Kevin Plank '96, founder and CEO of Under Armour, is looking for the nation's most passionate student entrepreneurs. Do you have what it takes?
For the tenth year he'll partner with the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business to host one of the nation's toughest business competitions. There's more than $100K on the line, and how does access to Kevin Plank's professional network sound? Here, you'll learn more about Plank's story and commitment to entrepreneurship as well as competition eligibility, this year's game plan and past winners. Don't miss the chance to pitch your business to Plank and other top judges. Apply by January 5, 2015.
Showcase & Final Competition
Friday, April 22
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, University of Maryland
$100K+ in cash prizes
Access to Kevin Plank's professional network
Semi-final Competition at Under Armour Headquarters
Startup Showcase and Competition at the University of Maryland
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Kevin Plank is founder and CEO of Under Armour and a 1996 graduate of the University of Maryland. As a Maryland football player he was not permitted to hold a job but no one said he couldn't start a company. His first idea was a rose delivery business called Cupid's Valentine targeted to his classmates. In the first four years the business generated $17,000 and became seed money for his BIG idea: a T-shirt that wicked sweat and kept athletes cool, dry and light. Click here for more about Kevin.
As special teams captain for the University of Maryland football team in the summer of 1995, Kevin Plank had the idea for a T-shirt that wicked sweat and kept athletes cool, dry, and light. He had become frustrated by having to change out his sweat-soaked cotton T-shirt over and over again during two-a-days, and the idea hit him: "There has to be something better."
Upon graduating from Maryland in 1996 with a bachelor's degree in business administration, Plank began the business making that idea a reality and changing the way athletes dress. He went on a mission to find the perfect fabric–performance synthetics–and the perfect fit–compression–and ultimately launched Under Armour (NYSE: UA) in 1996 as the performance alternative to old athletic apparel.
It all started in the basement of his grandmother's townhouse in Georgetown. Plank's new business headquarters was literally underground, forcing him to hit the road to spread the Under Armour gospel. With his new shirts in the back of his beat-up Ford Explorer, Plank proceeded to phone every equipment manager in the Atlantic Coast Conference and reached out to his former football teammates, giving them samples and asking them to spread the word about his innovative product. After 15 years of imploring athletes to "Protect this House," Plank oversees a company with nearly 5,000 employees. Under Armour athletic performance apparel, footwear, and accessories are sold worldwide and worn by athletes at all levels & from youth to professional — on playing fields around the globe.
Plank has received a wide variety of professional accolades that demonstrate his growing influence within the industry. Now 39, he was most recently ranked #3 on Forbes' "Most Powerful CEOs 40 And Under" and #12 on Fortune Magazine's prestigious "40 Under 40" list, which accounts for influence, power and future potential.
Disease Diagnostic Group (DDG) has produced a rapid, accurate and inexpensive handheld device that can diagnose Malaria within one minute with one drop of blood, similar to a diabetes test. Existing alternatives include blood drops that must be tested in a lab and have slower turnaround and pregnancy-test like strips that are unreliable due to unstable storage conditions. DDG was founded by John Lewandowski from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Earth Starter was formed to solve what the founders believe will be the world's most pressing issue in upcoming years: sustainable healthy food supplies. Our goal is to help people reduce their dependency on global food markets while focusing on creating a more nourishing Earth. The first product, the Nourishmat, is changing the way people think about food. Earth Starter products will allow people everywhere to adapt to environmental and economic constraints as we collectively strive towards a more sustainable world.
Reed Street Productions operates “Run for Your Lives”, a zombie apocalypse-themed 5K race in which participants navigate an obstacle course and rugged terrain—all while being chased by “zombies.” Reed Street Productions was founded by Ryan Hogan.
MyFridgeRental.com is a dorm size refrigerator rental service, currently serving schools in Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and DC. They provide straight to door dorm delivery and pick up at the start and end of a term. MyFridgeRental handles repairs and replacements FREE of charge if problems arise with the unit and offers rentals for the entire school year or a single semester, as well as summer term rentals. MyFridgeRental.com was founded by brothers Adam '11 and Eric '11 VanWagner.
Social Ingot is a unique business that leverages three of the largest growth areas on the Internet: social media monetization, online gaming, and virtual currency. The Social Ingot platform delivers targeted and optimized offer management for advertisers within social gaming environments, and monetizes virtual currency and drives brand engagement opportunities for corporations and their agencies. Social Growth Technologies was founded by Paul Capriolo '06 and Patrick Jenkins '06.
College Media Group is the publisher of College Magazine, the ultimate, uncensored daily guide to college. Written entirely by students and for students, they cover real issues that affect the campus community nationwide, including academic and career advice, inspiring student features, NCAA sports coverage, celebrity interviews and answers to even the most intimate or embarrassing sex questions. College Media Group was founded by Amanda Nachman '07.
Anaptyx provides WiFi Internet access to apartment communities and municipalities through energy-efficient technology. Every month, over 35,000 users transfer 29 Terabytes of data through Anaptyx networks. Anaptyx was founded by Jonathan Rust, MBA '09.
Goozex is a leading Web-based video game trading community that allows users to trade video games for points and engages a community of gamers. Goozex was founded by Jon Dugan '06 and Valerio Zanini, MBA '06.
North Star Games is the maker of innovative board games, including the award-winning “Wits & Wagers”, “Say Anything”, and the newest game “Crappy Birthday.” North Star Games was founded by Dominic Crapuchettes, MBA '04.