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Student entrepreneurs advance to finals of national pitch competition

Four student entrepreneurs from Michigan State University will pitch their ideas to a national audience next month in hopes of receiving funding for their startup. 

Carbon CashPatrick Schmitz, Bernie Eisbrenner, Patrick McCarthy, and Jon Bauer are competing in South by Southwest Student Startup Madness with their app, Carbon Cash, which won the Broad College of Business Undergraduate Pitch Competition in December. This is the second year in a row that the winner of the Broad College business plan competition has advanced to the finals of SSM. In fact, the Broad team won SSM last year with their app, TempoRun

“The Broad business pitch competition absolutely helped us advance to the SSM finals. We actually recorded our pitch from that competition and used it in our application for SSM,” Schmitz (BA Finance ’15) said. “Spartan Innovations and The Hatch have been amazing resources for us. Hopefully, we can bring back another title to MSU!”

The Broad Undergraduate Pitch Competition is sponsored by the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which promotes and advances entrepreneurship in Michigan through research, education, and outreach. The institute is just one of many entrepreneurial resources available to help MSU students transform their ideas, like Carbon Cash or TempoRun, into startup companies.

Carbon Cash is an energy-efficiency app designed for college students that will monitor their electricity consumption and relay the information back to the students. Users of the app can access special offers for meeting reduction benchmarks and earn points they can redeem for gift cards at local restaurants and retailers. They are also able to earn points by reading articles, watching videos, and taking quizzes that teach them about energy efficiency. Carbon Cash gives students the ability to compete against other halls on their campus and around the globe to see who can make the biggest impact.

“Our overall goal for Carbon Cash is to make as big of a difference in as many places as we possibly can,” Schmitz said. “Energy consumption has turned to something that most of us take for granted, but it is beginning to become a crisis. If we can educate students on simple ways to be smarter about energy consumption, we know we can make a difference that can last for generations.”

South by Southwest Student Startup Madness is a nationwide tournament-style competition for college student digital media startups. The competition provides college students with the opportunity to catch the attention of potential investors and leaders in the startup community and build a professional network. The top three teams in the competition will each get $5,000 of credits for Google Cloud Platform, which allows startups to build and run applications in the cloud.

Out of all the colleges represented in 2013, MSU is the only repeat finalist for 2014. The first round of the SSM competition was held online from August until November. The 32 semi-finalists then advanced to the virtual regional round, and from each of the six SSM regions, two finalists emerged–along with two at-large teams. Carbon Cash and the other finalists will pitch to a panel of well-known entrepreneurs and investors at the SSM national finals in Austin, Texas, on March 10.

Read more about Carbon Cash on MSU Today.

 


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