Donors Give Back with Pitch Competition
Alumni Doug (’94) and Diane (’95) Villhard awarded $6,000 to Truman students as part of the inaugural Bulldog B.I.T.E. elevator pitch competition.
An elevator pitch outlines the concept or idea for a product, service or project in a short period of time, typically from 30 seconds to three minutes. The length of the pitch mirrors the time spent waiting for and riding an elevator in a high-rise building. The purpose of the pitch is to spur the interest of a potential investor or financial backer.
Bulldog B.I.T.E., which stands for Business Innovation by Truman Entrepreneurs, allowed participants to pitch a for-profit or not-for-profit concept. Judges selected six teams to attend the live pitch competition in March in St. Louis to present their product to an alumni panel. Contestants were judged based on the problem, product/service solution, market, competition, value creation, seed money, a Q&A session and the presentation of the project.
William Fries, a junior computer science major, won first prize and earned $3,000. Fries won for his pitch of a small USB security device for protecting digital data, such as emails, passwords or encryption keys. The product keeps data offline and securely encrypted, while still allowing for easy access with a short pin.
Anthony Hill, a junior accounting major, won second place and $2,000 for SpiroRip, a notebook ripping device. Stephen Cutler, a junior business administration major, received third place and $1,000 for Lily Luggage, a luggage concept that combines motorized wheels with Bluetooth technology.
The judges for Bulldog B.I.T.E. were alumni Stacey George (’00), Amanda Gioia (’93), John Haney (’01), Marco Ilardi (’99), Chris LeBeau (’05), Cody Sumter (’10) and Kevin Tibbs (’95).