Autobid co-founders Jordan Furniss and Taylor
Moss won first place and $50,000 in prizes at
the 2012 BYU BPC.This year’s Business Plan Competition at Brigham Young University proved one thing: student entrepreneurship throughout campus is alive and well. At the annual competition that recognizes the best student ventures, the team Autobid captured first place and won $50,000 in cash and in-kind services.
Autobid provides insurance estimate software that transfers quote information from insurance companies to collision repair shops. This eliminates the time it takes for repair shops to reenter the information sent from insurance companies.
“We found that estimators were wasting hours duplicating collision estimates sent to them from insurance companies by manually re-keying each estimate,” says Jordan Furniss, Autobid co-founder and a senior studying entrepreneurship from Idaho Falls, Idaho. “We knew that this industry was pretty complex and our solution could be confusing if we were not careful, but we had great help from mentors.”
Coming in second, Flexleg won $30,000 in prizes. Flexleg creates and sells prosthetic braces as an alternative to crutches or scooters for lower leg injuries.
Third place and $20,000 in prizes went to Active Alarm. The company developed a smoke detector that prevents house fires by cutting power to the stove.
The Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, which hosts the competition, also awarded $5,000 to winners of three specialty categories. A Sugared Frenzy won the home-based business category, Freedom’s Family won the social category and ZEN Personal Assisting won the lifestyle category. The BYU Global Management Center awarded $5,000 to Revolving Closet in the global category.
Eighty-two final business plans — a record number of submissions — were entered into the BPC. Plans were narrowed to three finalists that were judged by a panel of successful entrepreneurs. Judges looked at the plans’ product quality, marketing strategy, management and finances.
The high number of submissions this year came as a result of new initiatives by the Rollins Center, such as the Weekly Idea Pitch and Super Saturdays, to encourage students across campus to form ventures and enter them. Throughout the year the Rollins Center received more than 1,000 ideas from more than 100 teams in weekly pitches, workshops and other events.
“The process and system we have implemented involving all of BYU’s colleges and departments has paid huge dividends,” says Scott Petersen, managing director of the Rollins Center. “We had incredible business models and plans submitted from all over campus, resulting in a nearly 300 percent increase in participation since last year — the highest quality submissions we’ve ever received.”
After the winners were announced, the audience was treated to a surprise unveiling of the competition’s new name. Beginning next year the BPC will be known as the Larry and Gail Miller New Venture Challenge. The Miller family is renowned in Utah for its numerous entrepreneurial endeavors and philanthropy.
Founded in 1993, the Business Plan Competition is operated by the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology. The event, run by a leadership team of seven MBA students, an undergraduate business student and a faculty adviser, is recognized as one of the top-tier business plan competitions in the nation in terms of prizes and participation. Winners from past BYU competitions include Xeromax, Klymit, Calle, 1-800-CONTACTS, uSight, Property Solutions and Alianza.
The Marriott School is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. The school has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, public management, information systems and entrepreneurship. The school’s mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,000 students are enrolled in the Marriott School’s graduate and undergraduate programs.
For this and other Marriott School news releases, please visit our online newsroom at marriottschool.byu.edu/news.
Contact Joseph Ogden (801) 422-8938
Writer: Janet Barton