Wharton Awards $40,000 to Student Startups to Pursue Ventures Over Traditional Summertime Positions
Philadelphia, PA – Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs (WEP) has announced the 2011 winners of the Wharton Venture Award which is dedicated to financially supporting Wharton undergraduate juniors and first-year MBA students so they can continue development of their venture full-time over the summer in lieu of a traditional internship. A committee consisting of alumni venture capitalists and entrepreneurs bestowed four awards of $10,000 each.
The Wharton Venture Award is among numerous WEP activities supporting Wharton student and alumni entrepreneurs who have decided to choose an alternative career path–despite or because of the global economic crisis. Examples of recent entrepreneurial activity include: the debut of a student-run “Founders Club” peer-to-peer mentoring group; all-time high application levels to the Wharton Venture Initiation Program campus incubator; newly hired staff members in the MBA Career Services Office dedicated to serving students seeking positions at startups; and dramatically increased entrepreneurial scholarships and awards.
“The Wharton Venture Award will allow us to focus on building a great product this summer, instead of focusing on how we’re going to pay our bills,” said Wharton Venture Award winner Mike Kijewski, founder of Gamma Basics. “But the benefits of winning the award aren’t just financial. It’s a huge vote of confidence from the entrepreneurial community at Wharton, which goes a long way with our investors and early customers.”
Wharton Venture Award finalists are required to provide a short pitch to the Wharton Venture Award selection committee. Judges this year were Wharton alums: Invite Media founder Nat Turner (former Venture Award winner), Shasta Venture managing director Rob Coneybeer, Novitas Capital managing director Dean Miller, and First Flavor co-founder Jay Minkoff.
The Wharton Venture Award winners for the summer of 2011 are:
1) Steven Dong (W’12) & Corey Lerch (W’12/E’12)
Weight-lifting you can wear.
2) Dan Getelman (W’12/E’12)
Coursekit lets students follow classes – assignments, lectures, exams – in one place while keeping in touch with classmates
3) Mike Kijewski (WG’12)
GrayCAD is a software application that helps hospitals assess their radiation safety compliance during capital equipment upgrades.
4) Nimit Maru (WG’12) & Roberto Sanchez Garvin (WG’12)
Mooblue is a real-time bidding mobile ad exchange.
(Note: WG=MBA alum; W=Undergraduate alum; E=Engineering)
Dan Getelman, Wharton Venture Award winner and co-founder of Coursekit, said, “We want to hit the ground running this summer, and winning the Wharton Venture Award makes sure we can. The award ensures we can keep our focus on our product and business, while providing invaluable mentoring to help propel us forward.”
Since its inception in 2007, Wharton Venture Award winners have included a number of highly successful startups including Baby.com.br; Invite Media, invitemedia.com; Warby Parker, warbyparker.com; Wall Street Oasis, wallstreetoasis.com; Milo, milo.com; and Kembrel, kembrel.com. For more information on WEP awards visit: http://www.wep.wharton.upenn.edu/awards.html.
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 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.