May 21, 2004

Knapp Venture Competition WinnersLos Angeles — The Harold Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at UCLA Anderson School of Management announced the winners of the 23rd annual Knapp Venture Competition, held Thursday, May 20, 2004. Six teams competed in the finals, and this year’s first place prize was split between MessageRite, an e-mail and instant messaging support and storage system, and Krank, a hipster magazine directed at 12- to 17-year-old boys. Each team received $7,500 to be used to fund the launch of their businesses.

MessageRite offers a hosted, comprehensive electronic message management solution that enables organizations to use e-mail and instant messaging (IM) effectively while ensuring adherence to policies and industry regulations. MessageRite protects and supports its customers’ messaging environments by additionally offering spam & anti-virus protection, content filtering, and disaster recovery and business continuity capabilities.

Team members from MessageRite include Kevin Merritt, CEO and Carey Ransom, vice president, sales & marketing, UCLA Anderson MBA ’04.

The other team winner, Krank, will be the industry’s only hipster publication for teenage boys, delivering a provocative lifestyle content to a generation of male consumers with bulging wallets, raging media appetites and few channels for self-expression. In addition, Krank will provide a one-stop advertising vehicle to companies currently lacking an effective, efficient way to reach this demographic.

Krank Team members include Anni Rodgers, founding editor, UCLA Anderson MBA ’04; Maggie Brenneke, marketing consultant, UCLA Anderson MBA ’04; Giorgi Chigogidze, financial consultant, UCLA Anderson MBA ’04; Marc Olshan, marketing consultant, UCLA Anderson MBA ’04; and Manuel Madrazo, financial consultant, UCLA Anderson MBA ’04.

The other four teams each received $1,250 as an honorable mention, bringing the total prize money to $20,000.

Cleon “Bud” Knapp, a UCLA alumnus, and his wife Betsy financially support the competition through an endowment to the school. They have a great interest in business formation and were extremely pleased with the quality and diverse selection of business plans in this year’s competition. “We have a vested interest in helping businesses, as well as the community,” said Betsy Knapp. “Being able to promote their business plans helps the entrepreneurs to develop their businesses. And new businesses help the community,” she added.

The Knapp Venture Competition is designed to provide UCLA Anderson students with an intensive entrepreneurial learning experience. Virtually all Anderson students will start, work in, advise or finance growing businesses at some point in their careers. Participating in the Knapp Venture Competition prepares students - whether they will be founders, financiers, consultants, marketers or general managers - for these experiences by simulating the process of starting and evaluating an entrepreneurial enterprise.

“The finalist teams really demonstrated dedication to the entrepreneurial process,” said Kindra Liedtke, program manager, Harold Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. “From concept creation to preparing and ultimately presenting their plans, over the course of a year these teams have turned their business ideas into realities,” said Liedtke.

The winners of the 2004 Knapp Venture Competition were announced at a reception following the final competition.

The Knapp Venture Competition requires that at least one member of a team be a current UCLA Anderson student. The competition allows students to discover the incredible resources that are available to them at UCLA and throughout the greater Los Angeles community. Fellow UCLA Anderson classmates and alumni, as well as graduate students in the other technical and professional schools, are all potential partners and sources of ideas.

The judges who evaluated the business plans and presentations included:

Betsy Wood Knapp, founder and CEO, BigPicture Investors, LLC
Cleon “Bud” Knapp, trustee, The Knapp Foundation
John Shields, former chairman & CEO, Trader Joes
Christopher Jennings, Roth Capital Partners
Tom Epley, chairman, Paradyne Networks
Fred Rogers, president, Select University Technologies
Jack McDonough, professor HROB, UCLA Anderson School of Management
About the Harold Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies
The Harold 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 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. Established in 1935, UCLA Anderson provides management education to more than 1,400 students enrolled in full-time, part-time and executive MBA programs and doctoral programs.

UCLA Anderson’s faculty includes outstanding educators and researchers who share their scholarship and expertise in such fundamental areas as finance, marketing, accounting, business economics, decision sciences, operations and technology management, human resources and organizational behavior, information systems, strategy and policy.

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.

Media Relations