On Thursday, April 21st, the Jay Hurt Hub for Innovation and Entrepreneurship trekked over to the Knobloch Campus Center to host the Nisbet Venture Fund Pitch Competition. Of our eight competing teams, the Davidson classes of 2019, 2020, 2022, 2023, and 2024 were represented, as well as a diverse range of majors. With over 60+ attendees, our pitch competition was ready for success.
To break it down
There are two tracks any Davidson student or recent alumni can choose to compete in. The Incubation Track is intended for newly formed ideas and all competitors are eligible to win $2,500. The Acceleration Track’s competitors have invested more time and resources into their idea prior to the time of application and the winner receives $25,000 for their pitch. This year, five ventures competed on the Incubation Track and three ventures competed on the Acceleration Track.
Our panel of judges, Anjali Shah, Kristi Mitchem, W. Spencer Mitchem, and Jay Hurt, listened to eight pitches throughout the night. Incubation teams presented two-minute pitches and Acceleration teams presented their ideas for five minutes, followed by a two-minute Q&A panel.
Now onto our winners
All eight ventures were eligible to win our Audience Choice award, where the team with the most audience votes would win $5,000. Rise Together won this year’s Audience Choice. Founded by Tasos Pagounas ‘23 and Christos Koumpotis ‘23, Rise Together is a job searching application that matches young professionals with opportunities based on their skillsets. As young people and as unemployment rates in youth groups continue to grow, Rise Together focuses on connecting talent with small businesses to combat rising rates.
For the Incubation track, Davidson NFTickets took the top prize. Davidson NFTickets was conceived and created by Olsen Budanur ‘23, Andrew Beamer ‘24, Niya Ma ‘24, and Danny Oukolov ’24. When Davidson and other colleges sell tickets to games, shows, or other events, they often use a third-party system to distribute and sell the tickets. Davidson NFTickets proposes a decentralized system to sell and purchase tickets using NFTs. With a massive NFT market starting to bloom, Davidson NFTicket’s venture is set up for success.
Our Acceleration track winner is Carson Crochet with her venture: CA’Buddy. After learning that her mother had been diagnosed with cancer, Carson wanted to give her something. She ended up gifting her a small crocheted bunny and sending it to her mom. The small bunny plush soon become a source of comfort for her mother and enabled the two of them to talk about difficult subjects in an easier way. Carson realized that other cancer patients might benefit from the same sort of comfort. Instead of bunnies, Carson decided to start making plush naked mole rats because they are extremely resistant to cancer. Carson’s plush toys can be ordered and sent as a patient care package, for just $35. Carson received the top prize of the night: $25,000 to continue her work in CA’Buddy, pro bono legal services from Michael Brand, and free financial consulting from Northwestern Mutual. Congratulations Carson!
The Hurt Hub is so proud of all the contestants and all they’ve accomplished! Thank you to all the volunteers and Hurt Hub team for putting on another successful competition season.