Future Founders 4th Annual U.Pitch National College Elevator Pitch Competition & Showcase Presented by Capital One by Elisa Schmitz, 30Seconds
"Every youth can become an entrepreneur." That's what Scott Issen, President & CEO of Future Founders, says about his mission to immerse young people in experiences that "inspire and empower them to create their own opportunity." Issen believes this can lead to a generation that is more determined, hopeful and equipped to create the future.
That's why Future Founders launched the U.Pitch National College Elevator Pitch Competition & Showcase, which brings together the best students from a cross-section of universities to compete in the ultimate national elevator pitch competition. Students have 90 seconds to pitch their businesses as they compete for national recognition and a prize pool of $10,000. In the process, they showcase their startups in front of hundreds of entrepreneurs, investors, business leaders and the entrepreneurial community.
Future Founders, with the support of sponsor Capital One, hosted its 4th annual U.Pitch competition on November 16, 2017, at the tech incubator 1871 in Chicago's Merchandise Mart. To a standing-room-only crowd, six finalists (narrowed down from 18 semi-finalists) competed for top honors and cash prizes, in front of an illustrious panel of incredible judges:
- Laura Bailey, SVP Community Development Banking/Community Finance, Capital One
- Dima Elissa, CEO & Founder, VisMed•3D
- Logan LaHive, Managing Director, Techstars Chicago
- Matthew Rooda, President & CEO, SwineTech, Inc. (2016 U.Pitch Winner)
- Alisha Slye, Global Director, Blackstone LaunchPad
"Capital One positions themselves as a technology company," Issen says. "They support everything we do to inspire entrepreneurs, from elementary to millennial age and beyond. They were the first corporation to jump on board with us for our work with millennials. Tonight is a celebration of the great work we’ve done together."
But more than just a bank or a tech company, Capital One, through its initiative called "Future Edge," is enhancing the well-being of individuals and families in its local communities. "We focus on issues that strengthen our communities and prepare them for robust economic futures," says Laura Bailey, Capital One's senior vice president of community development banking and community finance.
"If you're a founder, your story is our story, because Capital One is a founder-led company," says Bailey. "This is an amazing group of companies. Here in this room tonight, the potential of these special young people ... it's a wonderful thing to be part of."
Make sure to watch this video interview of Scott Issen and Laura Bailey talking about the collaboration between Future Founders and Capital One!
The six inspiring finalists were compelling in their own ways, but the winners of this year's Future Founders U.Pitch Competition are:
- First place: SnapClips, an innovative and safer way to secure barbells/weights (and other things).
- Second place: Piero, making doors more accessible to those with disabilities.
- Third place: KinoSol SBC, working on reducing food waste with an innovative dehydration process.
- Fourth place: mXers Audio, creating a customizable headphone experience.
Congratulations to all the winners, and to every company that competed in U.Pitch 2017. You're all amazing. We look forward to next year's competition!
Disclosure: 30Seconds was paid to be a correspondent for Capital One. As always, our reporting is honest and our opinions are our own!
Scott Issen, President and CEO of Future Founders, addresses the crowd.
U.Pitch 2017 semi-finalists awaiting results.
U.Pitch 2017 judges Laura Bailey, Dima Elissa, Logan LaHive, Matthew Rooda and Alisha Slye (with Scott Issen).
Fourth place: mXers Audio, creating a customizable headphone experience.
Third place: KinoSol SBC, working on reducing food waste with an innovative dehydration process.
Second place: Piero, making doors more accessible to those with disabilities.
First place: SnapClips, an innovative and safer way to secure barbells/weights (and other things).
30Seconds' Elisa All Schmitz livestreaming an interview with Laura Bailey and Scott Issen at U.Pitch 2017.
All the winners of U.Pitch 2017!