Search Results for: farmplicity

A mobile solution to the severity of epileptic seizures. Helmets designed to reduce concussions in high impact sports. A locally sourced grain-to-glass spirits distillery.

These are just a few of the seven final teams, announced Nov. 7, vying for $70,000 in seed money to start a new company during this year’s Olin Cup entrepreneurship competition.

Five of the finalist teams are student-owned or supported ventures and in the running for an additional $5,000 prize given to the best business proposal submitted by a Washington University student team.

“The quality and diversity of the ideas was exceptional this year and once again our judges asked, ‘How is it that the entrepreneurs and ventures keep improving every year?’  We think that the answer is that the culture of entrepreneurship continues to expand and improve,” says Ken Harrington, managing director of the Skandalaris Center.

Contestants submitted an executive summary of their proposed business to enter the competition. From that initial field of 40 entrants, 17 semifinalists were chosen to compete in the “elevator pitch” challenge that required a two-minute presentation of the business idea to a diverse team of judges representing several regional alumni, service providers and other members of the support community for entrepreneurs.

This year’s finalists are (* indicates student-owned or student-supported venture):

  • Epi Squared*, developing an implantable mobile solution to reduce severity of epileptic seizures;
  • Farmplicity*, an online marketplace making it easy for chefs to source local food;
  • Genetix Fusion*, developing the next generation of transfection kits for biomedical researchers;
  • Nanopore Diagnostics*, developing products that provide immediate molecular diagnostic testing;
  • Stumpy’s Spirits*, locally sourced grain-to-glass premium spirits distiller;
  • SynerZ Medical, developing an outpatient device for treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes; and
  • Zymplr, developing a helmet designed to reduce concussions in high impact sports.

The final hurdle for the entrepreneurs will be writing and presenting a full business plan in January 2014. The finalists will each submit a business plan and give a 25-minute oral presentation to the judges with a question-and-answer period as the final phase of the competition.

The Olin Cup winners will be announced Jan. 30, 2014, at an awards ceremony.

The Olin Cup was created as a cross-campus activity in 1988 by Olin Business School, and has awarded funding to winning commercial ventures since 2003.

The competition is sponsored by Olin Business School, RubinBrown, Polsinelli and the St. Louis Regional Chamber.

-News Release by Neil Schoenherr, WUSTL Public Affairs

Photo credit: Ken Yee, Flickr

The Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies announced 18 teams will compete for the Olin Cup this year. Olin_cup_logoThese semi-finalists will work with mentors and advisors on their business plans and elevator pitches before the next round of judging takes place Thursday, Nov. 7.


·         ARE Systems

·         Epi Squared

·         Farmplicity

·         Genetix Fusion LLC

·         Jenesis Project

·         JetLink Prime

·         Juntos

·         Made for Freedom, LLC

·         Modern Gym, Inc.

·         NABR

·         Nanopore Diagnostics

·         Pixi Medical

·         Priority Compass

·         Stumpy’s Spirits

·         SynerZ Medical

·         TeleDietitian

·         Turcosa

·         Zymplr

Next up for the semi-finalists is the Elevator Pitch Competition on Thursday, November 7.  The semi-finalists will compete privately that afternoon in front of judges, then at 6 p.m. they will present at the public Elevator Pitch Competition.  At the public event, the audience will have the opportunity to select their picks for best pitch. The person who comes closest to the judges’ evaluations will win $250.  Plan to attend now and register here.

The winners of the private Elevator Pitch Competition become the finalists in the 2013 competition. The round of the competition will be held on Thursday, January 30.

Photo: Florida Memory State Library, Miami bike race, circa 1922

Did you know that the local food economy is a $7 billion dollar market? Our group sure didn’t, but after some initial research we learned that this ever-growing market is ripe for a technological disruption, and Farmplicity is aiming to emerge as an industry leader in the Midwest.

The concept for was developed in the Hatchery program at Washington University when co-founders Drew Koch and Joljit Tamanaha learned of the plight of small farmers from the documentary American Meat.

meatKoch and Tamanaha strive to use technology to enable small farmers to continue to follow their passion, while delivering greater value to restaurants in search of high-quality, local ingredients. Their final solution was an online exchange where farmers and restaurants can interact and negotiate across great distances and at a reduced cost.

Since its launch in early 2013, Farmplicity has been building up momentum by developing their online web platform and fine-tuning the more minute aspects of the business. There are now more than 120 users on the site, split about evenly between restaurants and small farms. Adding to this momentum, Farmplicity recently won the ‘Peoples Choice Award’ for early stage tech ventures at St. Louis’ annual Startup Connection.

The value proposition for this company is compelling, and the founders have set their sights high. So what comes next? That is what we have set out to discover.

Farmlicipty co-founders Joljit Tamanaha and Drew Koch

Farmlicipty co-founders Joljit Tamanaha and Drew Koch

While the company’s growth in St. Louis has been remarkable, the logical next step for such a promising young company is deciding where to go next. Thus, our team of Washington University undergraduates has been tasked with developing an expansion strategy.

A Strategy for Growth

Before taking the project, we understood the value that this company was bringing to consumers. However, we were surprised by how little we actually knew about the market they were helping to define.

As a result, we had our work cut out for us in terms of research. Although the lingering government shutdown may have hindered our ability to get all of the census data we were in search of (in fact, most government-operated databanks are currently down), we were able to find alternative resources in order to get a better understanding of the food procurement industry.

One such resource was Patrick McElroy, Executive Chef at Washington University, who is in charge of food purchasing for the entire campus. Thanks to the university’s admirable commitment to local produce, he was able to give us a great idea of how restaurants currently buy local.

Not only did Patrick reaffirm our belief in the value that Farmplicity offers its users, but he also taught us the importance of personal relationships in the industry. With this theme in mind, we will continue to research potential markets for entry. Our analysis will hinge on a wide range of relevant factors and will include a time frame for each region. Our team will also be considering the necessary benchmarks that must be met by Farmplicity before regional expansion can take place.

To conclude, our group feels extremely fortunate to be assisting such driven entrepreneurs as they come closer to realizing their goals. We have no doubt that the future is bright for Farmplicity, and we will do everything in our power to help steer them along the path leading to long-term, sustainable success.

Dylan Glenn of the CELect Farmplicity team submitted this post.

Wash U was a tour de force at Startup Connection on October 3!

The event is St. Louis’s largest entrepreneurship expo and brings entrepreneurs, investors, students, and community members together for one night to hear a series of pitches from the region’s hottest up-and-coming startups.  Sixty companies each had 90 seconds to pitch their idea to a room full of nearly 1,000 people.  At the end of the evening, the audience and investors chose their favorites, awarding more than $160,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.

Sparo Labs added to their growing list of prizes with two awards– The BioSTL Award ($2500) and the People’s Choice Award in Bioscience, voted on by the attendees ($500).  Washington University graduates Andrew Brimer and Abigail Cohen launched Sparo Labs while in school, and continue to run the company full-time.

Farmplicity, which was launched in the Hatchery class last spring, won the People’s Choice Award in Early Stage Tech/IT ($500).  Wash U alum Drew Koch and current student Jolijt Tamanaha, represented Farmplicity on stage.  The company’s other co-founders, Andrew Lin and Lauren Ortwein, are also Washington University BSBA graduates.

Faculty-launched Observable Networks, run by Patrick Crowley (professor in Engineering) and Peter Finley (adjunct professor at Olin), won third place and $20k in the St. Louis Startup Challenge.

The big news was that Olin Cup winner and recent law school alum Drew Winship’s Juristat won first place in the Startup Challenge along with a check for $50k. (Pictured above.) Read more about Juristat’s big win here.

Additionally, Wash U students were highly visible at the event.  The EVCA, led by Kasey Joyce, provided and coordinated about 50 MBA and BSBA student volunteers to run the event.  Kasey moderated the on-stage elevator pitches.  All-in-all there were over a hundred Wash U students in attendance.

Read more about Startup Connection in the St. Louis Business Journal.

After the event, I took part in a panel discussion on innovation and entrepreneurship on 9Network’s program, StayTuned.  Square co-founder and Washington University alum, Jim McKelvey, was also on the show.  You can watch the program in its entirety here.

It was an incredible and exciting night for Washington University and the entrepreneurship community in St. Louis!