Pitch Fridays give student entrepreneurs the chance to level up

Pitch Friday competition participants Jonah Bornstein and Alex Leiman

Sexy Cakes founders Jonah Bornstein, left, and Alex Leiman deliver their pitch at the Nov. 12 Pitch Friday competition.

Tulane students are bursting with innovative new ideas, so for enterprise-minded students who are interested in creating and operating a successful business, Pitch Fridays are an amazing opportunity. A program of the Albert Lepage Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation that is sponsored by the Tulane Association of Business Alumni (TABA), the Pitch Fridays competition allows undergraduate and graduate students to present their business ideas to a panel of judges composed of alumni, entrepreneurs and businesspeople from various industries.

“The Pitch Fridays are intended to be a safe space for students to showcase their ideas and get valuable feedback,” said Timekia Mallery, senior program coordinator at the Lepage Center. “These competitions motivate students of all stages to take their ventures to the next level. Our slogan is ‘Fueled by New Orleans. Ready for the World,’ and the Pitch Friday Series truly helps to cultivate tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.”

During the fall and spring semesters, five Pitch Fridays take place, with five to six teams competing in each round. The winner from each competition receives a $500 prize and advances to the grand prize round. During the pitch, each student team has only five minutes to present their idea, which is then followed by five minutes of Q&A with the judges. Judges evaluate the team’s business venture based on how they used the business model canvas — a business design tool — to assess novelty of concept, value proposition, customers and product market fit.

The winner of the first competition, held on Oct. 15, was All Season Apparel, founded by third-year law student Kwasi Agyeman. All Season Apparel focuses on producing sustainable campus clothing for both students and alumni. The second Pitch Friday took place on Nov. 12, with Sexy Cakes, the brainchild of Jonah Bornstein, a third-year student majoring in finance and marketing, and Alex Leiman, a fourth-year student majoring in economics, taking home the prize.

Sexy Cakes is a food delivery service tailored to college students, offering late night, free and fast delivery (within 30 minutes) to both residence halls and off-campus locations.

“Sexy Cakes started two years ago in our freshman dorm hall,” said Bornstein. “We created the name, the logo, the website, the menu, got all the supplies we needed, and even carried Alex’s micro fridge up four flights of stairs for our dorm kitchen. Our first night we sold out within three hours and had a great time. There was one problem though — the RAs were not fans. Today, we operate a fully licensed commercial kitchen and deliver tens of thousands of meals.”

The other competing ventures in the Nov. 12 pitch included: AK Vending, LLC, created by Ridley Angrist, a second-year student majoring in philosophy; My Family Book, founded by Hans Schmit, a fourth-year finance major; Simple Cars, started by Cameron Tuths, a second-year real estate and marketing major; and Fanfix, founded by Harry Gestetner, a fourth-year student majoring in business management.

In addition to the Jan. 21 competition, two more Pitch Fridays will take place this academic year: Feb. 18 and the last chance round March 18. The last chance round is open only to teams who previously applied but were not selected to compete or pitched but did not win. The grand prize round is scheduled for April 22, with a prize of $5,000 for the lucky student startup. FB

Previous post:

Next post: