Entrepreneurs to Pitch Their Plans at UC Berkeley Competition, April 28-29

Forty semifinalists will vie for $44,000 in prize money in the semifinals and finals of the 12th annual UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition on April 28 and 29.

The semifinalists include 25 teams with Haas students or alumni. Among them are Yamnada, presented by a team including Brent Locks, MBA 11, and Emiscape, presented by a team including Cang Quach, MBA 11.

Yamnada is an online auction management platform with a charitable component. Emiscape has developed technology that expands digital advertising and entertainment to ordinary glass surfaces, allowing one side to display video images while the other remains transparent.

For the first time in the competition's history, participating teams this year choose one of three tracks — IT and web, life sciences, or products and services — to compete in. Although each team is required to include any student, alumnus, or staff member from UC Berkeley or UCSF or a researcher from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Haas and engineering students predominate.

Hosted by the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the competition is organized by a committee of twelve Berkeley MBA students, co-chaired by Parkin Kent and Richard Kenny, both MBA 11.

“One of my goals in coming to Haas is to become an entrepreneur myself, and this is a great opportunity to get an inside view of how the venture capital industry works and develop relationships in the industry,” says Kent.

First- and second-place winners from each track will be chosen to receive $5,000 and $1,000 by a panel of Silicon Valley venture capitalists during the private semifinals April 28. Then the top two teams in each track will compete for a grand prize of $20,000 in front of different judges the next day, April 29.

That evening, at the monthly Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum, the public will choose a $5,000 People’s Choice Award winner from the two top teams in each track, while the other 34 semifinalists will compete for $1,000 in an Elevator Pitch Competition.

And prizes aren’t all that can be won. In previous years, some teams gained capital venture funding as a result of contacts they made during the competition. The teams' exposure to venture capitalists and practice pitching are also key benefits of competing.

Pre-registration for the Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum is required and signing up early is encouraged as this event always sells out. Visit the Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum website for more information. Visit the UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition website for more details about the competition.