Prepared to revolutionize the snow-gear industry by providing warmth on demand, Klymit was named winner of Brigham Young University’s 2008 Business Plan Competition, taking home the grand prize of $50,000 in cash and in-kind services.
Since the beginning of the competition in October, Klymit distinguished itself from 45 other business plans. As one of the three finalists, the team presented its plan to a panel of venture capitalists and entrepreneurs during the competition’s final event April 4.
“Participating in the Business Plan Competition gave us the opportunity to define our company and solidify the necessary steps to be successful,” says Ben Maughan, Klymit chief financial officer. “We were connected with great mentors who helped us identify the strengths and opportunities for this technology.”
During their presentation, Klymit introduced its initial product — a ski jacket — which utilizes noble gases instead of fabrics to provide warmth for users. With its patent-pending technology, users can adjust the lining insulation simply by turning a dial, which releases these gases to increase or reduce warmth. In the future, Klymit plans to expand its product line offering to include other outdoor gear.
The individuals involved with Klymit include: Michael Albright, a second-year MBA candidate from Monument, Colo.; Nate Alder, a business management major from San Diego; Ben Maughan, a second-year MBA student from Oak Hill, Va.; Nick Sorensen, an entrepreneurship major from Salt Lake City; and Brady Woolford, a Ph.D. engineering candidate from Spanish Fork, Utah.
In addition to winning the Business Plan Competition, Klymit has also received first place in the San Diego State University Venture Competition and was the winner of the 2007 Invented in Utah competition, which is sponsored by a product development firm in Provo.
“The BYU Business Plan Competition is designed to create more opportunities for these companies and to motivate students to continue in their venture,” says Rachael Cone, assistant program director for the BYU Center for Entrepreneurship, which sponsors the annual competition. “We want students to succeed, and each of the finalists is already on the path to fulfill our motto of learning, earning, and later returning.”
Taking second place in the competition and a $35,000 award was SchoolTipline, an online safely tool that allows anonymous communication between school administrators and students. SchoolTipline aids schools in the prevention and intervention of bullying, violence, drugs and other safety issues.
Third place and a $20,000 award went to Greeting Call, a company specializing in voice greetings. Instead of sending flowers with a note, Greeting Call users can record a personal voice message — which is later retrieved by the recipient using an access code provided with the delivery.
This year’s Business Plan Competition included a category for home-based businesses to allow a level playing field for qualifying plans. The winner of the home-based business category and a $5,000 award was Hand in Hand: Heroes in Training, a patent-pending product that allows children to create stories where they are the main characters.
In addition to the Business Plan Competition prizes, the Kevin and Debra Rollins Center for eBusiness awarded $5,000 to SchoolTipline for being the best e-business venture, and the Kay and Yvonne Whitmore Global Management Center awarded $3,000 to Klymit for the best new international business venture.
The competition was founded in 1993 by BYU’s Center for Entrepreneurship and is run by more than two dozen MBA students and a faculty advisor. The annual event is recognized as one of the top-tier business plan competitions in the nation in terms of prizes and participation. Successes from past Business Plan Competitions include Calle, 1-800-CONTACTS, uSight, Property Solutions and Alianza.
For this and other Marriott School press releases, visit the online newsroom at marriottschoool.byu.edu/news.
Writer: Irasema Romero