Friday, April 19, 2013
A team of three Manchester Business School students have enjoyed success in the world’s largest business plan competition, picking up three prizes. The Rice University Business Plan competition was held in Texas, USA in April and featured student teams from across the globe looking to get their share of a $1.5million prize fund.
The trio won first prize in the Shark Tank round, first in the Start-up Company Showcase and third in the Best Elevator Pitch. They were also awarded $2,750 to help develop their business. The scale of their achievement is highlighted by the fact that they were the only retail-product business among the finalists, with the majority being from a science or technology background.
The Rice University Business Plan Competition is world’s
richest and largest, bringing 42 top university teams from across the
globe to pitch their businesses to over 300 venture capital and investor
judges. More than 138 past competitors at the Rice Business Plan
Competition have successfully launched their companies and are in
business today or have had successful exits, raising more than $600
million in funding.
Team members Matthias Schmid, David Reetz and Shiraz Anwar set up their business Kaffeination Ltd in 2012 and are no strangers to success. In February 2013 they won the European final of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) International Business Plan Competition and in 2012 they were crowned winners of Manchester Business School’s annual business start-up competition, Venture Further.
Following an intensive three-day boot-camp in Texas, with mentoring and support from venture capitalists, business angels and private investors, the team were ready to take on the competition and face the judges.
Shiraz commented: “It was great to compete on such a high level. We learned so much in just one week and are now well-prepared to pitch to investors and venture capitalists. We’ve made a huge step forward. We’ve also made some great contacts and spoken to some potential investors.”
Kaffeination Ltd. was set-up when the three met whilst studying on the MSc Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship degree programme at Manchester Business School. Their product is caffeinated energy sweets called UPs Solid Energy – an idea formulated when they were studying late one night.
Matthias added: “We had drunk several cups of coffee and didn’t want to drink any more. We were just looking at the empty coffee cups sat next to a bag of sweets and wondered if we could combine the two and create caffeinated sweets.”
After researching the idea, they found that no such product was available. They entered their business proposal into the Venture Further competition in 2012 and won first prize. The last year has seen them go from strength to strength winning more prizes and gaining more entrepreneurial know-how.
David commented: “It was fantastic to see everyone enjoying our product – even the judging panel were eating them throughout the competition!”
“Our success is as a result of great support and mentoring from the Enterprise Centre at Manchester Business School and the experience we’ve gained participating in the international business plan competitions.”
Rice University Business Plan Competition >>
Venture Further competition >>
UPs Solid Energy website >>