Undergraduate BYU Team Wins $250K in Startup Funding

Lauren Funk
Marriott School of Management
April 28 2004

NEW YORK -- Apr 28, 2004 -- BYU undergraduate startup Property Solutions was announced as the winner of $250,000 in funding from the National Institute for Entrepreneurship's Venture Bowl 2004. Venture Bowl is the nation's largest college business plan competition.

Despite their undergraduate status, the BYU team placed first runner-up among over 300 competing teams from national graduate and doctoral programs. Property Solutions representatives, David Bateman and Benjamin Zimmer, received the award at two special ceremonies at Forbes Magazine headquarters and HSBC headquarters in New York City.

In October the team won $50,000 as first-place finishers in Fortune Small Business Magazine's first "MBA Showdown."

"Placing first runner-up among such amazing competition was incredible. The $250,000 of prize money is also very exciting," says David Bateman, current BYU student and President of Property Solutions. "For the last 12 months, we've been almost entirely focused on software development, but now we will have an additional budget for really marketing the software."

Harvard MBA graduate team Lean Forward Media placed first. Other finalists included third-place Robotic Surgical Tech, from Columbia's School of Medicine, and fourth-place TulipMed, a joint venture between MIT's doctoral engineering program and Harvard's School of Medicine. Only the top four finishing teams received funding offers from sponsor Carrot Capital, a New York-based venture capital firm.

This year's top twelve Venture Bowl finalists included two student teams from BYU. The second BYU team, Shaggy Bag, is a swiftly growing, unique furniture company which sells an alternative form of furniture bags filled with shredded foam, designed to conform directly to your body.

Other than BYU, only two schools--MIT and Harvard--sent two teams to this year's finals. "Even as we were receiving the business plan submissions, we could see BYU business plans coming from a mile away. They just looked different," said Geliebter.

Property Solutions' software, called RESIDENT WORKS, is an innovative new technology for the management of multifamily housing. RESDIENT WORKS allows apartment residents to pay rent online, process maintenance requests or submit online applications through individual apartment community website. Once residents submit information, all information is automatically entered into the property management software.

Property Solutions currently has clients in Utah, Idaho, California, Nevada, and Texas. The largest client, Triton Investments, manages approximately 3,000 units. For further information about Property Solutions' software and services, visit their website at http://propertysolutions.com

BYU entrepreneurship has recently made a big impact on the national entrepreneurial landscape. Within the last year, BYU teams have placed first in the Thunderbird Innovation Challenge, Fortune's National MBA Showdown, and the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge.

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, organizational behavior 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.

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