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National Competition Rewards BYU Undergrads $50,000

Chantal Lapicola
Daily Universe
October 30 2003

BYU undergraduates received $50,000 Thursday, Oct. 30, in New York for winning the Fortune Small Business Magazine's "MBA Showdown."

Students David Bateman, Benjamin Zimmer, Michael Trionfo and non-students Jeramy Morill and Jordan Jones are the management team that makes up Property Solutions International Inc., a company that sells software to take apartment complex management online.

The management team qualified for the Fortune contest when they won the grand prize of $50,000 in BYU's annual business plan competition last April.

"It was overwhelming to win," said Bateman, president and CEO of Property Solutions International Inc. "We had entered it just for fun."

When the group went on to win the national competition, Bateman said the group was flabbergasted.

"We entered it because we thought it would improve our business plan, but we didn't think we had a shot at it," said Benjamin Zimmer, executive vice president of Property Solutions International Inc.

Fifty-nine entries from 49 top-tier schools in the United States were submitted to the competition.

In July, eight teams chosen as finalists made 10-minute teleconference presentations to venture capitalists and magazine officials judging the competition.

"We were shocked we were in the top eight, and then the top three," Bateman said.

After making the top three, the team participated in a photo shoot, and one of the photographers told the team he needed a cover shot of them, Zimmer said.

"We've kind of suspected here for a few weeks that they wouldn't be putting a third place team on the cover," Zimmer said.

The team said it has been hard to wait these last few months to see how everything would turn out, but it was worth the wait.

"Monday one of our friends called us and said that he had received the magazine in the mail and we were on the cover of it," Zimmer said.

The team plans to use the $50,000 grand prize to further develop their software, Bateman said.

"This is probably the best thing to happen to us as far as our marketing is concerned," Zimmer said.

Property Solutions has 30 full-time employees in Dallas, Las Vegas, California, Idaho and Utah and their software called VantageXP, is currently being used on 45 properties in Utah, Idaho and Texas.

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