Chinese food and sustainable shirts highlight Yale business pitches

The 2014 Yale alumni association annual assembly focused on “The Entrepreneurial Spirit at Yale.” One session featured a competition among five on-campus ventures who each had five minutes to pitch expert judges, who picked the prizewinner. This video shows the pitch by Yale School of Management student Jonas Clark on behalf of Tuckerman & Co., selected as the winner by the panel of judges: Rob Bettigole ’76 ’83 MBA, Miles Lasater ’00, Nancy Pfund ’82 MPPM, and Yale Dean of Engineering Kyle Vanderlick.

Five Yale-based entrepreneurs jumped into a “Shark Tank” armed with only business pitches, and two emerged victorious as a panel of business experts and an audience composed mainly of Yale alumni split on judging the best presentation.

Kyle Jensen, director of Entrepreneurial Programs at the School of Management, moderated the event, part of the Yale Alumni Association Assembly celebrating the “Entrepreneurial Spirit at Yale,” held on campus Nov. 13-15.

Read more about the AYA Assembly LXXIV

Yale School of Management (SOM) student Jonas Clark of Tuckerman & Co. was recognized for his pitch about creating a line of men’s shirts made through sustainable labor practices and materials. School of Forestry & Environmental Studies student Wanting Zhang of Junzi Kitchen delivered fresh food samples to the panelists, but fell short of winning their vote while still wowing the audience with his plans to open up a chain of Chinese restaurants.

The five entrepreneurs made their pitches and were grilled by panel members, which included entrepreneurs, venture capital investors, and Dean T. Kyle Vanderlick of the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

James Lin from Alacrity gives a presentation about the company during the “Shark Tank” session. (Photo by Alaina Pritchard)

The young entrepreneurs did not lack for ambition. SOM student James Lin of Alacrity said the company wants to introduce a next-generation microprocessor so fast and compact it can run an operating chip on a contact lens.  David Cruz ’14 said Trinity Mobile Networks wants to compete in the cell phone service market by using Wifi networks to route calls and send data to customers. And SOM student Wendy Davis of GestVision wants to market a new urine test to detect hard-to-diagnose preeclampsia in pregnant women.

In the end though, it was the team at Tuckerman & Co. who was awarded first prize — a working lunch with entrepreneur and Yale grad Kevin Ryan, who delivered the keynote address at the assembly.

It turned out to be a good-news week for Tuckerman & Co. for another reason: Its Kickstarter campaign surpassed its fundraising goal with 13 days to go.

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