2011 Wharton Business Plan Competition “Great Eight” Finalists Vie for over $116,000 in Prizes, VC Interest

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Contenders include: Vice-stopping mobile app; Disposable Flip Flops for Public Showers; Nasal Allergy Drug Therapy; Brazilian Baby Buying Site

PHILADELPHIA, PA.—The Wharton Business Plan Competition has announced the eight finalists who will vie for $116,000 in prizes at the annual Venture Finals (http://bpc.wharton.upenn.edu/) taking place Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at the Wharton School’s Jon M. Huntsman Hall, on the University of Pennsylvania campus. The event is free and open to the public.

The Wharton Business Plan Competition “Great Eight” finalists are:

1. Baby.com.br: Brazil’s “one-stop-shop” for baby products online with free 24 hour delivery
2. BOSS Medical: New device for lower cost, lower risk gold standard spinal fusion
3. Cyrano Nasal Science: Drug therapy for nasal allergies (i.e. hay fever)
4. DictionarySquared: Fun and interactive way to help high school students learn vocabulary in preparation for the SAT
5. Flipables: Low cost, hygienic footwear designs for spas, gyms, and resorts
6. Next Generation Phlebotomy: Novel medical device for more efficient blood drawing
7. Pledge4Good: Mobile application that allows users to pledge money for charity for personal goals achieved e.g. weight loss, smoking cessation, cursing
8. Stylitics: Innovative market research techniques to help clothing brands better understand customers

Over the years, the Wharton Business Plan Competition, which is open to any University of Pennsylvania student and managed by Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs, has seen numerous student teams go on to become successful businesses including Warby Parker, Kembrel, PetPlan USA, PayMyBills.com, BuySafe, NetConversions, Innova Dynamics, and MicroMRI. More information about past participants is available on the Wharton BPC Web site: http://bpc.wharton.upenn.edu.

“This year on campus we have seen new entrepreneurial activity practically every day including a great number of student startup launches,” says Megan Mitchell, senior associate director for Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs. “A high number of student entrepreneurs have sought out the feedback and insights the Wharton Business Plan Competition provides, especially since this year’s prize pool is our richest ever, increased 53% for a total of $116,000.”

The eight finalist teams face off at the Venture Finals with 20-minute presentations to judges drawn from the business and venture capital community who will then evaluate the persuasiveness and viability of each business plan. Students will receive $116,000 in cash prizes and in-kind awards including the $30,000 Michelson Grand Prize, which is made possible by the generosity of the Gary Karlin Michelson, M.D. Charitable Foundation, Inc. The Venture Finals take place April 27 at the Wharton School’s Dhirubhai Ambani Auditorium and annually attract over 200 entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, investment bankers, alumni, faculty and students.

Once again the Venture Finals will feature the People’s Choice award taking place during the day-ending reception. During the reception, an audience of hundreds will hear brief elevator pitches from all Finalists while the Venture Finals judges are sequestered. Just before the judges return to announce the winners, the audience will get the chance to vote for their own favorite pitch and award that team $3,000.

Also returning this year are three $1,000 awards determined by the student management committee of the Wharton BPC. From the semi-finalist submissions the committee award prizes in the following categories: “social”, “disruptive” and “committee’s choice.”

Venture Finals judges scheduled to select the winning teams represent a range of organizations including Quaker BioVentures and Karlin Asset Management. The judges are:

a. David A. Cohen, President, Karlin Asset Management
b. David Ferguson , WG85, Partner, Western Presidio
c. P. Sherril Neff, Founding Partner, Quaker
d. BioVenturesRichard Perlman, W68, Chairman, Compass Partners, LLC

Note: WG=MBA alum; W=Undergraduate alum

Among this year’s finalists, a few have already achieved important distinctions and milestones. Flipables won third prize at PennVention and a Wharton Venture Award, both in 2010. Baby.com.br’s team leader founded PoolTables.com, America’s largest online retailer of pool tables. Those teams along with DictionarySquared are members of the Wharton Venture Initiation Program educational incubator.

About the Wharton School and Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs

In 1973, The Wharton School became the first school to develop a fully integrated curriculum of entrepreneurial studies. Today Wharton, through Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs <www.wep.wharton.upenn.edu>, supports and seeds innovation and entrepreneurship globally through teaching, research and outreach to a range of organizations through its many programs, initiatives and research centers. At the same time, Wharton students and alumni are helping to build entrepreneurial enterprises around the world and impacting virtually every industry.

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania— founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school — is recognized globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. The most comprehensive source of business knowledge in the world, Wharton bridges research and practice through its broad engagement with the global business community. The School has more than 4,800 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and doctoral students; more than 9,000 annual participants in executive education programs; and an alumni network of 86,000 graduates.

For more information on the Wharton Business Plan Competition, go to: http://bpc.wharton.upenn.edu.

 

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