The First Pitch of the Season

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Let the pitching begin …

Wharton Entrepreneurship recently hosted its second Spring Startup Pitch at Wharton | San Francisco. Twelve early-stage startup teams, consisting of current Wharton | San Francisco students and Bay Area Wharton/Penn alumni (within three years of graduation), each had the opportunity to pitch their ventures before two judging panels comprised of established venture capitalists, angel investors and entrepreneurs (many Wharton alumni). Venture teams received coaching and practical feedback essential to each venture’s development.

It’s always exciting to see students participate across our programs, and this was no exception with two of the pitching teams selected as semi-finalists in the Wharton Business Plan Competition. Input from the Spring Startup Pitch judges helped these two teams fine-tune their presentations for the BPC semi-finalist pitches, which took place the next day.

Second-year MBA Gavin Whiteley, founder of Showlingo, shared that he “was pleasantly blown away by the caliber and interest of the judges, and glad to see that by fate or luck I was paired with the judges most relevant to my business idea.”

The attentive audience at the San Francisco campus

The attentive audience at the San Francisco campus

The day concluded with an evening networking reception for the teams, judges and members of the Wharton entrepreneurial community, where teams delivered lively elevator pitches. One of the venture teams, Bandar Foods, co-founded by Dan Garblik, WG’11, and Lalit Kalani, WG’11, provided tastings of their Spicy Mango and (otherwise sold-out) Mint Cilantro chili sauces to the crowd.

Heartfelt thanks go out to our Spring Startup Pitch judges, who help to build a tight and collaborative Wharton Entrepreneurship community. They included: Joseph Ansanelli, W’92, partner, Greylock; Andrew Chung, WG’06, partner, Khosla Ventures; Jeff Fluhr, ENG’96, W’96, co-founder and CEO, Spreecast; co-founder and former CEO, StubHub; Jay Jamison, WG’98, venture partner, BlueRun Ventures; Gareth Keane, WG’10, investment manager, Qualcomm Ventures; Eurie Kim, WG’09, principal, Forerunner Ventures; Noah Shanok, WG’04, founder and CEO, Stitcher; Ashmeet Sidana, WG’03, general partner, Foundation Capital; Jon Soberg, WG’09, managing director, Blumberg Capital; A.T. (Andrew Trader), W’91, WG’99, venture partner, Maveron; Ravi Viswanathan, ENG’90, WG’98, general partner, New Enterprise Associates (NEA); and Andrea Zurek, founding partner, XG Ventures.

Editor’s note: This post first appeared on Wharton’s Entrepreneurship Blog on March 29, 2013.

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