April 19, 2005

UCLA Anderson Team Wins National Business Plan Competition


Johanna Wright and Nicholas SeetLOS ANGELES — A team of three UCLA Anderson students took first place in the Rice University Business Plan Competition, the largest intercollegiate business plan competition in the world.  After all rounds of judging were complete, the UCLA Anderson team came away not only with a grand prize valued at $135,450, but also valuable input from an array of 130 judges, including venture capitalists, patent lawyers, entrepreneurs and bankers. 

The winning UCLA Anderson team, named Auditude, was composed of Johanna Wright (MBA '05) and Nicholas Seet (FEMBA '05), who participated in the actual competition, and Erik Haus (MBA '05), who provided significant input in developing and writing the winning business plan.  Wright and Seet were honored at a banquet held at the conclusion of the competition, which took place April 7-9, 2005, at Rice University in Houston, Texas.  The three-day competition is aimed at simulating the real-world process of entrepreneurs soliciting start-up funds from early-stage investors and venture capital firms.  The competition was hosted by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship and Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management at Rice University.

The UCLA Anderson team competed against the 35 top-selected business plans from among 130 plans entered for the competition.  From the start of the event, the UCLA Anderson team faced fierce competition from a number of peer business schools, including Harvard, Stanford and MIT, as well as from international teams from Colombia, India, England and Canada.  Upon reaching the finals, Auditude went up against six solid teams from London Business School, Northwestern, University of Chicago, University of Louisville, University of Michigan and University of Pennsylvania.

Auditude’s business plan outlines the development of a suite of technology services for automatic tracking of broadcast advertisements based on its proprietary technology.  The digital media startup’s mission is to “deliver accountability to the broadcast advertising industry” by ensuring that advertisements are played correctly on television and radio.  Auditude technology can detect and display which radio and television ads were played—literally minutes after they air.  In 2004, Auditude licensed its technology to Premiere Radio Networks, the syndication division of Clear Channel Communications Inc., and is currently engaged in active discussions for with several other national broadcasters.

As the first place winning team, Auditude received a grand prize of $135,450, consisting of a $100,000 investment from GOOSE (Grand Order of Successful Entrepreneurs), $20,000 in cash, roundtrip tickets on Continental Airlines, one year office space and services from Houston Technology Center, and qualification to advance to the international finals of the MOOT CORP® business plan competition.

“We went to this competition essentially to get feedback on our plan so that we could improve our chances to win the Knapp Venture Competition, UCLA Anderson’s Business Plan Competition,” said Johanna Wright.  “So it was really unexpected when we actually won at Rice.”

“The Rice Business Plan Competition was incredible.  It is a rare event to present your plan to more than one investor at once, let alone 130,” noted team leader Nicholas Seet.  “Not only were the judges extremely supportive, but their feedback was honest and thorough.”
 
In developing their plan, Seet, Wright and Haus brought their diverse professional experience and also applied the knowledge they’ve gained from their UCLA Anderson management education, in particular, Professor Bob Foster’s business plan development course.  Prof. Foster served as the team’s faculty advisor.

“Prof. Foster’s business plan development class was instrumental in our writing the Auditude plan,” said Seet.  “The critique delivered by the class and the opportunity to present the plan in front of real VCs helped us prepare for the Rice event.”

Bio Briefs on the Auditude Team
Nicholas Seet serves as the chief technology officer for Auditude.  He has a bachelor of science in engineering and a bachelor of arts in economics, and is completing his MBA at UCLA Anderson, with an emphasis in entrepreneurship and finance.  He has worked for Deloitte Consulting's Orange County practice focusing on middleware.  Subsequent to that in 1999, he founded SIVI, a Los Angeles Internet incubator, and acquired TigerIT, a software development firm in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Johanna Wright is concentrating on marketing and entrepreneurial studies at UCLA Anderson.  She has a background in product development for technology startup companies.  She spent this past summer working at Yahoo!, focusing on search advertising.  Prior to returning to business school, she helped to start the online product department for the Entertainment Coupon Book (a division of InterActiveCorp).  Prior to that, she led the product team at Droplets, a venture funded Internet startup.  Wright started her career as a software engineer a financial services software company.  She graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree in mathematics.

Erik Haus is currently an MBA/MS in computer science dual degree candidate at UCLA Anderson.  His work experience includes aerospace engineering, software (startup) and IT consulting.  He previously earned a master of science degree in materials engineering.

About UCLA Anderson School of Management
UCLA Anderson School of Management is perennially ranked among the top-tier business schools in the world.  Award-winning faculty renowned for their research and teaching, highly selective admissions, successful alumni and world-class facilities combine to provide an extraordinary learning environment.  UCLA Anderson constituents are part of a culture that values individual vision, intellectual discipline and a sense of teamwork and collegiality.

Established in 1935, UCLA Anderson School of Management provides management education to more than 1,400 students enrolled in MBA and doctoral programs, and some 2,000 executives and managers enrolled annually in executive education programs.  Recognizing that the school offers unparalleled expertise in management education, the world's business community turns to UCLA Anderson School of Management as a center of influence for the ideas, innovations, strategies and talent that will shape the future.

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