2007 Olin Cup finalists offer wide range of product and service ideas

From home-delivered soup to house calls, the finalists for the 2007 Olin Cup Competition were announced Thursday, Nov. 8. Six teams, including four student-owned or student-supported ventures, remain in the annual business formation contest organized by the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Washington University in St. Louis.

This year’s finalists were selected from a field of 12 teams. Ultimately, two teams will win up to $70,000 in seed investment capital and a student-owned or – supported team will win a $5,000 cash prize. Two new Olin Cup sponsors, RubinBrown and Senniger Powers, will provide additional awards of in-kind services, bringing the total awards up to nearly $100,000.

This year’s finalists are (* = student-owned or student-supported venture):

• Human Equity,* an online equity market that invests in students and their education

• IsThatOneGood,* a website that uses users’ opinions to generate relevant, accurate product recommendations and meaningful discussion

• Magnetic Connection Technologies,* which is developing a technology to change the way consumers plug in cords and screw in light bulbs

• Medi-bite,* a disposable physical therapy device aimed at restoring jaw function to people afflicted with jaw joint injury

• Personal Pediatrics, a retainer-based house call practice method that provides HIPAA-compliant, boutique, patient-focused health care

• Soup Says It All, which packages chicken noodle soup in a mug with a cloth napkin and metal spoon as a “thinking of you” gift they will ship anywhere in the U.S.

A description of the proposals can be found on www.ideabounce.com. The finalists will now submit business plans and make final presentations to judges in January, with winners of the 2007 Olin Cup announced at a public event on Thursday, February 7.

“The number of student submissions increased this year, and we were pleased with the quality in this year’s competition,” said Ken Harrington, Managing Director of the Skandalaris Center. “Programs like IdeaBounce and Coffee with the Experts seem to be really helping the region’s idea-stage entrepreneurs. Olin Cup progress signals the continued growth of the entrepreneurial environment on campus.”

The Olin Cup competition was founded in 1988 as part of The Hatchery entrepreneurship course at the Olin School of Business. The competition began awarding up to $70,000 in seed funding in 2001 with the support of the Skandalaris family. In 2005 the competition began awarding the best student teams a $5,000 cash prize.

In 2003, the Kauffman Foundation selected WUSTL as one of eight U.S. universities to share $25 million in grants through a program designed to make entrepreneurship education available across campuses and transform the way entrepreneurship is viewed, taught and experienced. WUSTL received a $3 million grant and now has 37 course offerings spanning all degree types and levels.