Students Pitch Start-Up Ideas

Harvard students were given 90 seconds to pitch their start-up ideas to a panel of five judges on Monday to win $1,000 at the Harvard College Entrepreneurship Forum Elevator Pitch Competition.

Yi Han ’13 beat out almost thirty other students with his start-up, Clarendon Media, which plans to bring digital advertising to taxis.

“Introducing this new business model lowers the barrier to entry in the advertising space for local businesses,” Han said.

“Whereas with traditional taxi rooftop advertising, businesses would have to pay about $150 a month, our model creates an opportunity for businesses with much smaller budgets,” he continued.

With this service, businesses would be able to reserve advertising rights for specific times of day, Han said.

A nightclub, for example, could choose to advertise only during Friday and Saturday nights, instead of paying for an entire month of advertising.

Han said he plans to use the prize money to rent digital displays and pay local taxi drivers to install them.

He credited Tuan A. Ho ’09, a non-resident entrepreneurship tutor in Quincy House, for helping him come up with the idea.

The runner-up pitches were from U.S. Green Data, a website that aggregates information about incentives for buying energy-efficient appliances, and Global Village Fruits, a business that distributes jackfruit according to fair trade policies.

“HCEF fosters entrepreneurship among students, and we see the Elevator Pitch as a first step to turning the idea into a reality,” said Gabriel Wildberger, a visiting undergraduate and a Harvard College Entrepreneurship Forum officer.

Andrew J. Magliozzi ’05, who served on the panel of judges, has founded two businesses since graduating from Harvard, Veritas Tutors and Finalsclub.org.

“There wasn’t much of an entrepreneurial culture when I was here, but now it’s really blossomed,” he said.

The panel also included Thomas R. Eisenmann, a professor at the Harvard Business School in entrepreneurial management.

“The biggest purpose here is to get together people from the community, and they did a great job with that,” he said.

The Harvard College Entrepreneurship Forum also focuses on networking and regular speaking events.

“Our goal is to become the paramount society for every single sector of entrepreneurship across the Harvard campus,” said co-president Patrick M. Colangelo ’14.

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