May 29, 2007

Ethnic Food Web Portal Top Prize Winner At UCLA Anderson Knapp Venture Competition

Tastination helps food lovers discover ethnic cuisine in their neighborhoods

Los Angeles -- The Harold and Pauline Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at UCLA Anderson School of Management announced the winners of the 26th annual Knapp Venture Competition, held Thursday, May 24, 2007 at UCLA Anderson’s Korn Hall.  The competition consisted of five finalist teams that presented business plans to a judging panel of distinguished entrepreneurs and investors.  

Tastination, a Web portal and tour company that helps food lovers discover ethnic cuisine in their neighborhoods, won the competition and received a grand prize of $12,500.  EyeLight, Inc., a company that has developed a minimally invasive surgical procedure for the treatment of glaucoma, came in second place and received a $7000 prize.  Make Believe, Ink, a retail company providing children with the opportunity to become a character in their own self-designed storybook, finished in third place and received a $5000 prize.  This company was also voted the People’s Choice Award winner, receiving the most audience votes for favorite venture and an additional $1000 prize. 

Tastination, the first place winner, is composed of team members Joann Lofgren (‘07), Saujin Yi (‘07), Stan Stuka (‘07) and Laura Loh (‘07).  The company offers restaurant tours that introduce people to new foods, while also providing a setting for socializing.  Its Web portal allows users and tour customers to share their dining experiences, access recipes, locate ethnic food restaurants, and sign up for tours. 

“It is extremely exciting to win, especially amongst a field of such top-notch competitors,” says Tastination co-founder Joann Lofgren.  “The Knapp Competition is a wonderful opportunity for students to show their work, showcase what Anderson has to offer, and have fun doing it.”

 EyeLight, Inc., which received second place honors, includes team members Sanjaya Mohottala (‘07), Gregory Samson (‘07), Scott Whitman (‘08), and Michael Berlin, M.D., clinical professor with the UCLA Jules Stein Eye Institute.  Third place winner Make Believe, Ink is comprised of Dustin Smith (‘07) and Dave Hodgman (‘07).     

 SportSpectator finished fourth and received $2000.  In fifth place was Intelligence Visibility which received a $1000 prize.
 
The student-run Knapp Venture Competition, hosted by UCLA Anderson’s Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and the Entrepreneur Association, is designed to provide UCLA Anderson students with an intensive learning experience in the venture initiation process.   Participating teams must include at least one Anderson student, but can also consist of Anderson alumni, other UCLA graduate students, and members of the L.A. business community.  Many of the Knapp winning ideas evolve into successful businesses like past Knapp winner Stamps.com.   

The Knapp Venture Competition is named for Bud and Betsy Knapp, whose $2 million gift to UCLA Anderson supports the annual event, as well as several other entrepreneurial initiatives.  The couple also serves on UCLA Anderson’s Board of Visitors. 

Judges participating in this year’s final round of the Knapp Venture Competition include:

Jason Cavnar, general partner, Sports Business Ventures
Annette Finsterbusch, investment manager, Applied Ventures
Randall Kaplan, founder & president, JUMP Investors
Betsy Knapp, chairman & CEO, BigPicture Investors, LLC
Bud Knapp, chairman & CEO, The Knapp Foundation
Eve Kurtin, managing director, Pacific Venture Group
Reagan Silber, CEO & co-chairman, Edge Group

About the Harold and Pauline Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies
The Harold and Pauline Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, a recognized leader in entrepreneurial education, oversees all teaching, research, extracurricular and community activities related to entrepreneurship at UCLA Anderson School of Management.  The Price Center strives to provide academic and extracurricular experiences that advance both the theory and practice of entrepreneurship. 

About UCLA Anderson School of Management
UCLA Anderson School of Management, established in 1935, is regarded among the very best business schools in the world.  UCLA Anderson faculty are ranked #1 in "Intellectual Capital" by BusinessWeek and are renowned for their teaching excellence and research in advancing management thinking.  Each year, UCLA Anderson provides management education to more than 1,600 students enrolled in MBA, Executive MBA, Fully-Employed MBA and doctoral programs, and to more than 2,000 professional managers through executive education programs.  Combining highly selective admissions, varied and innovative learning programs, and a world-wide network of 35,000 alumni, UCLA Anderson develops and prepares global leaders.

Contact Information

Diana Greenwood, (310) 206-7707, diana.greenwood@anderson.ucla.edu

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