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Entries narrowed down in the latest round of Olin’s $50K pitch competition with P&Q


And then there were 12.

Three months after inviting entries for a joint pitch competition sponsored by WashU Olin and Poets & Quants, judges have pared down the 167 startup plans to just 12. Those will be further trimmed to a list of teams that will present their pitch with a $50,000 prize on the line.

The online B-school publisher gave a rundown this week on the progress so far in Olin’s BIG IdeaBounce, powered by Poets & Quants.

“The ideas poured in from student entrepreneurs in every corner of the world, from PhD candidates and MBA students to undergraduates,” wrote P&Q‘s editor and founder, John Byrne. “They were often backed by thoughtful analysis, competitive research, and go-to-market strategies that would put a smile on any angel investor’s face. And those ideas dazzled in every field, from telemedicine and cheaper food delivery to support of fisheries and water bottles for surfing wetsuits.”

The competition partnership launched in the wake of Olin’s third consecutive No. 1 placement in P&Q‘s ranking of the best MBA entrepreneurship programs globally.

Some of the startup proposals “are highly complex, requiring sophisticated engineering and design; others are smart, yet simple ideas to address market gaps,” Byrne wrote. “All are well thought-out, heavily researched, and staffed with teams that can implement the dreams of their founders.”

Final presentations are planned for March 3. Those will be recorded and the pitch session will premier on March 22.

The competition drew a crush of entries before the deadline, including plans from 22 WashU teams. Entries arrived from around the globe, from schools including Wharton, Indiana, Stanford, Babson, Georgetown, Chicago Booth, Rice, USC, Columbia, Penn, ASU, Emory, University of British Columbia, UCLA, Dartmouth (Tuck), Northwestern (Kellogg), Michigan, BYU, University of Ghana, Alabama, University of Manchester, UNC Chapel Hill, Iowa State, American University, Michigan State and more.

“I love seeing the entrepreneurial spirit alive and well out there in the next generation,” Doug Villhard, academic director of Olin’s entrepreneurship program, told Byrne. “I can’t wait to see who wins this year and how much bigger we expect this competition to become in the years ahead. These are exactly the types of students that are attracted to our MBA program at WashU Olin and I’m sure the other top programs as well. The entrants are smart, hard-working, and have the right type of hustle that top VCs and employers could only hope to find.”

The finalists

  • Team Budeli: A property tech amenity that provides free food delivery for tenants in higher end residential apartments.
  • Team Tylmen: A sizing technology to help people shop for apparel online with confidence by automatically choosing the best fit clothing for them.
  • Team OnDeck Fisheries AI: A monitoring tool for fisheries that satisfies regulatory needs using AI instead of humans to automatically quantify catch; revolutionizing marine conservation while cutting costs by a factor of 10.
  • Team Cartik: A socially responsible business with the goal of repurposing plastic waste in Africa into sustainable textiles for the global market.
  • Team MiDoc: An at-home medical device that allows physicians to remotely conduct lung and heart physical exams.
  • Team IMA Blends: A healthy snack that provides key nutrition for pregnant and nursing women, with no sugar added, dairy-free, organic, and with clean ingredients.
  • Team Pareto: A direct-to-consumer, women’s apparel brand that makes the best version of the clothing women actually wear using industry-leading, farm-to-closet supply chain.
  • Team SurfStraw: The first-ever water bottle designed for surfing wet suits.
  • Team PedalCell: A bicycle power source that converts a cyclist’s motion into continuous charge for lights, smartphones, GPS and other essential USB devices.
  • Team Green Room: Simplifies payments and tax compliance for the live music industry.
  • Team Resense: A Memory Box toolkit designed to bring comfort and joy to those living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
  • Team RHM Innovations Inc.: Products to help people who have difficulty performing Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). The first product, the Aiding Arm, helps users to bathe more comfortably and independently.





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