COLLEGE PARK, Md., April 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The University of Maryland's Earth Starter, maker of the Nourishmat modular garden kit, took home $52,500 as the top winner of the eighth annual Cupid's Cup. The first year as a national business competition, the event was held April 5 at UMD's College Park campus, hosted by the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. Cupid's Cup is sponsored by alumnus Kevin Plank, founder and CEO of Under Armour, the Baltimore-based leader in performance apparel, footwear and accessories. As the grand prize winner, Earth Starter will also benefit from exclusive access to Plank's professional network, one of the added bonuses of winning this year's expanded competition.
Six finalist startups had six minutes to deliver a business pitch to Plank and a panel of five other judges in front of 1,000 attendees at UMD's Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. The audience also heard Plank's words of inspiration on building a business as he rallied the entrepreneurs in attendance.
Plank spoke before announcing the Cupid's Cup winners:
- $50,000, 1 st place: Earth Starter LLC, University of Maryland – maker of products to accelerate and simplify growth and yield for garden
- $15,000, 2 nd place: CoverPlay LLC, University of Virginia – maker of an ultra-thin Bluetooth speaker for mobile devices called the Mojo
- $5,000, 3rd place: Diagnostic anSERS, University of Maryland – maker of ink-jet printed sensors for detecting trace amounts of chemicals, from explosives to narcotics
- $2,500, Audience Choice Award, decided by text voting during the event – Earth Starter LLC (sponsored by Sam Medile '80, a successful entrepreneur and former Terp student athlete)
Medile also sponsored a $5,000 prize for the University of Maryland company who best leveraged all of the university's resources in launching their company, which went to Diagnostic anSERS. UMD applicants who made it to the semifinal round of Cupid's Cup were eligible.The day also included the Business & Innovation Showcase, sponsored by BB&T, highlighting more than 50 campus and regional startups and entrepreneurship organizations in a lively tradeshow format at the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center. AOL also served as a sponsor and conducted informal recruiting interviews on-site.