At the Cupid’s Cup competition for entrepreneurs, sponsored by Kevin Plank and Under Armour and the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business, college and grad school entrepreneurs showed us the companies they are actively building. Below are some of their exciting innovations plus some words of advice from Kevin Plank.
Neural Analytics is a portable sonogram-based system for evaluating the brain after potential injury to determine if there has been trauma. This could be used in the military to determine if the brain is injured before the sending the service member back to the war zone and by sports teams before they send the athlete back to the field.
The first place winner of this year’s event, winner of the $50,000 check, EarthStarter, created a NourishMat, which looks a little like a Twister mat, but turns any small area, either in your yard or in your condo, into an edible garden. The mat has identified boxes for each type of plant – tomatoes, rosemary, peppers, etc. Not a typical mat, it prevents weeds, waters the seeds, and keeps out pests. The accompanying seeds balls are about 1 inch in diameter. The protect the actual seeds, while providing nourishment. Anyone, they claim, can be a gardener!
Diagnostic anSERS created paper-based sensors that can be used on site to detect Heroin, Cocaine, TNT, pesticides and insecticides. A $4 piece of paper can do a better job on site than the $150 competitor!
HolePatch is one tough bag, filled with a fluid that turns hard when a vehicle drives over it. It’s used to temporarily fill in pot holes until spring or summer, when they can be permanently fixed. Current interim fixes costs communities millions because they don’t last.
CoverPlay is the worlds thinnest bluetooth speaker, weighing just 8 ounces, and producing HUGE sounds! About the size of an iPad, buy two for surround sound and use them for great conference calling. Of course, they come in great colors.
The Food Recovery Network collects thousands of pounds of unused food from college campuses and surrounding communities and donates it to people in need. They’ve donated 136,284 pounds of food since September 2011!
KidFit is an Activity Educational Program to help reduce childhood obesity. After just a couple of months participating school students lost 1 to 2 inches off their waists!
Wheel Shields are connected to the wheels of skateboards to reduce the danger of uncontrolled curves and, on the side, they keep the skateboarder dry (acts like mud flaps). The margins are huge!
While at U of MD, Kevin Plank started Cupid’s Valentines and sold well over a million roses between his freshman and senior year. He found a supplier who charged him $6 and sold them for $25. Ultimately he developed a fabric for tee shirts that would wick away moisture, which would become Under Armour.
Some words of advice from Kevin Plank: A company needs a “voice.” What does your company sound like? Don’t know? Find a white board and put down the words, phrases and quotes that sound like your company. His top word is “Will,” which is how many times you will get back up. A top theme of his is “Be There, wherever that is.” A favorite quote, from John Lennon is, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans.”