Georgetown Entrepreneurs Win $100,000 in Prizes at “Bark Tank” Event
Flexible coworking and licensed child care that supports both professional and parental needs are worth investing in, according to Ted Leonsis (C’77, P’14, P’15) and a team of expert entrepreneurs at the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative’s new “Bark Tank” pitch competition held Tuesday, January 16, at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.
Hatch, a startup launching soon in Washington, D.C., that provides coworking and child care solutions for working parents in the gig economy, won $30,000 at the competition. Founded by JP Coakley (MBA’18) and Kelsey Lents (MBA’18), Hatch is closer to opening its first location thanks to support from the Leonsis Family Entrepreneurship Prize.
“The Leonsis Prize underscores the student experience at Georgetown University in how the student, faculty, and alumni communities continuously help each other through scholarship, mentorship, and networking.” said Lents. “This support has impressed and motivated us to launch our business. We are excited to have won the Leonsis Family Entrepreneurship Prize, which will be instrumental in helping us to secure the lease and letter of credit required to open the first location of Hatch.”
Nearly a dozen student and alumni entrepreneurs shared their ventures with the community at the inaugural Leonsis Family Entrepreneurship Prize “Bark Tank” pitch competition event, where $100,000 in funding was on the line.
“It is wonderful to watch the community rally around ‘StartupNation,’” said Leonsis, who is the founder, majority owner, chairman, and CEO, Monumental Sports & Entertainment. “It has been tremendous to watch these entrepreneurs exhibit passion to tackle these issues. Entrepreneurship allows Georgetown University to stand atop of what they are already doing, which is to develop the whole person. We have the opportunity to become an institution where people not only get an education but also have a higher calling.”
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.
“Most of the finalists use technology to address a social issue by doing well and doing good, which embodies the Jesuit values of Georgetown University,” said Paul Almeida, dean and William R. Berkley chair. “I think entrepreneurship is important whether you want to join a corporation, small business, or another institution. As technology advances, there will undoubtedly be many opportunities for people to become successful entrepreneurs, which is why the Leonsis Family Entrepreneurship Prize is so valuable to Georgetown University.”
Additional recipients of the 2018 prize include:
ClassPulse, founded by Claudia Recchi (B’17), received $25,000. ClassPulse is a professional development tool that allows professors to collect actionable student feedback in real time.
Cusp 365, founded by Jaclyn DiGregorio (B’17), received $15,000. Cusp 365 is a college girl’s guide to healthy living. The Cusp It App helps college women be healthy, confident, and real.
Campus Sherpa, founded by David Patou (C’18); Edible Finance, founded by Sunny Gupta (MBA’19) and Chris Johnson (MBA’19); Foublie, founded by Melissa Antal (MBA’19); Galapagos Strategy, founded by Ramya Possett (MBA’17); and Qoral Health, founded by Shivum Bharill (C’17) and Rainier Go (B’17), all received $5,000.
Qoral Health received an additional $5,000 for the People’s Choice Award, which was decided through live audience polling.
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 Jenny Abramson, founder and managing partner, Rethink Impact; Mark Ein, founder and CEO of Venturehouse Group, LLC; founder and CEO, Leland Investment Co.; founder, chairman, and CEO, Capitol Investment Corporation; founder and owner of the Washington Kastles World TeamTennis; owner, Washington City Paper; Michelle Freeman (P’13), owner and CEO, Carl M. Freeman Companies; and Zach Leonsis (MBA’15), senior vice president of strategic initiatives, Monumental Sports & Entertainment and general manager, Monumental Sports Network. Ann Yang (F’16), co-founder, MISFIT Juicery, 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; and his daughter, Elle (C’14), digital marketing director of SnagFilms, Inc.