Two IU student teams share $200,000 start-up investment as BEST contest winners
May 13, 2013
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Teams of Indiana University students who created a real-time interactive platform for sports fans and an Internet-based tuxedo rental business that provides online fittings have won IU Bloomington's BEST Competition. Each start-up company, founded by students from Kelley School of Business and the School of Informatics and Computing, will receive a $100,000 investment.
BEST competition winners, from left, Eric Wertenberger, Devin Powell, Justin Delaney, Kurt Sutton and Michael Gassman.
As winners of the second annual Building Entrepreneurs in Software and Technology competition, the five students -- two from Fandio.fm, the fan interaction business, and three from Menguin, the tuxedo rental business -- will work with the group of CEOs and entrepreneurs who form the BEST investors group, receiving mentoring and strategic support, in addition to the start-up funding.
Menguin was founded by Justin Delaney, Michael Gassman and Kurt Sutton, while Eric Wertenberger and Devin Powell formed Fandio.fm. Delaney, Gassman and Sutton all earned MBAs this year. Wertenberger earned a Bachelor of Science from Kelley in 2013, and Powell earned a Bachelor of Science in informatics in 2012.
School of Informatics and Computing Dean Bobby Schnabel and Associate Dean Dennis Groth, and Donald F. Kuratko, director of the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship, joined a team of 14 private business owners who invested in the 2013 competition in judging the 32 submissions received from IU Bloomington students.
"The BEST competition, which is the largest student start-up pool in the nation for students of a single university, offers wonderful opportunities to IU students," Schnabel said. "We are extremely grateful to the distinguished group of investors, almost all of whom are IU alumni, for their dedicated participation which includes not only judging but mentoring the competitors and serving as board members and advisors for the winning teams."
Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder and the leader of the investor group, added, "The quality of the submissions in this second year of the competition was very high and made selecting the winners enjoyable and challenging. We were particularly impressed by the growth in maturity of the ideas in the second year of the BEST competition and are excited at the prospects for the selected companies. All of the investors value the contributions that BEST is making to the entrepreneurial climate of IU and to economic development in Bloomington and Indiana."
Fandio.fm is a social platform for users to experience sports and live events with friends and other fans while allowing bloggers, celebrities and casual fans to create and hear live, alternative audio commentaries. Users listen and engage in analyses and discussions, via a chat room, that appeal specifically to them while watching an event on television.
The founders of Fandio.fm said their real-time interactive product offers more than similar streaming products that have an eight-second delay. It also has the appeal of connecting users with targeted advertising and offering commentary from broadcasters with relevant social media followings.
The Internet-based tuxedo rental company Menguin plans to use technology and character to profit in an industry the founders say is ripe for disruption. Using technology to obtain tailor measurements via webcam, and then shipping rental tuxedos in patented "Tuxboxes," the founders said they could reduce the time a customer spends renting a tuxedo from 3.25 hours to less than 10 minutes.
The team said they wanted Menguin to create a "bachelor party culture" and brand image, supported in part by a "ManBlog" and additional creative marketing and public relations efforts.
The investor group for the 2013 BEST competition, with any IU affiliation they may have, includes Ferguson (B.A., political science, 1989); Mary Delaney, CEO of Luceo Solutions (B.S., marketing, 1986); Scott Dorsey, CEO of ExactTarget (B.S., business, 1989); Chris Baggott, CEO of Compendium Software and ExactTarget co-founder; Mark Cuban, CEO of Dallas Mavericks (B.S., business, 1981); Scott Etzler, CEO of Intercall (B.S., business, 1975); David Ferguson, partner at Ferguson and Ferguson (B.S., business, 1978; J.D., 1981); Steve Ferguson, chairman of The Cook Group (J.D., 1966); Gary Graham, CEO of Lionshead Tire and Wheel (B.A., economics, 1989); Indiana University Research and Technology Corp.; Mat Orrego, CEO of Cornerstone Information Systems (B.S., business, 1985); Eric Taylor, CEO of Taylor Building Corp. (B.S., business, 1987); Jay Wilkinson, CEO of PeopleLink Staffing (B.S., public affairs, 1985); Cheng Wu, serial entrepreneur and chairman of Azuki Systems (M.S., computer science, 1977); and Farhan Yasin, CEO of Snehta.
For more information, please contact Steve Chaplin, IU Communications, at 812-856-1896 or firstname.lastname@example.org.