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We have a winner! Congratulations!

It was a momentous evening for us at the Entrepreneurship Academy as we proudly announce our Champion for the Elevator Pitch Competition.


Jeremy Abrams impressed the judges with impeccable stage presence and impressive articulation of his vision for Uppd – a company he had founded with partner, Stefanie Bassler.

Jeremy & his partner wanted an idea that balanced ingenuity and practicality as they knew it wasn’t feasible to pursue a fantastically unique concept that cost more than it was worth. Moreover, since they also wanted to address a market need, there was no point in building something nobody would use. And voila, after a lot of brainstorming, meeting up a local coffee shops – Uppd was born.

In his own words about this new entrepreneurial venture : “Uppd lives at the confluence of three growing trends: video, social media, and gamification. It allows individuals to utilize their own video footage to participate in or create challenges. Users have the option to scroll through the top ranked videos, filter by interest, actively participate in other users’ challenges, or create original content to challenge others. Users are incentivized to create content with notoriety, as well as compete for other tangible rewards offered by sponsoring companies.”

Besides being an aspiring entrepreneur, our highly motivated Champion is currently a law student at IIT’s Kent Law School. Initially thinking he didn’t stand a chance to win and almost forfeiting this opportunity, he still went ahead and registered. This competition would give him that extra experience of delivering a short pitch to total strangers, and that was what motivated him. “This is why you never decide anything on doubt”, said Jeremy. “Had I succumbed to my fear of losing, I still wouldn’t know I could win.”

Even though Jeremy initially claimed that he was not proficient enough in public speaking, he managed to improve his pitch based on the constructive feedback that the judges in the semi-finals provided. Now painting a much clearer picture of how Uppd works, he impressed almost everyone that was present at the finals round. Judges Adam Fridman, Founder of MeetAdvisors, Vlad Kharaz, Senior Design & Development Manager at High Sierra, Celestine McGee, Assistant Director of IIT’s Career Management Center & Nik Rokop, Managing Director of IIT’s Entrepreneurship Academy gladly bestowed upon Jeremy invaluable advice on further perfecting his 90 second pitch as he moves forward to represent IIT at the National CEO National Elevator Pitch Competition this weekend.

Among the prizes that Jeremy won is the $500 Elance credit, proudly sponsored by Elance Chicago. Jeremy plans to utilize the credits he obtained by seeking a graphic designer to rework Uppd’s logo. Although Jeremy designed the original, he thinks that a professional graphic designer could certainly transform Uppd’s logo.


Nishanth Samala & David Vidal, emerged as 1st Runner Up & 2nd Runner Up respectively & Erik Borczon had the most votes for the People’s Choice Award. In addition to the prizes for the top 3 contestants, Elance Chicago also generously offered $50 in Elance credits to all the contestants!

With this, we would like to thank our sponsor – Elance and our judges for contributing to the success of this event.

Quoting Jeremy, “Henry Ford said that -There is no man living that can not do more than he thinks he can.” Granted, all I did was a short 90 second pitch. But I plan to do much more, and I doubt that I can do a lot of it. But then again, why not?” This competition has been a tremendous journey for us and hopefully, for the contestants as well.


Stay tuned for many more exciting events, in particular – The Global Entrepreneurship Week happening from November 18- 22. For more information and to register for these events, go to: http://blogs.iit.edu/entrepreneurship/global-entrepreneurship-week/


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    wow.. it was really good. Congratulation!!!