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UMD Shark Tank 2017

UMD Shark Tank 2017 image
April 12, 2017

Contestants announced for UMD’s Shark Tank Entrepreneurship Competition on April 24.

The second annual UMD Shark Tank competition will be held Monday, April 24, 2017, from 4 pm to 6:30 p.m. in Marshall Performing Arts Center, on the UMD campus. It is free of charge and open to the public.

All the contestants are UMD students. Their names, along with their products, services, or businesses, are as follows:

1. Cole Ehresmann & Zack Gapinski - A web development platform aimed at unifying the online action sports community in the form of a website and app. We connect the riders and athletes with relevant brands and shops within their direct sport and related content. The site's profiles will act as a 'linked-in' for action sports (i.e. snowboarding, skiing, skateboarding, surfing, motocross etc.) We are currently working with SportsEngine (just bought by NBC sports) to prototype the model of our platform & within the coming months we are giving a pitch to the Vice President of SportsEngine who facilitated the merger with NBC sports/ SportsEngine. We are dedicating our next eight quarters of production to developing our idea once we land the pitch.

2. Nathan Lipinski - A freezer defrost indicator having a receptacle configured for containing a quantity of a freezable medium, an indicator configured to provide an alert of a defrost condition upon activation, a power source electrically coupled to the indicator, and a disk arranged within the receptacle and configured to activate the indicator. This product is designed for primary and secondary freezers that may be left unattended for various periods of time. When temperature is above freezing (such as a power failure to the freezer), the water in the tube will melt, causing the washer to fall and make contact with the copper coated floor. This will create a complete circuit thus activating the alarm and LED indicator light.

3. Sebastian Nemec - Folx is an e-commerce retail store that consolidates all of the products that transgender people are looking for onto one site, saving them time and money. It will also have a multimedia blog that has content ranging from tips to daily living as a trans+ person, tips to finding the right product, and inspirational stories by trans+ people. The mission of Folx is to help trans+ people live their best lives.

4. Matt Cherne - Cherne Beats is an online music source for content creators, videographers, and digital agencies. It focuses on providing a more personalized experience for clients than its competitors. Our site features an easy to navigate beat store where people can listen/purchase music that fits their project and client needs.

5. Mike Kenyanya – Health at Hand is a comprehensive all-around health management solution aimed at creating a healthier populous at a lower price by focusing on prevention. Our application will serve as an all-around health management tool. Our framework will facilitate health care appointment scheduling, medical history tracking, health alerts, fitness tracker, and symptom checker. The symptoms checker will allow people to enter some basic data, such as age, gender, medical history, etc., the symptoms they feel, and some supplementary information, and the system will recommend a course of action. This information will be coupled with information from optional add-ons such as a fit-bit or other fitness tracker. The application will also list some possible diagnoses. This diagnoses are not meant to replace a medical provider but only to supplement them.

6. Adam Kirsch - The Ducer Drag is an innovative tool to help improve the success of many ice fishermen. Thousands of ice fishermen rely on a transducer being placed into the ice fishing hole. However, the problem is that the transducer often crowds an already small ice fishing hole, which is where the Ducer Drag comes in to play. This product is a battery-powered device that can be mounted on to the sonar device. The device will be triggered by a remote control to wrap up or let down the transducer, easing the process for fisherman.

The competition, organized by Entrepreneurship students Mitch Brown and Natasha Perkerwicz, will be judged by a panel of Duluth business professionals and offers cash prizes for the top three business ideas with a first place prize of $1,500. The audience also has the opportunity to vote for their favorite business idea and can win that entrepreneur $300.

Newly added this year, the six applicants/teams selected to pitch their ideas in the competition now have the opportunity to work with a mentor in their field prior to the show. Mentors will work with the applicants in further developing their idea prior to the competition, as well giving feedback on ways to enhance their business idea. These mentors are made up of local businessmen and women who have shown excellence in the field on entrepreneurship.

UMD Shark Tank is different than past entrepreneurship competitions. While previous competitions were composed solely of the contestants and judges, UMD Shark Tank event is school-wide, and open to the community as well. People are encouraged to watch the competition, ask the contestants questions about their business ideas, and enjoy light refreshments and snacks. Audience members also have the opportunity to win door prizes, and UMD students will be credited with “Group A Passport Credit” for attending.

Sponsorships are also being sought for the competition.  Those interested in sponsoring can contact Event Co-Director Mitch Brown -

The competition is sponsored this year by the Labovitz School of Business and Economics (LSBE) in support of Entrepreneurship.

LSBE is accredited by the AACSB International (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business). Less than 5% of business schools worldwide have earned this prestigious distinction. In Northeastern Minnesota, LSBE is the only school to have attained AACSB accreditation.  Its website is