Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) April 25, 2013
Wharton Business School’s Huntsman Hall burst into applause as two Wharton MBA students, Jean-Mathieu Chabas ’13 and Venkat Jonnala ’13, won the annual Wharton Business Plan Competition on Wednesday evening. Their venture, Zenkars, an online used car retailer that aims to connect wholesale buyers to individual customers, will receive the inaugural $30,000 Perlman Grand Prize and $15,000 of in-kind legal and accounting services to kick-start its business.
Zenkars topped a field of eight finalists, each of which had been selected from a larger group of 24 semi-finalists in March and over 200 overall entrants from eight schools across the University of Pennsylvania that submitted business plans in early November. Over a span of six months and four stages of competition, the teams were winnowed down to the eight finalists that pitched their ideas at the Venture Finals. The two runner-ups, MacuLens and Top Trender, both of which also featured Wharton MBA students, will receive $15,000 and $10,000 in start-up funding, respectively. MacuLens has developed a patented glass coating that drastically reduces glare from bright lights with no impact on visibility, which it plans to apply to a product portfolio of non-prescription and athletic eyewear. Top Trender is building a fashion game mobile app that will utilize consumers’ aggregated in-game decisions as a prediction market for next season’s fashion trends.
Prior to the Venture Finals, Clear Admit spoke with event organizers, judges and past participants to understand how the Wharton Business Plan Competition advances the educational goals of Wharton’s entrepreneurship program. This group included Emily Cieri, the current Managing Director of the Wharton Entrepreneurship program; Davis Smith, a former participant and judge of the competition; and Eric Heil, Rohan Deuskar, and Natasha and Chris Ashton, winners of the 2012, 2011, and 2003 Wharton Business Plan Competitions, respectively. They portrayed the iterative, instructive nature of the competition as a valuable addition to the entrepreneurship-focused educational opportunities at Wharton.
The Venture Final judges included past and current entrepreneurs including David A. Cohen, CEO and Co-Founder of Karlin Asset Management. This year, thanks to a recent gift from Richard E. Perlman and Ellen Hanson Perlman that endows the award in perpetuity, the Wharton Business Plan Competition Grand Prize has been named in their honor.
Clear Admit is an authority on the business school admissions process and a leading publisher of MBA admissions guides. Founded by Wharton MBA graduates with extensive admissions experience, the firm has been featured in dozens of publications including Bloomberg BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal and The Economist. Clear Admit also provides admissions consulting services to business school applicants using a highly personalized methodology that combines the perspectives of MBA admissions officers, expert editors and MBA students to help maximize prospective applicants’ chances for acceptance at top schools.