You’ve got a great business idea, and you’ve taken it as far as you can without some kind of investment, you need to tap up your connections to help you get that meeting with a VC or angel investor, you just went down to pick up a coffee and you’re on your way back up to your floor with the best networked guy you know, it’s time to roll out your elevator pitch. You have three minutes to convince him that this is a one-in-a-million idea that will make him or his contacts money… This is the pretext behind the ESADE MBA Elevator Pitch Contest held this week, organized by the ESADE Entrepreneurship Club and sponsored by Hard Rock Café. Pitching in front of their peers and a panel of judges, the ten finalists put forward innovative ideas such as: new approaches to advertising on food packaging; a system to deal with organic waste; rapid repair of grounded aircraft; tailor-made suits sold via an interactive social networking site; a way to ensure you get the right baby in IVF treatments; a new way of selling houses; a higher-return, lower risk microfinance project in India; a network to help you settle in to a new city better; a solution for parking problems in Barcelona and a new mobile payment system enabling ‘cash’ payments to be made by mobile phone. The panel, comprising ESADE MBA Alum turned venture
capitalist for Active Capital Partners, Blair McLaren and ESADE Entrepreneurship professor, Jordi Vinaixa, rated the pitches on the viability of idea itself, the potential market, the strength of the team, the possible competition and the presentation itself – criteria used by VC firms when considering projects to invest in. Mr. McLaren also gave participants an insight into how and what to pitch to VC’s as well as an overview of their project selection process.
Winner’s technology developed by UAB scientist met at ESADE’s Innovation Speed-dating event
Second year MBA student from the US, Eric King was declared the winner for his project, “Cell Tag” based on technology allowing a human egg cell to be tagged during IVF treatment. He noted that with increasing numbers of couples wishing to start a family later in their lives, this is a rapidly growing market, citing recent stories of baby mix-ups he highlighted that “couples will see the cell tagging as a kind of insurance against getting the wrong child.” The technology was developed by a scientist at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, who King met at the Innovation Speed Dating Event held at ESADE last month. In second place was Tobias Caldeweyher with “MAC Mobile Payment System”. Caldeweyher, a second year MBA student from Germany, talked of a world of charging mobile phones with cash, leaving pockets free from the weight of small change. The strength of his team particularly impressed the judges, comprising as it does a Japanese mobile technology expert, a Spanish marketer and a German e-commerce specialist, all current MBA students at ESADE. Third prize went to second year MBA student from Portugal, Pedro Martinho, for his concept “Aircraft on Ground”. Based on a niche in the market discovered during his previous experience as an engineer, Aircraft on Ground would offer a quick and efficient solution to the expensive problem of having grounded aircraft, greatly reducing the amount of time they are out of service. “More and more MBA students
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are looking towards entrepreneurship as a viable option post MBA and we want to encourage them through these kinds of events to help them see it as a possibility. Many of us have dabbled in entrepreneurship, so it’s also about sharing experiences” says President of the ESADE Entrepreneurship Club, Saurabh Prakash Mishra. “It’s also great there were two projects in the Elevator Pitch that have come out of the Innovation Speed-Dating Event we organized.” The next step in the process is ESADE Business Angels Network to be held in a couple of weeks, where participants will have the chance to pitch their ideas to the ESADEAlumni Business Angeles Club.