biznotes-pitch-compThe 2016 Pitch Competition, sponsored by the Daniels College of Business and Project X-ITE, set new records for applicants, presenters and prize money. The Trueblood Foundation provided awards for winning teams, with benefactor John Trueblood in attendance.

Fourteen teams (nine graduate/MBA teams, five undergraduate teams) competed in front of a full house in the Reiman Theater, pitching their company, product or concept to a panel of six judges. The judges represented a diverse range of entrepreneurs in the local community, from Matt Hyder, the creator of the Recoup Fitness ball, to world-renowned geologist Susan Morrice, founder of multi-million dollar companies Belize Natural Energy and XJet. Pitches ranged widely, including software, services food concepts and home products.

Natalie Hurst, MBA student, took home first place for the graduate section of the competition. Hurst is the creator of Snuffie Candle, a patent-pending, segmented, self-extinguishing candle. She honed her pitch in Sharon Alvarez’s Building the Business class. Hurst represented DU at the Angel Capital Summit March 14, competing against other universities and entrepreneurs for an angel investment. Runner up Joel Hodgdon, MBA student, took second place for his innovative spout that eliminates spills in the home. The patent-pending product, The Simple Stout, was accepted into the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Entrepreneurship Scholars program, a business acceleration program.

On the undergraduate side, Daniel Farrell, an engineering major, took the top prize for Wthout, a mobile application that generates awareness of incredible events on campus and throughout the city, feeding the best experiences right to the smartphone. Farrell was a finalist in the Madden Challenge in fall 2014 for his internal relations software, QRAK. William Alverson, general business major, continued his streak of recent awards with a second place finish for Artsparq, another mobile application that connects young artists to college students seeking affordable artwork. Alverson was also a Madden Challenge finalist last fall.

Jackson Trott (BSBA 2015), a current MBA student, won the sustainability/social entrepreneurship prize for Cruze, a sustainable transportation service on the DU campus, which uses electric Tuk Tuk vehicles.

“What made this year’s competition particularly significant is that entrepreneurs and their ideas came from every corner of DU,” says Stephen Miller, senior director of entrepreneurship. “We had students from Daniels, the Felix Ritchie School of Engineering, and the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences schools all competing. Even more exciting, these students’ ideas were cultivated in classes, in previous competitions, and in some cases, through their work in the local community, having pitched at venues like Industry and Galvanize.”

For more information about the Pitch Competition or to get involved, contact