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Friday, Dec 8, 2023

Which Pitch Won at CSUN ‘Shark Tank’?

California State University – Northridge held the final round of its Shark Tank-style entrepreneur contest earlier this month to hand out some hefty seed-money prizes. Dubbed the Bull Ring New Venture Competition, the event consisted of five finalist teams, made up of students from across all disciplines. They were chosen from 46 entries to pitch their business ideas to a panel of independent judges comprised of local entrepreneurs and C-level executives. The winner received $20,000 for business growth, while second and third place were awarded $10,000 and $5,000 respectively, with all finishers receiving free startup services. Among the companies in the bull ring were Tint, an app that uses color coordinating algorithms to help users shop for apparel; Omnigreen, a plant-based air purifier manufacturer; MyGymPals, an app designed to create and connect fitness fans; and Germ 3 Solutions, a medical device maker that developed a sleeve to prevent infections from dirty blood-pressure monitors. However, the Matador that came out on top was Sleepyhead, an e-commerce startup that sells memory-foam mattresses and toppers that can be shipped in a box to anywhere in the United States. “It was important to us (the judges) that the first, second and third place winners’ business models truly have sustainability and a high probability of success,” said Paul Jennings, a Bull Ring judge, university alum and founder and chief executive of L.A.-based PCS Development. Second place went to MyGymPals, and third to Germ 3 Solutions. The top two teams came out of the college’s on-campus business incubator, LACI@CSUN, which opened in 2014 in partnership with the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator. The organization, based in downtown Los Angeles, helped coordinate the competition in collaboration with the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics, the university’s business school. “The students that participated have been on this journey for some time,” said Tom White, executive director of LACI@CSUN and a CSUN alum. “It takes persistence, tenacity, vision, imagination, organization and a sheer commitment of time in order to reach the point they did.” – Stephanie Henkel

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