Georgetown Entrepreneurs Take Home $145,000 in Prizes During Annual ‘Bark Tank’ Pitch Competition
A diverse, passionate, and innovative group of students presented their start-up ideas to a panel of highly-esteemed entrepreneurial judges at Georgetown Entrepreneurship’s Bark Tank Pitch Competition on Wednesday, November 2, 2022, in Lohrfink Auditorium.
Inspired by the pitches, Ted Leonsis (C’77, P’14,’15), founder, chairman, principal, and chief executive officer of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, and his family increased the competition’s original annual amount to $145,000 – furthering the financial impact and growth opportunity for each of the finalists who took the stage.
“Thank you to the Leonsis family for upgrading our prizes on the spot once again,” Jeff Reid, professor of the practice and founding director of Georgetown Entrepreneurship, announced during the Bark Tank Competition.
At the end of the pitch competition, Leonsis applauded the group of entrepreneurs for their mission-minded business ventures; embodying Georgetown’s Jesuit value of cura personalis.
“You’re so accomplished, and I am proud of Georgetown for the culture that has been built here around being in service to communities of interest. Every single pitch was fantastic. We want Georgetown to be able to hold the mirror up to the best of our students and alumni, and you’ve made us unbelievably proud,” said Leonsis.
Homemade in DC and Proxy Foods each won the grand prize of $30,000 at the competition. Homemade in DC is an online marketplace connecting local food entrepreneurs to businesses, offering corporate catering and custom gift boxes that are sourced locally from women, people of color, and LGBTQIA+ entrepreneurs. It is led by Mackenzie Loy (MBA/MPP’22). Proxy Foods offers the world’s first B2B flavor optimization AI platform specifically created for alternative proteins. By consolidating and transforming billions of data points into answers, food companies can develop better products, faster, through computational modeling and guided innovation. It is led by Panos Kostopoulos (G’22).
Global Pal and LUCIO each won $20,000 at the competition. Led by Neal Singal (B’23) and Alex Krauel, Global Pal empowers small and medium-sized restaurants through an easy-to-use, cost-effective mobile payment platform. LUCIO, led by Victoria Gomes-Boronat (G’22), is a social gaming platform that uses shared interests, shared experiences, and geolocation matching algorithms to connect users of similar interests, age, and proximity, providing research-supported ways to bond through gameplay and other shared experiences. LUCIO also received the People’s Choice Award of $5,000, which is decided by an audience vote at the end of the competition.
Tessen won $15,000 at the competition. The company designs innovative camera products inspiring photographers to travel often and carry light. It is led by Kilian Liptrot (L’23).
Chestr, Dreame, and Budeli each won $10,000 at the competition. Chestr is a universal, single click, wishlist that lets you save items, add them to lists, share them with friends, and track discounts. It is led by Besart Copa (SFS’22). Dreame provides women and queer people with life coaching, tools, and advice through social media to help them attract the romantic partner and life of their dreams. It is led by Victor Dreame (C’23). Budeli is a property tech amenity that partners with residential complexes to provide $2 food delivery for apartment residents to help them get local food delivered for 45% less. It is led by Carlos Bello (MBA’22) and Jinsung Bach (MBA’22).
The Leonsis Family Entrepreneurship Prize is supported by longtime entrepreneur Ted Leonsis; his wife, Lynn; his son, Zach (MBA’15); and his daughter, Elle (C’14).
Aligning with the Jesuit values of Georgetown University, the Leonsis Family Entrepreneurship Prize honors and supports Georgetown students who have launched or are preparing to launch new business ventures that will address problems in the world around them. Ultimately, the Leonsis Family Entrepreneurship Prize builds awareness around the innovation and accomplishments of Georgetown’s entrepreneurs and strengthens the university’s reputation as a place where ambitious students can turn their passions into entrepreneurial ventures.