Tech Startups Buzz at BMC

$20,000 in cash prizes awarded

PROVO, Utah – Mar 14, 2016 – Innovative technology is defining the 21st century and it was no different at the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology’s 2016 Business Model Competition, where tech startups dominated the awards.

Leading the tech charge in first place was Whistic, a software company providing businesses with a more effective way to assess the security risk level of sharing company data with a third party. Co-founders Andrew Watanabe, a second-year MBA student from Salt Lake City, and Josh Mortensen, a second-year MBA student from Phoenix, Ariz., received $5,000 for taking the top spot.

“Experience has taught us you just never know what’s going to happen so we were really pleased to come in first,” Mortensen explains. “As an entrepreneur you have to feel confident about what you’re doing and you have to think it’s great.”

The second of three legs in the Miller Competition Series, the BMC is designed to evaluate students’ ability to design a business model, test it with consumers, make changes based on feedback and then repeat the process. This year a total of 60 teams competed in three rounds.

“The purpose of the BMC is to ensure that students learn and practice startup techniques that lead to greater success,” says Steven Fox, acting managing director of the Rollins Center. “These techniques — including agility, validation, pivoting and other principles — are helping students reach their goals.”

A total of $20,000 in cash prizes were awarded to help the top 10 teams with their businesses. Information Dental Technology, a company using 3D printers to create surgical guides, placed second; Dollow, a social media analytics platform took third; Latitude, an app that connects users with tour guides, finished fourth; and Wavio, a two-way radio for extreme athletes that also won the crowd favorite award while, came in fifth.

With the prize money as momentum, the winning Whistic team can now begin to push out its product. 

“The winnings will help us run tests on our website and speed up our progress as a company,” Mortensen says. “Right away it means that we can now actually start doing business with some of our beta customers.”

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, entrepreneurship, finance, information systems and public management. The school’s mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,300 students are enrolled in the Marriott School’s graduate and undergraduate programs.

MBA students Josh Mortensen and Andrew Watanabe receive the winning check from Steven Fox, acting managing director of the Rollins Center

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Brooke Porter