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Annual Cupid's Cup Attracts Talent

By Hyunjae Ham
On April 22, 2013

The University of Maryland's annual Cupid's Cup sponsored by Kevin Plank, the founder of Under Armour and UMD alum, began with the Business & Innovation Showcase at the Riggs Alumni Center last Friday morning. Hundreds of aspiring entrepreneurs gathered to showcase their businesses and ideas, ranging from Homesnap, an app that allows you to take a picture of any home across the country and tells you how much it is worth, when it last sold, etc., to Wheel Shields, a product designed to eliminate wheel bite on longboards.

When asked what he thought about the event, sophomore civil engineering major and founder of The Maryland Koozie Stephen Mastropietro said, "It's definitely motivating to see just how much competition there is out there to be an entrepreneur... There's so many good ideas out there even by just students that go to [The University of Maryland]."

The main event of the day, however, was the Final Competition at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center later that day. Six finalists presented their business startups in front of over 1,000 people and five judges, including Kevin Plank, competing for $70,000 in cash prizes to fund their businesses. To most of the finalists, the monetary reward seemed secondary to acquiring Plank's connections. Neural Analytics CEO Leo Petrossian even urged Plank to introduce his company to the NFL during his presentation; his company makes portable, noninvasive devices used for measuring the pressure inside of skulls, and he believes his product could alleviate the NFL's current concussion issues.

The eventual winner of the competition was Earth Starter. Founded by UMD alums Phil Weiner and John-Randal Gorby, the company engineered a gardening mat that is designed to make growing vegetables easy with its own built in irrigation system that conserves water by up to 70% compared to regular gardening.

Kevin Plank gave a speech before he announced the winners of the competition. His message to the audience was clear: if you want your business to succeed, you need to grab it by its throat and do everything yourself. The 2013 Cupid's Cup embodied this philosophy.

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