Future Founders Announces Semifinalists for U.Pitch 2018

Future Founders, a non-profit organization that believes every youth can become an entrepreneur, today announced the 18 semifinalists for its 5th Annual U.Pitch National College Elevator Pitch Competition & Showcase.

U.Pitch brings together the top collegiate entrepreneurs from universities across the country in the ultimate elevator pitch competition. Finalists will compete for a portion of a $10,000 prize pool by pitching to judges that include successful entrepreneurs and investors. The event will take place on Thursday, November 15 from Noon – 3 pm at 1871 (222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, Suite 1212, Chicago). Purchase tickets at: https://futurefoundersupitch2018.eventbrite.com.

“We are excited to showcase the collegiate founders who are creating game-changing businesses all over the country,” said Scott Issen, President & CEO, Future Founders. “U.Pitch gives us the opportunity to celebrate innovation and the impact these young entrepreneurs are making in our world.”

The competition will include two rounds: a private semifinals round of 18 pitches and a public finals round of the top six pitches. During the finals, students will have 90 seconds to pitch their business ideas live plus field questions from our distinguished judges.

Previous winners include SnapClips, SwineTech, Inc., Seed Slide, and Sokowatch.

Finals Judges

  • Kasey Gandham, Co-Founder, Packback
  • Jon Hennessy, Director, The John E. & Jeanne T. Hughes Foundation
  • Logan LaHive, Managing Director, Techstars Chicago
  • Andrea Sreshta, Co-Founder, LuminAID
  • Cayla Weisberg, Partner, InvestHER Ventures
  • Pete Wilkins, Managing Director, Hyde Park Angels


Semifinals Judges

  • Nick Arnett, Community Partner, 1517 Fund
  • Monika Black, PhD, Chief Leadership Catalyst, TandemSpring
  • Maria Burud, President, The Zanon Group
  • Jude Conway, CEO, Ag Ventures Alliance
  • Karl Darin, The Alnair Group
  • Heidi Hattendorf, Director, Business Innovation & Transformation, Motorola Solutions
  • Scott Kitun, CEO & Host, Technori
  • Nika Koda, CEO, Hermit Art Collective Inc.
  • Reva Minkoff, Founder & President, Digital4Startups Inc. & DigitalGroundUp Inc.
  • Victoria Elena Nones, Co Founder & CEO, Satira & Founder, Women In Comedy
  • Gopal Rajaraman, Investment Principal, Motorola Solutions Venture Capital
  • Denise Umubyeyi, Co-Founder & COO, Five to Nine
  • James Zebrowski, Managing Director, Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization


Congratulations to the 2018 U.Pitch Semifinalists!

  • Mackenzie Andrews, Nanodropper, LLC, University of Washington (WA)
  • Alissa Chavez, EasyFlo, University of New Mexico (NM)
  • Nick Hamburger, Quevos, University of Chicago (IL)
  • Jake Hurrell, Roo Storage, University of Missouri (MO)
  • Jamie Kim, bumble & butter, Cornell University (NY)
  • Kristian Krugman, SOULMUCH, San Diego State University (CA)
  • Jonas Majauskas, Time Table, The George Washington University (DC)
  • Brianna Makaric, BRITE bites, Michigan State University (MI)
  • Moe Mitchell, Moe Mow’s Lawn Care LLC, North Central College (IL)
  • Bharat Pulgam, Runerra, University of Minnesota (MN)
  • Kristen Sanders, People6, Northwestern University (IL)
  • Kieran Scandrett, Clove, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (CA)
  • Mark Sotomayor, Té Amo Organic Tea, Grove City College (PA)
  • Weida Tan, Fledging, University of Alabama at Birmingham (AL)
  • Kashyap Venuthurupalli, Kilo Medical Solutions, Virginia Commonwealth University (VA)
  • John Wilcox, DiaTech Diabetic Technologies, Florida State University (FL)
  • David Zamarin, DetraPel, Babson College (MA)


The 18th semifinalist is the winner of the 35th Annual Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) Global Pitch Competition: Tyler Puccio, 12V Enterprise, Fresno State University (CA).

In addition to the pitches, the semifinalists will showcase their business ideas in an expo-style format.

U.Pitch is one of the opportunities Future Founders offers to support aspiring and existing collegiate entrepreneurs. This work is generously supported by Motorola Solutions Foundation (founding sponsor), Blackstone Charitable Foundation, Capital One, The Coleman Foundation, The John E. & Jeanne T. Hughes Foundation, Keywell Foundation, ChicagoNEXT, Jack and Goldie Wolfe Miller Fund, and World Business Chicago.

Join us on November 15 for this special event. Register at: https://futurefoundersupitch2018.eventbrite.com.