Contributor: David Brim April 14, 2009
Over the last two years I’ve won the Joust Business plan competition for two different ventures. In 2007 my business partner Scott Wall and I presented our niche real estate publication for lease purchase properties and took first place winning $5,000. Then in 2008 I won again presenting GroupTable with another business partner Carl Henderson that time winning $12,000. I was pleasantly surprised when this year they asked me to return as a judge in the finals which took place this past Thursday.
This year’s winner was Helping Hands Healthcare, a service-based firm committed to providing superior consulting and installation of daily living aids to families with in-home healthcare needs.
Other finalists included: Mercury Mobile Software, a firm developing a home screen replacement application for smart phones; Orlando Search Engine Marketing, a search engine optimization (SEO) service provider; and Ski Florida, an indoor snow ski, snowboard and kids’ snow play facility.
It was truly a great experience for me being that I got to sit on the other side of the table with judges much older and more experienced than me.
Just to run through some of the other judges:
Mr. Walsh is President of the KnobHill Group, an investment and strategic counseling company. Prior to establishing the KnobHill Group, he served as Senior Vice President Corporate Affairs of Darden Restaurants Inc. (DRI) and was a founding member of the leadership team that took Darden public in 1995.
Mr. Walsh has been recognized as Orlando Business Journal’s “Businessman of the Year”; one of “Florida’s 100 Most influential” by Florida Trend Magazine; “25 Most Powerful People in Central Florida” by the Orlando Sentinel; and “50 Most Powerful People in Orlando” by Orlando Magazine.
G. Thomas Bland, Jr., serves as Chairman of the Board,CEO and president of AquaFiber Technologies Corporation.In 2004, Mr. Bland was inducted into the UCF College of Business Administration Hall of Fame. He currently is a member of the UCF College of Business Administration’s Dean’s Executive Council, and serves as a board member for the Florida Hospital Diabetes Foundation. He also established a home healthcare business, TenderCare Professional Assisted Living Services, Inc., for which he concurrently serves as Chairman of the Board.
Charlotte Williams founded SummerHill Homes, a sucessful construction company, and then became a leading local real estate professional. Charlotte is now a top real estate agent and owner of ERA Williams Real Estate Group.
Serial entrepreneur and investor with four successful start-ups and over 30 years of experience. Mr. Pape has developed a keen eye for lucrative market niches and an innovative ability to develop opportunities.
The competition was sponsored by Steven Felkowitz, CEO of Atico International. His company, Atico International is a full service sourcing and product development company that provides retailers, wholesalers and distributors with the insight and worldwide relationships to build a successful import program. I heard they generate over $600M a year in revenue…I guess he could afford to sponsor the prize money and event over the last few years.
Getting to know these extremely successful business professionals and investors on a more personal level was a great experience. I was the youngest judge by far and was judging students I went to school with less than a year ago, as well as students currently enrolled in the MBA program. Being a judge gave me a taste of where I want to be eventually (sooner than later), which is an angel investor sitting on the other side of the table listening to entrepreneurs pitch, investing in companies I like and working with them to help them grow.
This was truly a great experience.
Contributor: David Brim April 12, 2008
Yesterday GroupTable won the annual UCF Joust Business Plan competition and $12,000. About 40 applicants submitted their business plans for the competition, the top 12 plans were selected to participate.
Last week these 12 teams presented in front of several investors & business leaders in the community. The top four were selected as finalists taking place yesterday April 11th, 2008. The top four who were selected as finalists were MPS technologies (A company proposing a customized insert designed for women shoes to ease the pain they feel when trying to squeeze into shoes just to look cute), Miami Cable (proposed a water park in Miami that uses cables to pull you around a track on ski’s…really cool idea), An Agriculture Bio Fuel company was the other finalist (proposing a program to convert algae into energy)and our venture, GroupTable (An online collaborative software venture tailored to meet the needs of high achieving students)
The finals judge were made up of extremely successful business leaders from across the country as well as investors. They were very receptive to GroupTable and enjoyed our presentation. We ended up winning first place, which not only included $12,000 but another free year in the UCF Technology Incubator, I say another because we actually won the competition last year as well with a different venture.
This time around is much more exciting for me because with this GroupTable we are so far along in product development that the $12,000 can help us immensely to grow accelerate our user and product growth to the point where we can get angel funding. It is all very exciting! There should be a lot more articles about GroupTable coming out in the near future I’ll keep everyone posted.
Contributor: David Brim April 9, 2008
The competition was awesome. Going around the Indianapolis 500 race track in a limo pitching GroupTable was quite an amazing experience. We didn’t win the competition, but still won $1500 for being finalists. We also met a lot of smart, ambitious young entrepreneurs many of which loved GroupTable (Our online collaborative tool designed for college project teams and study groups). We got a lot of positive feedback and insight about our product.
We are also participating in the UCF Joust business plan competition as finalists taking place this Friday, April 11th, 2008. The winner will get $12k. Below you will find a link to an article written on us regarding the competition in Indiana. Feel free to check them out at your leisure. The site is also coming along very nicely we are currently working on re-designing the landing page and allowing people to take a short video or screen shot tour of the site. Check it out: https://www.davidbrim.com/grouptable
Articles About the Competition
Contributor: David Brim March 16, 2008
The Group Table team was selected as finalists in the Nascent 500 Business Challenge. We are representing UCF and will be flown to the competition in Indianapolis taking place March 29th. You can find more information about the competition by following the link here http://www.bsu.edu/entrepreneurship/nascent500/
Over 40 schools entered teams that submitted their business plans to be reviewed. We were notified in mid February that we were selected as finalists to present our venture GroupTable. The really cool thing is that we will present our business idea to a group of investors while sitting in the back of a limo going around the track at the Indianapolis 500.
The winner will get $10,000. I am very excited to hear feedback from the judges/Investors. We are at the point where we are about to seek angel funding to accelerate our products development and grow our userbase. I have found that business plan competitions that I have participated in previously have provided extremely useful information and have been a truly invaluable experience.
I will keep this blog updated to let everyone know how the competition went.