sealPurdue News

February 21, 2002

Purdue entrepreneurial competition showcases new technologies

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University student teams will vie for thousands of dollars in venture capital and other support to fly their fledgling ventures during the 15th annual Burton D. Morgan Entrepreneurial Competition on Feb. 28.

Shailendra Mehta, director of the Krannert School Entrepreneurship Initiative, said the prize money has gone up from $54,000 last year to $85,000, making the event the largest university-sponsored student entrepreneurism competition award in existence.

The awards for the top teams are:

– First prize: $30,000
– Second prize: $15,000
– Third prize: $12,000
– Fourth prize: $10,000
– Fifth prize: $7,000

The best undergraduate team entry will have $5,000 added to any prizes it wins.

This year's five semifinalist entries include business plans to provide pet owners with better tasting medicine for their pets, cell phone users with the means to find out if and who is listening in on their conversations, chemists with optical spectroscopy tools, shoppers with ethnic food ordered from the Web and physicians with practice-management tools.

There also are products for landlords, hedge fund investors, bikers, diabetics and others.

The five finalist teams will have 20 minutes to present their business plans to a panel of nine venture capitalist judges from 8 a.m. to noon in the Krannert School auditorium. Teams will then field 10 minutes of judges' questions.

Ten other teams will have the opportunity to make "elevator pitches" – one-minute presentations of their plans – followed by one minute to answer judges' questions.

The most effective fast pitch will receive $3,000; second place wins $2,000; the third-place team receives $1,000.

Winners will be announced during a 1 p.m. awards program and luncheon in Krannert Center's Weiler Lounge.

"The Burton Morgan Entrepreneurial Competition offers the serious start-up funding it takes to turn ideas into products or services," Mehta said. "You might have the greatest gadget in the world, but if no one will buy it, you are out of luck."

In addition to the prize money, the top projects get reduced-price office space in the Purdue Research Park and access to consultants and other resources to help get the fledgling enterprises off the ground. The contestants have been working on their products, proposals and marketing plans since the beginning of fall semester.

All Purdue students can participate in the event. Non-students – such as students from other colleges, Purdue alumni, faculty and local residents – also can be team members, but Purdue students must make the final presentations to the judges.

Mehta said 150 students prepared 54 business plans for this year's competition.

Kintan D. Brahmbhatt, a junior in the School of Science and second-place finisher in last year's competition for software that provides online medical records and billing services to hospitals and other healthcare facilities, said, "The Burton Morgan Competition gave me a hands-on experience and knowledge of indispensable topics such as marketing, business-plan presentation and finance.

"Workshops and one-on-one meetings with experts were more helpful than the prize money when we actually went out in the market."

Judges are John Aplin, co-managing general partner of CID Equity Partners in Indianapolis; Jim Anderson, founding partner of Foundation Capital and Legacy Ventures in Palo Alto, Calif.; Don N. Aquilano, managing director of Gazelle TechVentures in Indianapolis; Joseph E. DeGroff, partner in Ice Miller Donadio & Ryan and founding partner of the law firm's Strategic Advisors Group in Indianapolis; David Geliebter, founder of Carrot Capital in New York; Tim Hiatt, managing director of Centerfield Capital Partners L.P. in Indianapolis; Tim Schiegel, director of Blue Chip Venture Co. in Cincinnati; Teri Willey, partner ARCH Development Partners in Chicago; Robert Zieserl, managing partner of KB Partners in Northbrook, Ill.

Mehta said judges will choose the winners based on the potential of the start-ups. "The business plans won't be perfect, but the teams must communicate the vision and potential of their ideas," he said.

The competition is sponsored by Purdue alumnus and entrepreneur Burton D. Morgan, founder of six corporations and past president of Basic Service Co., an idea-development company; the Krannert School of Management; the Purdue Schools of Engineering; and the Purdue School of Science.

Also sponsoring this year's competition is Ice Miller Donadio & Ryan. The law firm is providing $10,000 in prize money and $10,000 worth of legal services.

The Center for Entrepreneurship will be located at Purdue's recently announced $100 million Discovery Park. In addition to the entrepreneurship competition, the center will house the Innovation Realization Laboratory, Engineering Projects in Community Service and the Technology Transfer Initiative.

Writer: J.M. Lillich, (765) 494-2077,

Sources: Shailendra Mehta, (765) 494-5703,

Kintan D. Brahmbhatt, (765) 495-5426,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Related Web site:
Purdue University Burton D. Morgan Entrepreneurial Initiative

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