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Two Student Teams Share First Prize in Business Plan Contest


Business plans for a global online community for collectors and a Web site that generates food delivery orders for restaurants tied for first place in the 2006 Edward L. Kaplan New Venture Challenge at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.

Kevin Knapp, a 2006 MBA graduate, Michael Moyer, a 2004 graduate, and Michael Dworecki, class of 2007, were part of a team that developed the winning business plan for Collectica, a global online community for collectors. Combining social networking with media technology, collectors can upload and link their collections to the site. The site, which is expected to go live in the fall of 2006, will feature convention and event coverage, auction and appraisal services, special collection awards, and exclusive content. Four additional undergraduate students at the University of Chicago were also part of the team that developed the business plan.

Sharing the first place award with Collectica was GrubHub.com, a Web site that generates food delivery orders and sells the orders to restaurants willing to deliver the meals. Grubhub.com was founded by Matthew Maloney, a current student in the Evening MBA Program. Grubhub.com connects hungry customers to restaurants that pay a pre-determined amount per order to participate in the program. The site was launched in 2005.

Collectica and GrubHub.com each received $17,500 for their winning plans. An additional $25,000 will be given by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to be split among the winning teams if they establish their company headquarters or primary location in Illinois.

Hybridtronics, a company that develops technology to increase the fuel efficiency of large commercial vehicles by 30 percent, won third place and received $10,000.

Finalists in this year’s New Venture Challenge ranged from business plans for the development of solar windows to a salon and day spa targeting African-American professional women.

“The depth of the NVC teams this year was outstanding,” said Steven Kaplan, Neubauer Family Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance at Chicago GSB and faculty director of the school’s Michael P. Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship. “An unusually large number of the teams have started or will start their companies.”

“One of the exciting things about this year’s competition was the diversity of teams from lead generation websites to hybrid technology to consumer businesses,” said Ellen A. Rudnick, Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship and Executive Director of the Polsky Center.

The New Venture Challenge was founded in 1997 as a way to encourage MBA students at the University of Chicago to put their entrepreneurial vision into practice. Now in its 10 th year, the business plan competition has launched 30 new companies which have attracted more than $100 million in funding.

The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business is one of the oldest and largest business schools in the world. It offers full-time and part-time MBA programs, a Ph.D. program, open enrollment executive education and custom corporate education. The school has campuses in London and Singapore in addition to two campuses in Chicago.