English Major Wins Second Annual Business Launch Competition

Office of Communications | May 10, 2012
English Major Wins Second Annual Business Launch Competition

Joazard on Dpicd: “A picture doesn't say a thousand words, a thousand pictures do”

It all started with obstructed seats at a Red Sox game.

Steeve Joazard, a senior English major at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and his friend and business partner, Markus Howard, a fourth year computer engineering student at Northeastern University, started talking about how it would be great if everyone at the game uploaded their photos and videos so you’d have a 360-degree view of the event. And so Dpicd began.

Thursday, Joazard and Howard won first place in the Entrepreneurship Center’s second annual Business Launch Competition. The two took home $20,000 in cash and prizes:

  • $2,500 cash and a legal consulting package provided by Goodwin Procter LLP, valued at $10,000
  • 12 months access to inbound marketing solution provided by HubSpot, valued at $6,000
  • 12 months access and support for email marketing solution, provided by Yesware, valued at $1,500
  • 3 months access to UMass Boston’s Venture Development Center

“I feel like I just got drafted in the first round,” Joazard says.

Joazard and students behind five other startups were selected as finalists in the competition, which began on March 1 with 15 student-run businesses.  The students have worked with their mentors to refine their business plans and target markets since the competition started March 1.

Howard says one thing that changed throughout the process was the company’s website, after a commenter noted that this picture-sharing company didn’t have any pictures on its website.

“It was very humbling,” Howard says.

Sophomore nursing majors Amanda Tripp and Sarah Gasse took home the second prize of $1,500 in cash and three months access to the Venture Development Center with their company Simply Edible, a specialty cupcake company that uses hormone- and pesticide- free dairy products and local ingredients as much as possible. Down the road, they’d like to produce gluten-free cupcakes.

“We’ve been baking for the past year and in the past month we really kicked things up a notch and I can’t believe that all this happened,” Gasse says.

Senior management major Kyle Crawshaw and his business partner, senior finance major Jordan Hirsch, took home the third prize of $1,000 and three months access to the Venture Development Center, for their craft beer company, the Noble Experiment Beer Company.

“We’re going to purchase ingredients to start making new recipes,” Crawshaw says.

“It costs us maybe $50 to make a batch so that $1,000 will definitely help us get some batches out and let everybody try it,” Hirsch adds.

The other finalists were:

  • MBA student Cheryl Baranowski, whose company Delish is a cooking class studio with a kitchen goods store that focuses on international cuisine
  • Senior psychology and Africana studies major Lyse Lucien, whose company The Green Machine would offer cost-effective recycling services for small businesses in Hyde Park
  • Senior anthropology major Stephanie Fail and sophomore information technology major Rohan Nijhawan, whose company Brainode makes a visual map of Twitter topics

As for Joazard, he says the goal is to have Dpicd launch September 1.

“There’s definitely an interest in this, so it’s up to us to deliver,” Joazard says.

About UMass Boston
With a growing reputation for innovative research addressing complex urban issues, the University of Massachusetts Boston, metropolitan Boston’s only public university, offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s eight colleges and graduate schools serve nearly 16,000 students while engaging local, national, and international constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service activities. To learn more about UMass Boston, visit www.umb.edu.

Tags: business launch competition , entrepreneurship center

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