Pitch Slam 2015

Pitch Slam! on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, 4-6 PM, at the Merrill Cultural Center was a huge success! CIED received a slew of entries for this student business-pitch competition and felt compelled to allow more than its original 16-pitch limit into Pitch Slam! to pitch live! The event reached an attendance of about 100 people, not including the 30 student competitors representing 18 business pitches. The business pitches represented a wide variety of business types, including for-profit and non-profit, small-scale and global-scale, tech and non-tech. The audience members got to vote for the top pitch after five or four pitches, so voted four times, using a text-messaging online vote-tallying system.

Pitch Slam! audience continued to grow as the event got underway CIED Director Sue Carter instructs the audience how to vote by text message Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies Tyrus Miller votes along with other Pitch Slam audience members for a pitch by text message Pitch Slam! competitors

The top two vote-getters of each of the four groups of four or five gave us our eight finalists, and CIED’s panel of entrepreneur judges selected the top four pitches out of those eight voted for by the audience. CIED Director Sue Carter gave the judges the option of making one save out of the ten pitches that didn’t make the audience’s cut, and they ended up deciding to exercise that option in deciding the top four winners:

  • Aesthetica, a software game, by Spencer Butterfield
  • Coco’s Underarm Potion, an all-natural, organic, Earth-friendly deodorant, by Sofia Vermeulen
  • Smart Mix, an online art- and tech-community connection service, by Alex Tai and Alex Price
  • UniTea, a home bobo-milk-tea maker, by Chase Armer, Erica Lee, and Jeffrey Zhang

CIED congratulates these four Pitch Slam! winners! Each pitch individual or team receives $500 and CIED’s invitation to compete in its spring Business Design Showcase.

Spencer Butterfield of Aesthetica, a software game Sofia Vermeulen of Coco's Underarm Potion, a deodorant Alex Tai and Alex Price of Smart Mix, an online art- and tech-community connection service Erica Lee, Chase Armer, and Jeffrey Zhang of UniTea, a home bobo-milk tea maker

The judges also noted two honorable mentions:

  • SConnect, an online student entrepreneur connection service, by Rohit Falor
  • Sensor, a food toxin tester, by Reema Eid and Brooks Labell

These two businesses are also invited by CIED to compete in the Business Design Showcase.

Our entrepreneur judges were:

  • Angela Alejandro, Founder, Scotts Valley Consulting, Inc.
  • Sam Badawi, retired executive and member of SCORE Santa Cruz County
  • Ned LeBlond, Founder and Director, EquityStone
  • Anthony Pratkanis, Professor of Psychology, UCSC
  • David Silverglate, CEO, Thoughtfull Toys, and a UCSC alumnus

Pitch Slam! Entrepreneur Judges David Silverglate, Ned LeBlond, Anthony Pratkanis, Angela Alejandro, and Sam Badawi

Other participants:

  • Alex Tai Participation Technology, live audience sensory participation, by Alex Tai
  • Art CRAWLER, Community Art/Entrepreneur Vehicle, by Sean Pace, Allison Devlin, Michael Markson, and Anthony Penna
  • DiFi Records, music dissemination and marketing service, by Delek Miller
  • Garber Business Recycling by Holly Garber
  • Gene Genie, paper waste to biofuel converter, by Andre Baxter, Reema Eid, John Poncini, Abdullah Tamimi, and Blanca Villa
  • Heartbeat Analytics, real-time heartrate feedback at live events, by Viktor Jankov and Joseph Sokol
  • Novateur, online club information and connection service, by Vernon Coleman and Kevin Robertson
  • ReydeReyes Productions, video-production service, by José Reyes
  • Slug Lords, online tenant community, by William Conrad
  • Swapsters, exchangeable shoe treads, by John Elliott and Tyler Schirmer
  • UniEdu, student record transferring service, by Wannian Li and Wenxue Zheng
  • Volume, student laundry service, by Arooj Ahmad, Jonathan Hsu, Zhill Olonan, and Trevor Shan

Check out the KZSC Interview of CIED Program Assistant Sonya Newlyn by Nada Miljkovic about Pitch Slam!

Co-Sponsored by:

Division of Graduate Studies
Crown College
City of Santa Cruz Economic Development Office (EDO)
EDO's Project for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (PIE)

Santa Cruz Economic Development and Project for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Logos