Georgetown Entrepreneurship hosted its third annual Bark Tank pitch competition on Nov. 14, when eight teams comprised of university students and alumni pitched their business ventures for a chance to win a share of $100,000 in cash prizes.
The livestreamed pitch event took place at the private research university’s McDonough School of Business; last year’s grand prize and people’s choice award winner Shavini Fernando emceed the night. The funding was sponsored by the Leonsis Family Entrepreneurship Prize, an organization investing in Georgetown-born startups.
Bark Tank was judged by a panel of eight startup and business experts including Steve Barnes, cofounder and president of Homesnap; Gina Raahauge, solution CTO at Amazon Web Services; and Ted Leonsis, founder, chairman, principal and CEO of Monumental Sports and Entertainment.
Current undergraduate and graduate students and alumni within six months of graduation were eligible to compete. The eight finalists ventures were (with descriptions provided by Georgetown Entrepreneurship):
- Global Unified Air Quality — An open-source AQ platform already shipping to communities worldwide that previously could not afford to monitor their air quality
- HealthCare Mobile — Increases healthcare outcomes for 200 million Nigerians by connecting them to community health workers within their local community to provide home-based primary care services
- Prosperity Fund — Provides seniors with more lucrative exits from their life insurance policies, while providing its investors with major returns that do not carry traditional market risk
- StrawZero — An easy-to-clean reusable straw system for restaurants, tackling the crisis of single-use plastic straw waste at its source
- SYNC — A developer of real-time payment ecosystems focused on completing seamless payments and accelerating their settlement
- UHustle — A marketplace for college students with side hustles, created for students and by students to help connect potential customers and student micro-entrepreneurs across campus
- Unveil — A wellness brand that raises awareness around women’s health through intimate apparel
- VentureLift Africa — A fintech and curation platform for scaling African startups and SMEs through innovative financing and curated matches with trade, supply chain, talent, transaction advisors and technology partners
Georgetown undergraduates and UHustle founders Christy Felix and Benjamin Ogbonna II took home the grand prize of $30,000.
“It means everything to me that Ted Leonsis and the judges believe in our business idea,” said Felix in a statement. “I am truly in awe that UHustle won the Leonsis Family Entrepreneurship Prize. We recognized that students today have difficulties balancing increasing academic costs and their college careers, which is why we created a platform that makes saving and making money while in college simple, painless and convenient so students can focus on what matters.”
#BarkTank 2019 winner: UHustle Inc
Christy Felix (B’20), Sinclaire Jones (B’22), and Benjamin Ogbonna II (B’20)- a marketplace for college students with side hustles, created for and by students to help connect potential customers and student micro-entrepreneurs across campus. pic.twitter.com/Kq40OXBJJt
— Georgetown McDonough (@msbgu) November 14, 2019
The teams behind Global Unified Air Quality and Unveil tied for second place, each receiving $20,000. HealthCare Mobile, Prosperity Life Fund, SYNC, StrawZero and VentureLift Africa were each awarded $5,000. StrawZero took home an additional $5,000 for the people’s choice award.