PHILADELPHIA, Pa., April 28, 2011--The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania announced that student team Stylitics won the $30,000 Michelson Grand Prize of the 2011 Wharton Business Plan Competition (http://bpc.wharton.upenn.edu). The prize was awarded at the Wharton School’s annual Venture Finals, April 27, 2011, where student finalists received more than $115,000 in combined cash prizes and in-kind legal/accounting services.
Prior to winning the Wharton BPC’s top prize, Stylitics has already garnered industry acclaim for its proprietary platform offering fashion brands and ad buyers insights into what consumers are wearing and what is in their closet. Calling themselves the “Nielsen of Fashion,” Stylitics co-founders Rohan Deuskar, a 2011 Wharton MBA candidate and Zach Davis, noted in their presentation that, unlike the TV, healthcare or IT industries, there are few options for fashion business leaders to learn about consumer opinions and trends in real-time.
With a goal of enlisting tens of thousands of consumers with a fun way to share their styles and opinions about style, Stylistics aims to attract user opinions through brand surveys, games, online tools and a sophisticated rewards program. While consumers benefit from organizing outfits and sharing their clothing perspectives, through Stylitics fashion brands and media buyers gain access to up-to-the-minute, customizable reports requiring no technical knowledge or expensive infrastructure.
The Venture Finals, which is the year-long Wharton BPC’s culminating event, attracted nearly 350 venture capitalists, business leaders, faculty members and students.
Returning this year was the People’s Choice Award which allowed the audience of hundreds to vote on brief elevator pitches from the “Great Eight” Finalists while the Venture Finals judges were sequestered. The audience favorite was Pledge4Good, which walked away with a $3,000 prize.
Also returning this year were three $1,000 awards determined by the student management committee of the Wharton BPC. From the semi-finalist submissions the committee awarded prizes in the following categories: “social”, “disruptive” and “committee’s choice.”
The 2011 Wharton Business Plan Competition winners are:
- Michelson Grand Prize: $30,000 to Stylitics
- Second Prize: $15,000 to Next Generation Phlebotomy
- Third Prize: $10,000 to Baby.com.br
- Gloeckner Undergraduate Award: $10,000 for the highest ranking Wharton undergraduate team to Verday
- People's Choice Award: $3,000 to Pledge4Good
- Committee Prize/Social category: Farmucopia
- Committee Prize/Disruptive category: Complexed Technologies
- Committee Prize/Committee’s Choice category: Dictionary Squared
Stylitics’ Deuskar, originally from Mumbai, India and Davis met while working at Wharton alumni company Vibes Media, a mobile marketing firm based in Chicago, IL. Deuskar’s involvement with the Wharton BPC began last year with his appointment as a member of the Wharton BPC organizing committee.
Stylitics was recognized as the runner-up in the People’s Choice award at the 2011 Wharton Entrepreneurship Conference. Also receiving recent recognition were third prize winner Baby.com.br and finalist BOSS Medical which both won first place at the Harvard Business School Business Plan Competition.
Over the years, the Wharton Business Plan Competition, which is open to any University of Pennsylvania student and managed by Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs, has seen numerous student teams go on to become successful businesses including Warby Parker, Kembrel, PetPlan USA, PayMyBills.com, BuySafe, NetConversions, Innova Dynamics, and MicroMRI.
In fact more than a dozen “Great Eight” finalists from the past decade are still in business with several earning millions in revenue and/or financing. More information about past winners is available on the Wharton BPC Web site: http://bpc.wharton.upenn.edu.
About the Wharton School and Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs
In 1973, The Wharton School became the first school to develop a fully integrated curriculum of entrepreneurial studies. Today Wharton, through Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs <www.wep.wharton.upenn.edu>, supports and seeds innovation and entrepreneurship globally through teaching, research and outreach to a range of organizations through its many programs, initiatives and research centers. At the same time, Wharton students and alumni are helping to build entrepreneurial enterprises around the world and impacting virtually every industry.
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania — founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school — is recognized globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. The most comprehensive source of business knowledge in the world, Wharton bridges research and practice through its broad engagement with the global business community. The School has more than 4,800 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and doctoral students; more than 9,000 annual participants in executive education programs; and an alumni network of 86,000 graduates.
For more information on the Wharton Business Plan Competition, go to: http://bpc.wharton.upenn.edu.