Georgetown Entrepreneurs Win $100,000 in Prizes at Annual “Bark Tank” Event
A web platform that connects students with side businesses to the broader marketplace is worth investing in, according to Ted Leonsis (C’77, P’14, P’15) founder, chairman, principal, and chief executive officer of Monumental Sports and Entertainment, and a team of expert entrepreneurs at Georgetown Entrepreneurship’s Bark Tank Pitch Competition held Thursday, Nov. 14, at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.
UHustle won $30,000 at the competition. Founded by Christy Felix (B’20), UHustle was created for students and by students to help connect potential customers and student micro-entrepreneurs across campus.
“It means everything to me that Ted Leonsis and the judges believe in our business idea,” said Felix. “I am truly in awe that UHustle won the Leonsis Family Entrepreneurship Prize. We recognized that students today have difficulties balancing increasing academic costs and their college careers, which is why we created a platform that makes saving and making money while in college simple, painless, and convenient so students can focus on what matters.”
Nearly a dozen student and alumni entrepreneurs shared their ventures with the community at the Leonsis Family Entrepreneurship Prize “Bark Tank” pitch competition event, where $100,000 in funding was on the line.
“It is amazing to see these entrepreneurs develop companies that focus on giving back,” said Leonsis. “It is important to recognize student entrepreneurs who have created companies that add value to communities.”
Additional recipients of the 2019 prize include:
Globally Unified Air Quality (GUAQ), founded by Simra Ali (C’22), Roberto D’Angelo-Cosme (C’21), Anna Giaquinto (C’21), and Neal Singal (B’22), and Unveil, founded by Katie Fischer (SCS’20), tied for second place and won $20,000 each.
HealthCare Mobile, founded by Jennie Nwokoye (SCS’20); Prosperity Life Fund, founded by Ariel Fishman (MBA’20); StrawZero, founded by Julian Davis (B’21); SYNC, founded by Omar Al-Alami (MBA’20); and VentureLift Africa, founded by Wilmot Allen (G’19), each won $5,000.
StrawZero won the People’s Choice Award, which amounted to $5,000.
A panel of judges conducted a rigorous scoring and review process that determined the sizes of each prize. In addition to Leonsis, the experts included Steve Barnes (C’88, L’92), co-founder and president of Homesnap; Peter Biché (B’78), chief financial officer, Monumental Sports & Entertainment; Phil Bronner, founder and CEO, Quad Learning; Kimberly Grant, CEO, ThinkFoodGroup; Kristen Gunther, vice president, Revolution Growth; Arun Gupta, venture partner, Columbia Capital; Amy Millman, business and government advocate; and Gina Raahauge, solution chief technology officer at Amazon Web Services.
Shavini Fernando (C’10), founder of OxiWear and past recipient of the Leonsis Family Entrepreneurship Prize, emceed the event.
The Leonsis Family Entrepreneurship Prize is supported by longtime entrepreneur Ted Leonsis; his wife, Lynn; his son, Zach (MBA’15), senior vice president of strategic initiatives of Monumental Sports and Entertainment; and his daughter, Elle (C’14), digital marketing director of SnagFilms, Inc.
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.