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Statusphere Takes Top Prize at the 2018 Rollins Crummer Venture Plan Competition

WINTER PARK, FL (March 29, 2018) – The Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College has announced Statusphere, a brand management and influencer network solution firm, as the 2018 winner of its annual Venture Plan Competition, the Orlando region’s largest and most comprehensive business plan and pitch competition for start-ups. Statusphere will receive $25,000 in prize money and has the option of receiving an additional $25,000 minimum equity investment from venVelo, a Winter Park-based, early-stage venture capital firm.

Open to all regionally headquartered start-ups, the annual competition is Central Florida’s very own “Shark Tank” where teams battle for funding and mentorship in front of the region’s top entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. Selected from more than 50 submitted proposals, finalists included Statusphere, along with Pangian, a remote-work job site catering to the millennial workforce; Lucerna, an education gaming and analytics technology firm; Frida.ai, an artificial intelligence company that helps companies improve browser conversion rates; and HENO, a software solution that aims to streamline management tasks for physical therapy practices.

“Congratulations to all the participants in this year’s Venture Plan Competition,” said Crummer Dean Deborah Crown. “They are a true reflection of Crummer’s mission to develop and support innovative, global, and responsible leaders who positively impact their organizations and communities. Since its inception in 2005, the competition has proven to be a valuable launchpad for new businesses, and we are anxious to see how this year’s finalists build on their successes.”

Of the 22 finalists for Crummer’s Venture Plan Competition since 2012, 20 companies are in business today. Together they have generated over $50 million in revenue, raised $20 million in investment capital and employ 280 people. Past winners include FleetZoo, Details Flowers, Fattmerchant, EASE Applications, BioCurity, and flexReceipts.

This year’s winner, Statusphere, is a platform that helps brands connect with optimal social media influencers to create mutually beneficial relationships, providing brands with a powerful marketing strategy while offering influencers a streamlined way to select the brands they want to leverage on their social channels.

"We're so excited and truly honored by this recognition,” said Statusphere Founder and CEO Kristen Wiley. “Our team is determined to succeed and make Orlando proud. We are thankful for the support we've received from our community as we continue to grow!"

The Venture Plan Competition, hosted by Crummer’s Center for Advanced Entrepreneurship, was started in 2005 to give Rollins Crummer students, alumni and faculty a platform to develop a viable business plan to take to the marketplace while receiving valuable feedback from an influential panel of judges. Today it brings together the most viable ventures in a seven-county area, along with the region’s top funders.

Sponsors of the competition include the Hayes Family Foundation, venVelo, Kenyon Energy, Bay4 Energy, Eldora Partners Inc., LFE Capital, Entrenext Ventures, Media Caddy, Ferrell Wealth Management, Harvard Development Co., Arsenal Venture Partners, Florentine Strategies, RVR Consulting Group, Legacy Fund, Massey Services Inc., OakStone Capital Partners, Starter Studio, Idea Fund Partners, VentureScaleUp, HUB, Ferrell & Kelly CPA, and Corridor Legal.

“The Rollins Crummer Venture Plan Competition is evidence that the Orlando region’s entrepreneurship community is thriving,” said Cari Coats, Executive Director of Crummer’s Center for Advanced Entrepreneurship. “We are pleased to be able to host this annual event that brings together so many talented competitors, experienced judges, and supportive sponsor organizations.”

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