SAN DIEGO.- University of San Diego students and for the first time, a group of their peers from Mexico, will compete for a total of $100,000 in cash and in-kind support in this year's V2 Entrepreneur Competition on Thursday, April 3. The event takes place from 5 to 9:30 p.m. in USD's Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice.
A total of 62 teams, up from 38 last year, submitted innovative proposals for new ventures. Four finalists from USD and three from Mexico will make seven-minute pitches to a prestigious group of "angel investors."
Finalists for this year include Rixolix, an app for realtors to increase word-of-mouth referrals, make more money and maintain communication lines with their clients; FundPal, a patent-pending solution for nonprofits to accept donations via Twitter and Alumnify, a location-based professional networking application enabling communication between mutually interested alumni.
Last year's highest prizewinner, 2013 USD graduate Morgan Schwanke, was awarded $15,000 to fund OnMyBlock.com, an online service to help students find off-campus housing. In just six months he has received a total of nearly $1 million in funding and hired a team of employees.
"These entrepreneurs represent the future growth and innovation of our economy and we look forward to helping create more success stories with our annual competition," said USD School of Business Administration Professor Michael Lawless and founder of the campus-wide V2 (Venture Vetting) entrepreneurial competition. "Having the students from Mexico realizes our vision at USD that entrepreneurship is regional and extends across our near border."
A call for projects was sent to students at the Universidad Cetys, Universidad Tecnológica de Tijuana, Universidad Autónomade Baja California and Comité de Incubadoras del Municipio.
Judges for the U.S. side of the competition are Allison Long Pettine, president of Crescent Ridge; Tom Breitling, co-founder and chairman of Ultimate Gaming and Navid Alipour, partner in Analytics Venture.
Mexican judges are Alberto Osio, founding member of Angel Ventures Mexico; Ricardo Dos Santos, chief business officer of Biological Dynamics and Ramon Toledo, president and CEO of Busca Corp.
Andy Laats, co-founder and executive chairman of Nixon Inc., will be the keynote speaker.
Students who didn't make the finals will have an opportunity to demonstrate their proposals in a poster session in front of the institute. They can compete for a "Crowd Prize" based on online votes at www.entrepreneurship.com.