Undergrads Win Prize from Fortune Small Business Magazine
February 1 2004
Like a good husband, David J. Bateman, '04, listened caringly when his wife complained about inefficient software at the apartment complex where she worked. Then, like a good entrepreneur, the BYU undergraduate business student started a company to solve the problem.
The company he created, Property Solutions International, which sells software that takes apartment-complex management online, won Fortune Small Business magazine's first MBA Showdown, a contest designed to pick the best business plan from the nation's top business schools.
Joined by his business partners -- BYU students Benjamin W. Zimmer, '03, and Michael S. Trionfo, '04, and nonstudents Jeramy Morrill and Jordan Jones -- Bateman accepted the $50,000 award at a ceremony in New York City. The quintet beat out MBA students from the University of Georgia and Harvard, the second- and third-place winners, respectively, to win the top spot. The BYU team is featured on the cover of the November 2003 issue of the magazine, a sister publication to Fortune.
Bateman and Zimmer took the company from paper to the real world in the spring of 2003. Property Solutions now boasts 30 full-time employees in Texas, Nevada, California, Idaho, and Utah. Using the company's software, called VantageXP, apartment-complex managers can easily create individualized Web sites that let potential tenants take virtual tours and allow current tenants to pay rent online.
The students credit BYU and its Center for Entrepreneurship for helping them start their business and win the competition. According to Zimmer, executive vice president: "The resources at BYU are unbelievable for students who want to start their own business."