News and Events
Application for iPhone Wins Pepperdine University 2009 Business Plan Competition
Pepperdine Executive MBA students Pratish Shah and Froi Lomotan won the $15,000 grand prize at the Fifth Annual Pepperdine University 2009 Business Plan Competition, held Saturday, Mar. 14, and sponsored by Santa Barbara Bank & Trust. The team's proposal for their recently launched venture, Locaxion, specializing in GPS-enabled smart phone applications for golfers, triumphed among the event's four finalists.
Locaxion recently launched AirVue Golf, an app for Apple’s iPhone. The satellite rangefinder software enables golfers to accurately measure distances to any point on the green and see those distances directly on a satellite image. Golfers can purchase dedicated electronic devices that accomplish the same, but those devices can run $400 or more. The fact that AirVue can be downloaded and run on the golfer’s existing mobile phone equates to substantial savings and convenience.
With their competition earnings and additional financing, Shah and Lomotan hope to introduce the app to the Blackberry and other smart phone platforms, as well as eventually expand into other GPS-assisted applications for hikers, bikers and similar outdoor enthusiasts needing precision location-based tracking tools and custom real-time data.
The competition was judged by a panel of seasoned entrepreneurs and investment professionals including Mark Miller, managing member, Miller Family Holdings LLC; Don Oparah, founding director, Venture Acceleration Initiative; John Rehfeld, Orange County chairman for the Forum for Corporate Directors; and John Shields, chairman emeritus, Trader Joe’s Company.
The judges awarded first runner-up to full-time MBA students Myles D. Weinstein and Jacob Ruytenbeek. Their impressive proposal for PaperChace received $5,000 toward a unique online questionnaire-driven litigation risk analysis tool for attorneys and mediators. The tool would help litigators understand and visualize the possible decision-points in their cases and its consequences, thus adding valuable, cost-saving quantitative analysis to the often more subjective decision-making calculations lawyers and mediators have to make on behalf of their clients.
The two remaining finalist teams each received $2,500 awards. MBAs Natalie Rebot, Chace Estes and Benjamin Anderson presented Chipinshop.com. The plan proposed an online gift registry destination in which friends and family may conveniently chip in toward a selected purchase for oneself or that special person.
Pepperdine MBA Franco Caporale, Adam Olsen of UC-Santa Barbara, and UCLA MBAs Andrew Elliott and Alex Rabiee presented the business plan for Lottay. Similarly, Lottay enabled friends and family members to create and manage online gift pages, wish lists and to send gift cards. Lottay launched last November and has quickly accumulated more than 200 beta users.
Chipinshop.com team-member Benjamin Anderson, MBA/JD 2009, also earned Pepperdine’s Socially Minded Entrepreneur Award. The $1,000 award recognizes a business plans, from among all those entered, that integrated a social enterprise mission throughout the plan.
About the Competition
Advised by Doug Howe, practitioner faculty of entrepreneurship, the Pepperdine University 2009 Business Plan Competition challenges students from all of Pepperdine's colleges and graduate schools to compete for financing toward an existing or proposed start-up venture, which is judged in elimination rounds by venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and faculty members. Founded in 2004 by the Malibu Graduate Business Society, the Full-time MBA program student government association for the Graziadio School of Business and Management, in association with the Entrepreneur Club, the competition provides a forum for entrepreneurial ideas and ventures to be realized with the support and resources of the entire Pepperdine community.