The top prize in the 2015 Olin Cup competition was awarded to Love Will Inc., a developer of virtual currency-based financial tools, at an awards ceremony held Thursday, Jan. 29 in Whitaker Hall.
The company was founded by four 2014 graduates of Washington University’s Olin Business School and School of Arts & Sciences. Its first flagship product, Pheeva, is a mobile bitcoin wallet and peer-to-peer transaction application that enables individuals and businesses to affordably send and receive money from anywhere in the world, instantaneously and for little to no cost.
Love Will was selected from a pool of eight finalists vying for the Olin Cup. Members of the Love Will team include: A.J. Hong, Director of Finance, BSBA 2014; Casey Lawlor, Director of Business Development, AB 2014; Dave Sutter, Director of Sales, AB 2014; Jeff Handler, Director of Marketing, AB 2014.
A total of 26 teams, which included Wash U alumni and current PhD and executive MBA students, entered this year’s competition. The following teams were recognized at the ceremony for finishing in a tie for second place:
Applied Particle Technology, LLC — Provider of innovative, cost-effective air treatment and filtration solutions for specialty applications which require high efficiency removal of ultra-fine particles, inactivation of pathogens and/or removal of toxic fumes and odors. Team members include: Jiaxi Fang, Co-Founder and President, PhD student; Tandeep S. Chadha, Co-Founder, PhD student; Prof. Pratim Biswas, Co-Founder and scientific advisor.
- Dabble — Marketplace for classes in the community. Dabble serves as a means to explore one’s interests in a low-commitment, enjoyable way. Through its online marketplace at dabble.co, Dabble serves to connect people offline, all in the name of learning and exploration. Classes are held in person and range across topics, from Coding to Calligraphy and Graphic Design to Glassblowing and everything in between. Jay Swoboda, CEO and co-owner, is a WUSTL alumnus, AB 2002.
- HamStrong — Prosthetic hamstring device and intellectual property company. The device, combined with two workout protocols, (one for rehabilitation and one for injury prevention) dramatically reduces the recovery time for those suffering from hamstring injuries, and when used in training can prevent injuries from even occurring. HamStrong CEO Mark Becker and team member Ben Igielnik are members of Executive MBA -Kansas City class 41.
In addition to a nominal monetary prize, the four top-performing teams will have the real-world opportunity to pursue further funding and mentor engagement by negotiating with the university for potential investment in the new venture.
Audience members at the ceremony were able to view posters and hear presentations from all eight finalists, followed by a reception to provide feedback to the teams and celebrate all team accomplishments.
Additional sponsorship for the Olin Cup competition comes from the law firm Polsinelli and accounting firm RubinBrown.
About the Olin Cup
The Olin Cup was founded at the Olin Business School in 1987 and expanded in 2003 to recognize outstanding new ventures created by Washington University students, faculty and alumni from all schools. The competition is sponsored by the Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Olin Business School. It represents the center’s threefold-mission: to invite Skandalaris program participation from all disciplines; to provide high quality, realistic, practical entrepreneurial skills training; and to provide access to early stage seed capital to the university’s most promising entrepreneurs and innovations.
“The Olin Cup process is a perfect fit for the center’s mission to provide practical, real-world training to these promising Washington University entrepreneurs,” said Emre Toker, managing director of the Skandalaris Center. “The Olin Cup is a great beginning, and our teams have advanced and learned a great deal. We look forward to continuing to mentor them to increase their invest-ability so they may secure funding leading to successful venture formation.”
Julie Flory and Rosemary Gliedt contributed to this blog post.