Last fall, Goizueta launched Pitch to the Professors, a competition in which entrepreneurial-minded students have an opportunity to present their business concepts and strategies to the school’s expert faculty. Think TV’s “Shark Tank,” available only to Goizueta’s bright and ambitious minds.
The judges were serial entrepreneur Charlie Goetz, senior lecturer in organization & management and distinguished lecturer, entrepreneurship; Klaas Baks, associate professor in the practice of finance and executive director, Center For Alternative Investments; and Manish Tripathi, assistant professor in the practice of marketing.
Although every student received feedback and input, five pitches survived the scrutiny, with their student creators taking top honors. They are: Andrew Callahan 16MBA and Mo Zhang 16MBA, creators of PumpHop; Bryan Spencer 17EvMBA, creator of Chefter; Raj Nathan 15EMBA, creator of Intaase; Josh Silcox 16EvMBA, creator of Steazy and Company; and Katie Hull 16MBA, creator of SmallBatch. As winners, they each receive a desk in Goizueta’s suite in the Atlanta Tech Village, which offers free workshops and exceptional networking opportunities. Plus, law firm Foley and Lardner LLP will provide a complimentary startup package, which includes IP legal consulting.
Just like the show, the pressure was intense. “They asked very pointed questions about my business model and why the customer would buy this service,” Nathan says. “They appreciated the idea but still came forward with very good feedback on how I could make it more viable.” Nathan’s Intaase, which stands for Interviews as a Service, seeks to shorten recruiting cycles and reduce hiring effort in the tech industry by providing technical screenings of candidates within 24 hours. The win has helped springboard his process of developing a minimal viable product, which has already attracted a few customers.
In the future, Goetz hopes to expand the panel of judges to include guest experts from other parts of the university and skilled individuals working in the field.
Undergraduates got a similar experience during last spring’s inaugural Emory Entrepreneurship Summit. It culminated in a pitch competition judged by the alumni speakers, with $8,500 in cash prizes distributed to the winning teams. First prize went to Denver Rayburn 14BBA and David Zander 15BBA, whose app allows users to locate a small group of friends for a limited time. Second place went to Emory College student and Shark Tank-funded BZBox entrepreneur Kaeya Majmundar 15C for a tank top that that zips out to become a tote bag. These two top teams also received multimedia technology prizes donated by Goizueta alumni-founded Campus MovieFest, the world’s largest independent student film festival.