The top cash prize of $25,000 in the fourth annual GW Business Plan Competition went to WiseAgg, a start-up search engine for analysts developed by two-man team.
“We are very excited to win,” said Nan Zhang, GW associate professor of computer science, who created the start-up with Zhuojie Zhou, a doctoral student in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. WiseAgg looks at analytics data from deep web sources that traditional search engines can’t reach.
“What is especially rewarding is not just the outcome, but the entire experience of participating in this program,” Zhang said.
The final round in the competition, which is a project of GW’s Office of Entrepreneurship, was held April 13 at GWSB. An additional $26,000 in cash prizes was split among second, third and fourth runners-up; one winning undergraduate team and one “audience choice” winner.
This year, the competition had a record-number of entrants — 144 — representing all GW’s schools and colleges. John Rollins, a GWSB adjunct professor of entrepreneurship and the competition’s founder and director, estimated that competition prizes reach $75,000 when the value of legal and consulting services that are also awarded are factored in. That is more than double the roughly $30,000 in cash and service prizes awarded when the competition began in 2009.
“It’s kind of gone viral on campus,” Rollins said, crediting the increase in prize money and students’ growing interest in entrepreneurial businesses with the competition’s rise in popularity. “One person told me they didn’t know of any other activity at GW that got everyone involved in every school and college on the campus. “
From the original pool of entrants, 32 semi-finalists emerged. The top winner beat seven other teams in Friday’s final round.
New this year was the “Audience Choice Award,” with the winner determined by viewers who watched live video and voted for their favorite team via Twitter. The winner of that $1,000 award was AthleteTrax, a web-based, client-management platform for college athletic administrators and student-athletes to increase productivity. AthleteTrax also won the $10,000 second-place prize and the $10,000 undergraduate team prize for $21,000 in total winnings.
The annual Competition is sponsored by donors Richard and Annette Scott. Their daughter, Allison Scott Guimard, received a BBA from GWSB in 2005.
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Posted by gwsb on April 17, 2012 | Filed under: GWSB News.