‘WatercoolerTM’ wins New Venture Business Plan Competition at UWM

New Venture competitors

Present at the 2012 New Venture awards presentation were(left to right): V. Kanti Prasad, Lubar School’s Bostrom Professor of Entrepreneurship and faculty director of the International Business Center; Carlton Reeves and Austen Scudder, second prize winners; Jennifer La Macchia, competition sponsor; James H. Hunter III, Bostrom Entrepreneur-in-Residence; Dan Matré, first prize winner; Shawn Conaway, third prize winner; Rita Derleth, competition coordinator and Dwayne M. Wilson, third prize winner.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee alumnus Daniel A. Matre (’08 Executive MBA) was awarded the $7,500 grand prize in the New Venture Business Plan Competition at UWM’s Lubar School of Business. Matre presented his plan for WatercoolerTM to a panel of independent judges, besting six other plans in the final competition.

WatercoolerTM will manufacture, market and distribute H2_OpstationsTM – devices that replace existing wall-mounted drinking foundations. The stations provide clean, cold, filtered water dispensed into customer-provided reusable water bottles as a substitute for bottled water. A wall-mounted HD flat screen monitor is included to facilitate advertising revenues in addition to cash flows from direct purchase of water.

The New Venture competition is designed to foster entrepreneurial spirit among UWM students and alumni, promote practical business skills and encourage the creation of new, for-profit ventures. It is made possible by private support from La Macchia Enterprises, the parent company of Mark Travel and Trisept Solutions.

Judges included Robert De Vita, Common Ground Health Care Cooperative; Alan Katz, retired, Katz Bagels; Joe Kirgues, 94Labs.com; V. Kanti Prasad, Bostrom Professor at the Lubar School; and Paul Stewart, PS Capital Partners LLC.

Earning the second-place award was Spork, a location-based social-networking, local-search and business-advertising service that focuses on connecting customers to restaurants through a website and mobile applications. Carlton Reeves (doctoral student, Mechanical Engineering) and Austen Scudder (’11 MSE Mechanical Engineering) presented the plan.

Two plans tied for third place. Dwayne M. Wilson (Marketing student) was recognized for his plan for Ear Bud Buddys, an earbud attachment that allows users to custom fit their earbuds to their personal ear shape and size. Shawn Conaway (MBA student) presented his plan for Jellyfish Publishing, a vanity press that provides services for self-publishing authors.