Six finalists, student entrepreneurs from the University of Delaware, were awarded prizes to chase their dreams of both launching successful businesses while also doing good work in their community.
"Thank you everybody for supporting our students, supporting entrepreneurship, supporting the University of Delaware," said Vince DiFelice, Senior Instructor of Entrepreneurship and Faculty Director of Venture Support at UD, during the final round of the Hen Hatch competition. "The work that you support not only helps all of these students, but helps our community, it helps the Delaware ecosystem. It continues to grow and become stronger every day."
In the last round of Hen Hatch 2020, six teams made their final presentations for their entrepreneurial ideas, seeking part of a $50,000 pool of cash and in-kind prizes to help launch them further. Three teams were on the "pre-revenue" track and three were from the "revenue-generating" track. The pre-revenue teams included:
Blue Tusk Biotechnology, John-Carlos Saponara: Data consultancy for the food processing and handling industry that provides proactive data analytics and is able to find and diagnose productivity bottlenecks before they cause slowdowns or breakage of factory equipment.
CyberSecLabs, Casey Rock/Dylan Martin/Jason Reynolds: Hands-on training tools for students and cybersecurity professionals while preparing them to combat the cyber threats of today and tomorrow.
Nuvensus, Markos Zerefos/Henry du Pont/Mason Faust: Real estate investment via proprietary data interpretation that can outperform commercial real estate investment benchmarks by utilizing various data providers and applying advanced modeling architectures.
And the revenue-generating teams included:
Alchemize Fightwear, Maya Nazareth: A women’s Mixed Martial Arts gear and apparel company that taps into an under-addressed market. A portion of all proceeds is also donated to trauma recovery and women’s self-defense initiatives.
Backyard Gig, Suryanuj Gupta/Shahroze Ali: An online platform and two-sided marketplace where students can connect with community members, residents, or small businesses that need tasks, or gigs, completed.
Get Potluck, Hope Vega/Abu Kamara: An app that connects international food markets with college students, with a mission of helping students access food and remedy homesickness by providing them with an online delivery platform for ethnic grocers.
All of the competitors took something home. The top winner of the event was Nazareth's Alchemize Fightwear.
"There are 1.57 million women training martial arts in the U.S. today, 36 million women training martial arts worldwide, and every single one of these 36 million women needs gear," she said during a review of her project. "The women's MMA competition landscape is exploding. It's grown by almost 2,000% in the last seven years. The MMA gear market is expected to double by 2025, reaching $565 million."
But in addition to targeting what Nazareth--an MMA fighter herself--identified as an underserved market, she also wants to use proceeds to empower others.
"Women don't grow up fighting, and something really powerful happens when women start to become the masters of their own body in their own environment; When they start to take control of their safety. They become the most fierce, strong, and empowered versions of themselves," she said. "I want to see more women like that walking around in the world."
She brought home $11,033 in cash, was awarded 10 hours of professional accounting work from Belfint, Lyons & Shuman, P.A. valued at $2,500, issued $2,500 in grants to assist with pursuit of third-party entrepreneurial contest entries--something all finalists were awarded--and was additionally awarded the Audience Choice Award for Most Commercially Viable, resulting in $1,000 in reimbursable expenses through VentureOn.
The second-highest cash prize was awarded to Backyard Gig, which was awarded $5,883, but was also awarded 20 hours of business consultancy from Placers, operated by Chris Burkhard and valued at $12,000.
GetPotluck was awarded the third-highest cash prize at $3,773, while also being awarded 10 hours of legal work from the Devlin Law Firm valued at $5,000 and additionally won the Audience Choice Award for Most Socially Responsible Social Venture, resulting in $1,000 of reimbursable expenses through VentureOn.
"As a result of the pandemic, online grocery shopping has shot up 400%. In addition, the U.S. is expected to be over 50% culturally diverse by 2045. This, and the fact that there are 44,000 ethnic supermarkets in the U.S., show us that we have an opportunity right now," Vega said. "The American supermarket and grocery store industry is valued at $682 billion. The ethnic grocery store industry is valued at $44.3 billion. GetPotluck has the opportunity to be a leader in the new, and fairly undefined, ethnic grocery delivery market, which is valued at $4.4 billion."
Ultimately, CyberSecLabs took home $2,050 in cash, Blue Tusk took home $1,300, and Nuvensus took home $1,000 plus 10 hours of accounting work from Belfint, Lyons & Shuman, P.A.
"Thank you so much, all of our contestants. What a fantastic job," DiFelice said. "Excellent job, all of our contestants. We're very grateful and we're thankful for all the good and kind work that everyone has done here."