By Nadine Kavanaugh, Associate Director, Wharton Entrepreneurship
Bungalow Insurance won the $30,000 Perlman Grand Prize of the 2015 Wharton Business Plan Competition. The prize was awarded at the Wharton School’s annual Venture Finals on April 30, 2015, where student finalists received more than $128,000 in combined cash prizes and in-kind legal/accounting services.
Bungalow Insurance is using data and design to create an insurance experience that finally meets the needs, habits, and expectations of Millennial consumers.
Millennials are increasingly turning to the Internet to research and purchase insurance, and most are met by a confusing and frustrating experience that frequently re-routes them to an in-person agent. As a result, only 37% of renters actually have renters insurance, even though renters insurance is widely considered to be an important protective measure for young adults, and mots renters agree that renters insurance is a good idea to have. Bungalow Insurance is solving these problems by building an easy-to-use online renters insurance buying platform designed for Millennials, and partnering with affiliates to distribute the product to tenants, dramatically lowering customer acquisition expenditures.
The Venture Finals, which is the year-long Wharton BPC’s culminating event, attracted over 300 venture capitalists, business leaders, faculty members and students. This year the competition had 175 venture concepts submitted, with 436 individual participants from across ten Schools at the University of Pennsylvania. While the Venture Finals judges deliberated the top three prizes, the “Great Eight” Finalist teams competed for the Michelson People’s Choice Award, which allowed the audience of hundreds to vote for their favorite elevator pitch. The crowd favorite was ThirdEye, which walked away with a $3,000 prize.
We are excited by the diversity of teams this year: four of the eight finalist teams were led by and comprised of undergraduates from The College, Engineering, and Wharton. One was comprised of Wharton Executive MBA students from both the Philadelphia and the Wharton | San Francisco programs. Out of the nineteen total participants in the eight finalist teams, eleven were undergrads and six were women.
The 2015 Wharton Business Plan Competition winners are:
- Perlman Grand Prize: $30,000 to Bungalow Insurance
- Second Prize: $15,000 to FeverSmart
- Third Prize: $10,000 to Soceana
- Wharton Social Impact Prize: $10,000 to Cure Accelerator
- Gloeckner Undergraduate Award: $10,000 for the highest ranking undergraduate team to FeverSmart
- Michelson People’s Choice Award: $3,000 to ThirdEye
- Committee Award for Most Disruptive Company: $1,000 to ThirdEye
- Committee Award for Best Business Plan: $1,000 to My Best Friend’s Weekend
- Committee Award for Committee’s Choice: $1,000 to WeTrain
Over the years, the Wharton Business Plan Competition, which is open to any University of Pennsylvania student and managed by Wharton Entrepreneurship, has seen numerous student teams go on to become successful businesses. Previous participants in the Competition include ventures such as eyeglass phenom Warby Parker, dominant Brazilian baby e-commerce site Baby.com.br, and drug R&D company Integral Molecular.
Venture Finals BPC judges were:
- Thatcher Bell (WG’05), Managing Partner, CoVenture
- David Cohen (PAR’14/PAR’16/PAR’17), CEO, Chief Investment Officer and Co-founder, Karlin Asset Management, Inc.
- Robert Corrato (WG’00), Founder & Managing Partner, Devon Hill Capital Partners
- Karen Griffith Gryga (GEN’93/WG’93), Managing Partner, DreamIt Ventures
- Richard Perlman (W’68), Founder & Executive Chairman, ExamWorks Group, Inc.
- Veronika Sonsev (WG’05), CEO & Founder, InSparq