Over seventy people applied to make a pitch this year and selecting ten Finalists and two Alternates was a difficult task for the Selection Committee. We would like to congratulate the following Finalists and Alternates:
Zeko Abas, Kori Lambert, and Frank L. Russo - Touch Calendars, Pace University (Lubin eMBA)
Chiranjeey Bordoloi and Peter-Charles Bright - SweetShelter.com, Pace University (Seidenberg DPS)
Hardik Gohil - Renaissance*, Pace University (Lubin MBA)
Nicole S. Kendall - Applied Learning Initiative*, Pace University (Seidenberg MS)
* Social Venture (all others are New Business Concepts)
Pitch Summaries and Biographies
Life changes at a moment's notice. Today plans change so often that it becomes next to impossible to coordinate business, personal, and family events. As technology advances, we have become more connected, but less organized. Paper calendars do not adjust daily and cannot be viewed remotely; digital calendars cannot hang on the wall or bring the fun of pictures, and most do not synchronize with other calendars. Our new business venture, Touch Calendars, marries the best of digital and paper calendars. Built to hang on the wall and boasting a touch-screen interface, capabilities include synchronizing with other calendars, playing sounds, recording voice messages, scheduling alerts, showing views by person or dates, displaying custom pictures, keeping notes, and much more. Users can access www.TouchCalendars.com anywhere to view updated events and click to agree or disagree with availability. As events are entered or changed, people can receive updates through devices such as e-mail, PDAs, and cell phone text messages.
The Family Touch Calendar (the first of the Touch Calendars we plan to bring to market) is the gatekeeper of family events, warming the kitchen with a constant cycle of family photos. Moving forward, additional Touch Calendars will be introduced including The Athletic Touch Calendar (targeting sports fanatics with sports trivia and major events pre-programmed), The Artistic Touch Calendar (showing different artists and their work), The Culinary Touch Calendar (displaying different recipes and cooking ideas, etc), to name a few.
There is no calendar that can be found today to rival the Touch Calendar, but the necessary technology already exists. The technological challenge is merging the components (touch-screen, software, wireless capabilities, memory, etc.) in a way that will be both affordable and durable enough to hang on every kitchen wall.
Zeko Abas is a well-rounded telecommunications executive with 12 years of financial and sales related experience. With English as his fifth language, Zeko became the first in his family to earn both an undergraduate and a graduate degree. He is currently an eMBA student at Pace University and is expected to graduate in January 2007. In addition to working and studying full time, Zeko is a full time soccer and football coach for his three children.
Kori Lambert earned her BA at Eckerd College with majors in Russian Studies and Literature. She will earn her eMBA from Pace University in January 2007. With a piqued interest in Natural Language Processing, she went on to achieve an MSCSIS at Sacred Heart University. As a software engineer, she worked on a team of two that developed a speech recognition based system, resulting in three patents. Kori is now the US Regional Manager for the Microsoft Services team at UBS Investment Bank.
Frank L. Russo is an Assistant Vice President with Aon Horizon Consultants, a division of Aon, which provides insurance consulting services for Fortune 500 companies. He specializes in operational risk management and loss consulting as a direct extension of corporate business continuity strategies. His skills are utilized by clients in a broad array of industries, such as corporate banking, retail, broadcasting, real estate development, and a variety of manufacturing businesses. Frank graduated with a BS degree from Rutgers University. Frank attends Pace University and will earn his eMBA in January 2007.
Business Overview: Sweetshelter.com is a Web 2.0 new business concept focused on the residential rental real estate marketplace. It may be described as:
- "ebay.com for rentals" in markets where rental units are in short-supply
- "lendingtree.com for renter leads" in markets where tenants are in short-supply
These offerings have an addressable market size greater than $2.2 Billion.
SweetShelter has used $72,000 founder's investment to build and test the "lendingtree.com" component of the business model. With an angel investment of $1 Million the rental auction platform could be built and beta-launched. Alternatively, a VC investment of $2.5 Million would enable a quicker launch path to achieving a successful commercial rollout.
Market Size: 79 million renters in the U.S. occupying 34 million rental housing units. 158 million renters occupying 68 million rental units in other global markets.
- 1. Auction Fees
- 2. Highly qualified lead sales and subscriptions
- 3. Advertising (Video, CPA etc.)
Secret Sauce: Patent-pending business method for items 1 & 2 above.
Marketing and Sales: Integrated online and offline marketing campaign targeting landlords, consumers and real-estate professionals.
Competition: realtybid.com (real estate sales auctions) Note: We would have a distinct first-mover advantage in the real estate rental space
2-day controlled environment test results: For "lending tree.com" component of business model only:
- 890 unique visitors
- 306 visitors converted to registered users (34% conversion rate)
- $110 subscription revenue + $80 lead sales + $65 Google ad clicks
Exit Strategy: Develop a powerful brand, deliver an exceptional user experience, grow financial/user metrics exponentially and get acquired by a major portal or competitor within 2 - 3 years.
Chiranjeev Bordoloi is a DPS in Computing student at Pace University, expected to graduate in 2008. Mr. Bordoloi has successfully delivered complex multi-million dollar projects at IBM, Deloitte etc. in a variety of industries including the new media industry.
Peter-Charles Bright has successfully completed millions of dollars worth of rental transactions as an agent at NYC's largest real estate firm. He is a cum laude graduate of Harvard University. Both Mr. Bordoloi & Mr. Bright are members of the Real Estate Board of New York.
As human beings, we have an inherent desire to be loved and accepted. In the mad rush of today's world, most individuals around the world spend an enormous part of their lives filled with fear, stress and loneliness. The present world is crammed with people, who are not alone, but deep inside they are horribly lonely. This condition only worsens when people near their retirement age, accompanied with deteriorating health and a younger generation deeply indulged in the same mad rush with no time for others.
Renaissance aims at offering re-birth at retirement to people between 65 and 74 years of age who have already retired or are nearing retirement. A survey on demographic profiles by Metlife reveals that the US population between 65-74 years is approximately 20 million. By 2030, this population will more than double to 40 million, and by 2050 will grow to 50 million. Of this population, about 15% of men and 35% of women live alone.
At Renaissance, we have a whole new approach towards retirement. We strive to make retirement one of the best events that ever happened to elderly individuals. We believe that this is the age where one can actually relish life, allowing maximum time to spend for oneself, away form the hustle of the everyday life.
Renaissance would be an organization aimed at knowledge-based cultural exchange programs for the retired along with providing a one spot solution to many of the elderly needs. Renaissance would team up with hotels, airlines, credit card companies, banks, insurance companies, reputed portfolio management companies, hospitals and tourism and thus provide goods and services at a cheaper rate. The collaboration would be a win-win situation for all parties involved.
Born and raised in India, Hardik was exposed to diverse cultures and views right from childhood. His views and vistas were nurtured in his family. After his schooling, he made a diligent effort and got admission in the prestigious B.K. Majumdar Institute of Business Administration (BKMIBA) of H.L. College, Ahmedabad. Here he pursued his Bachelor's in Business Administration. The three-year course inculcated in him a strong foundation of the basic concepts of Business. Working at his family business during the summer strengthened his belief in financial management and to get further exposure in the field of finance, he pursued his Post-Graduate diploma in Investment and financial analysis from S.D Damodar School of Commerce, Ahmedabad, affiliated to Gujarat University.
He is currently in his first semester at the Lubin School of Business at Pace University. He is pursuing an MBA in financial management and aims to join a multi-national investment banking company upon graduating.
While pursuing their graduate degrees, students often hope for real world experience in order to apply their education to a tangible endeavor. Applied Learning Initiative is a social venture that provides such an experience, the opportunity to apply the theory, concepts and models that have been studied in the classroom to an actual organizational issue.
A team of 5-7 students will frame the problem, identify the key issues and determine the most appropriate solution. Students will meet with company representatives to present their findings and recommendations. The course would take place over the course of an academic semester/year and be supervised by a faculty member.
This concept will require minimal oversight from the University. Dean Hill has agreed to help generate initial support for this initiative within the business and university community. A committee of students and university administrators will work together to solicit new business clients. This course will be open to all university graduate students.
Organizations will benefit from the collective talents and focused efforts of cross-functional Pace student teams pooled together to produces well-reasoned analysis and applicable solutions to their organizational needs. The internship also provides a tangential recruiting opportunity for both students and companies alike.
Ultimately, this internship would provide Pace University with an excellent opportunity to showcase the talents and skills of its students while building and strengthening its relationship to the business community. For the student fortunate enough to participate, Applied Learning Initiative just may be the opportunity of a lifetime.
Nicole S. Kendall will earn her Masters in Telecommunications at Pace University's Ivan G. Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems in 2007. Her goal is to develop a successful career in securing and maintaining data effectively for end users while simultaneously increasing database functionality and security. Ms. Kendall's professional experience includes database management, unemployment tax analysis, and payroll administration. She has worked as a Consultant with the Domestic & Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church developing automated databases for their General Convention, which is held every three years to go over the governing of the Episcopal Church. Ms. Kendall also worked with Barnett Associates as a MIS Data Analyst, where she created and maintained financial ledgers to support unemployment tax decision-making.
Ms. Kendall is extremely involved in the graduate and alumni community at Pace University. She is a member of Professional Women in Corporate America and the Recent Alumni Committee. Recently she was a panelist for Pace University's Women in Computing Conference for high school girls. Ms. Kendall received a BS in Information Systems from Pace University in 2000.