Uglies Wins W&L’s 10th Annual Business Plan Competition Students enrolled in BUS 399 Entrepreneurship presented their plans to a panel of 16 alumni judges who have worked as entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, private equity experts, lawyers, and angel investors.
In a world of seemingly endless opportunities and distractions, the hardest challenge today’s entrepreneur faces is having an insatiable appetite and ability to focus on doing one thing very, very well before moving on to the next.
~ Matt Langan ’10
Ten student teams competed for a combined total of $7,000 in prize money during W&L’s 10th Annual Business Plan Competition.
The Business Plan Competition typically consists of two days of in-person interaction with alumni judges. The traditional competition is action-packed, as students participate in mentoring sessions with the judges, who evaluate the written plans, and present their final pitches in person.
As W&L transitioned to virtual learning in early March, Rupert H. Johnson, Jr. Professor of Entrepreneurship and Leadership Jeff Shay began to reimagine the April competition, announcing to students and judges that it would not be held in the usual format. “We’re all entrepreneurs, and rolling with changes in the environment is what we do best,” said Shay in his initial email to the panel of alumni.
In only a few weeks, the virtual Business Plan Competition, consisting of ten plans and 16 alumni judges, was underway. In stage one, the students’ written business plans were distributed to judges for evaluation.
Each team treated the challenges presented by COVID-19 as opportunities for growth. “The outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) introduced uncertainty into the global economic outlook that every team had to consider,” said David Williams ’20. “Glacier [Skincare] chose a subscription model for its unmatched convenience through automated online delivery and expects the pandemic to further accelerate demand for these types of services.”
Stage two involved a round-robin format in which students engaged in 10 to 15-minute consulting sessions with judges. Each judge was tasked with assessing each team’s ability to discuss the business opportunity and respond to questions. Virtual OneClick.chat breakout rooms were provided by company co-founders (and previous competition judges) Alan Gibson ’70 and Dillon Myers ’14.
“It was great fun and efficient,” said judge Matt Langan ’10, founder of Stuccco. “The format allowed us to give a lot of feedback in a short period of time because we were able to quickly click into rooms with student groups and interact with them back-to-back.”
In stage three, students utilized judges’ feedback to strengthen their presentations, which were uploaded to the competition website. These presentations were not only evaluated by the judges but the greater W&L community. More than 80 W&L alumni voted online—through a platform created by Eric Owsley ’01, Director of Advancement Communications Strategy—to show their support for this years’ seniors.
On Friday, April 1, the winning teams were announced live. The first-place prize of $4,000 went to Uglies: a smoothie and prepped fruit restaurant. In second place, receiving $2,000, was Glacier Skincare, a subscription-based skincare company for men. BarTab, an app-based drink ordering platform, took home the third-place $1,000 prize.
These students proved that innovation and entrepreneurship are still possible in the face of rapidly changing conditions and uncertainty.
“I think that the best piece of advice we received was from Professor Shay in an early outside-of-class meeting. He told us to treat Uglies like it was a real business and that this was our real job, a job that would have to get done regardless of external factors. I think that this mindset allowed us to establish a time management system that worked well for us and allowed us to be efficient while maintaining a high quality of work,” said Faith Palmer ’20.
Below you’ll find more information regarding the winning teams. To view the announcement of the winners, review business plans, and watch pitch videos, visit the Business Plan Competition website.
First Place: Uglies
Collette Murray ’20, Ashley Gillen ’20, and Faith Palmer ’20
Uglies is a fast-casual smoothie and prepped fruit restaurant that services young working professionals with healthy and affordable snacks and meal alternatives. Uglies’ key differentiator is in its dedicated use of ugly fruits and vegetables as ingredients. This cuts costs while simultaneously working toward Uglies’ mission to minimize food waste. Uglies will first open its doors to the Washington, DC area, with plans to expand through the east coast and nationally.
What’s next? “We’re all getting ready to graduate in just a few weeks! We’re each doing different things post-grad, but who knows, maybe Uglies will get a second wind in a few years?” ~ Faith Palmer ’20
Second Place: Glacier Skincare
Oak Mize ’20, Drew Richardson ’20, Bo Sheridan ’20, and David Williams ’20
Glacier Skincare LLC is an online subscription-based skincare company specializing in customized, high-quality products for men. Glacier aims to change the way men approach skincare by providing a completely customized skincare routine delivered directly to the customer’s door, all without ever having to see a dermatologist. By utilizing a dermatologist-backed online survey to create a custom skincare routine for each customer, Glacier gets rid of the hassles men face when going to the local pharmacy or beauty store and helps them overcome the knowledge gap that exists concerning proper routines.
What’s next? “All members of the Glacier executive team have accepted jobs following graduation that will allow them to gain valuable experience and save up capital before the launch of the company.” ~ David Williams ’20
Third Place: BarTab
Hudson Hamill ’20, Matthew Lanigan ’20, Trey Lewis ’20, and Madison McNair ’20
BarTab is an app-based platform that functions as an intermediary between customers and bartenders, providing efficiency and ease to the drink ordering process. Through a partnership with Doshii, the application will integrate into the bar’s current POS system, allowing for a seamless transition to mobile orders. Bars will also have access to data analytics on their BarTab website account in which they can analyze bartender efficiency and drink sales. For the customer, BarTab is a three-pronged platform, offering the ability to order and pay for drinks from a smartphone, view a heat map to see crowd levels, and access a social responsibility tab that helps consumers drink responsibly.
What’s next? “For right now, we are going to continue with the jobs we have lined up post-grad for the next year or so. While we are all extremely interested in the idea, we want to spend some time in the working world before coming back together to discuss potentially pursuing the opportunity.” ~ Madison McNair ’20