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Intellect

Fast-talking student entrepreneurs win in Speed Pitch Competition

Although a successful business can take years to build, a great idea shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to pitch. Finalists in the Speed Pitch Competition rapidly presented their business ideas before a group of local entrepreneurs and venture capitalists as part of the Business Plan Competition at Brigham Young University.

Chosen from ten finalists, Bradley Cahoon, a senior entrepreneurship major from Newbury Park, Calif., took first place and won $300 with the idea for TokenText.

“I plan on being an entrepreneur the rest of my life, so I wanted the experience of pitching and getting my ideas across,” Cahoon says. “This event has been a huge confidence builder but has also helped me see areas of my idea that need improvement.”

TokenText is similar to Groupon in purpose, but it is designed to offer targeted discounts on items users show interest in rather than a generic daily deal. The company’s website tracks how many people are watching items at participating retail stores to know when they go on sale. When a large enough group is watching an item and willing to buy at a discount, the company is notified to reduce their price. Once the reduction has been made, users receive an alert that the desired price point is available.

In addition to prize money, Cahoon won a seat at a local FundingUniverse luncheon, an event bringing together more than 20 investors to network and share business ideas. FundingUniverse, which hosted the Speed Pitch Competition, was established to help angel investing and small business financing become more efficient by rapidly matching lenders with entrepreneurs at events held throughout the country.

Second and third places went to MealDrop and Safe2Run, respectively. MealDrop allows students to preorder on-campus food and choose between front-of-the-line pick up and delivery. Safe2Run plans to develop a hands­‑free mace carrying system to increase safety for runners.

Finalists were given three minutes to pitch their ideas before judges, followed immediately by a two minute question-and-answer session. Contestants then rotated between tables of judges until each team presented ten times during the course of the event. Finalists were chosen from written entries submitted a week prior to the event and invited to pitch their ideas live before judges and spectators. 

“This year’s Speed Pitch Competition was a great success,” says Rachel Christensen, program director at the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology. “Judges were impressed with the students’ business ideas; students were able to refine their pitches and had the opportunity to network with the judges.”

Both the  Speed Pitch and the recently held Idea Pitch competitions fall under the BYU Business Plan Competition umbrella. Each competition mimics the process of what students should experience as they create their own businesses. The Idea Pitch Competition focuses on the initial idea phase, while the Speed Pitch Competition focuses on pitching the idea to investors.

For this and other Marriott School news releases, visit the online newsroom at marriottschoool.byu.edu/news.

Writer: Tyler Weaver

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