Categories:  Students

Student entrepreneurs win at business plan competition

MBA students with first-place check for business plan competition.

MBA students Kristen Perhach, Anthony Mammana-Lupo and Alex Duchak won first place for their business plan for ThirtyFiveK Inc. Photo: Julie Jaidinger

A plan to provide an environmentally friendly, water-repellant industrial coating that prevents corrosion and mineral build-up won UIC’s eighth annual Concept2Venture Business Plan Competition this week.

The plan for ThirtyFiveK Incorporated, an industrial coating provider, took the $2,500 top prize and the competition’s $500 Clean and Green award. The team, made up of three MBA students in UIC’s Liautaud Graduate School of Business, beat out four other teams for top honors in the final round of the two-day event.

Another UIC team, EverFile Systems, which provides a highly scalable data backup and recovery solution that can prevent outages while saving companies up to 90 percent in data storage costs, won the $1,000 second-place prize and the $500 Fan Favorite award.

ThirtyFiveK is Anthony Mammana-Lupo (director of finance), Alex Duchak (director of strategy and operations), and Kristen Perhach (president and director of marketing). The startup licensed a durable super-hydrophobic coating that is believed to be the most water repellant substance on earth.

When applied to industrial surfaces that are subject to mineral build-up and corrosion, the coating can prevent fouling that wastes energy and is expensive to remove. According to the company, the coating is safe for food processing  and may have applications in industries ranging from power generation to seawater desalination. It was developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory by John Simpson, a senior research scientist.

The Concept2Venture competition, often called C2V, showcases the talent, resources and innovations in all 15 of UIC’s colleges that are available to the Chicago business community.

“C2V provides a forum for students to present their original business plans to mentors and potential investors,” says Rod Shrader, Denton Thorne Chair in Entrepreneurship and faculty director of the UIC Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. “The feedback they receive is invaluable. In addition, the excitement surrounding C2V helps cultivate and maintain a culture of entrepreneurship throughout UIC.”

The competition is sponsored by the UIC College of Business Administration and the Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies.

Complete C2V competition results:

•First Place, $2,500: ThirtyFiveK Incorporated
•Second Place, $1,000: EverFile Systems
•Best Elevator Pitch, $1,000: Health on Time
•Clean and Green award, $500: ThirtyFiveK Incorporated
•Fan Favorite award, $500: EverFile Systems

Other finalists were: HopSpot ($500), 2DP ($500), and RoadiesOnRoad ($500).