venplore:  Venplore aims to make it easy to discover activities such as fishing, hiking or sightseeing that perfectly fit a person's criteria.  Venplore develops and maintains a website with a database of all sorts of activities sourced from both employee and user input.  The site allows users to sort activities based on location, cost, physical effort required and other attributes to find an activity that perfectly fits their objective.  Users can also suggest equipment that may be needed or helpful to the activity to ensure that users can fully prepare and plan for their adventure.
Andrew Chen, Undergraduate Finance Major/Minor in Entrepreneurship
Jerry Ku, UC Santa Cruz
With Me:  With Me strives to create a sufficient interface that provides a user the ability to walk in another's shoes.  Experiences ranging from extreme mountain biking to scenic hikes to being the lead character in a show on Broadway-all could be experienced through virtual reality technology and the WithMe social media app (including a digitally printed 3D headset).  Social media shows highlights from a person's day from one angle, but With Me provides a more real connection to what's behind the screen.  It can also allow you to experience your friends' unique expreiences with the convenience of being anywhere.  Imagine being able to be at the Great Wall of China while drinking your morning coffee in your house.
Sam Militello, Undergraduate Marketing Major/Minor in Entrepreneurship, WithMe CEO & Head of Sales
TK Wasserman, Bioengineering Major/Art History Minor, WithMe CTO and Head of Product Development
Sammie Yamashita, Environmental Studies Major, WithMe Head of Marketing, Distribution and Sustainability
Swivl:  Swivl is a low-cost platform that provides a seamless client management system for small- and medium-sized hair salons.  Swivl offers a flexible system for clients to book a stylist 24/7 based on their location, budget, and the time of their choice.  We allow the professionals the ability to spend more time working rather than answering their phones and managing their paper books AND allow clients to browse services, book, and reschedule all on their time from the convenience of their phones.
Anu Yarlagadda, MBA Student and 2014 CAPE alum, Swivl CEO and Founder
Tamara Schroeder, MBA Student, Swivl Marketing Lead
Emile Antone, Undergraduate Marketing Major, Swivl Design & Content Lead
Teams each pitched their 10-minute presentation to our audience followed by a 5-minute Q&A from our panel of judges which included:
  • Caryn Beck Dudley, Dean of the Leavey School of Business
  • Steve Foster, Managing Director at SF Advisors, Chair of the CIE Advisory Board
  • Paul La Londe, Associate at SV Angel
  • Jennifer Woolley, Management Department Chair, Operations Consultant at Westhold Corporation
  • Laura Lee Norris, Director of the Entrepreneurs' Law Clinic

Scores were evaluated based on a scale of 1-7 in the following criteria:  Company Overview, Product/Service, Marketing/Marketing Strategy, Operations, Financial Viability, Management and Overall Presentation.  For feedback, all teams will receive a document detailing their average score in each category as well as a compilation of all handwritten feedback and comments from the judges to help further refine their pitch.  

Thank you to all who applied to compete, our competitors, judges and volunteers.  We look forward to continuing a new tradition offering this competition each Spring!

Click here for photos from the evening provided by Adam Hays Photography. (Opens new window to flikr photostream album)