Le Moyne College and StartFast joined forces to create “Dolphin Tank,” a pitch competition based on ABC’s popular TV show, Shark Tank, and featuring startup founders and community leaders and members of the Madden School Advisory Board. The event’s name was inspired by Le Moyne’s dolphin mascot.
Six “Lead Dolphins” offered insights, feedback and connections to the teams. The panelists were:
Michael Madden, founding chairman of BlackEagle Partners, legendary Wall Street investor and namesake of the Madden School of Business
Christina Steenstra, managing partner of Eric Mower + Associates
Joe Sisko, founding partner of Locus
Deb Cady Molzer, vice president of student life at Le Moyne College
Russ Brownback, former investment banker and current commercial real estate investor
Jack Webb, former CEO of Alliance Bank
In the audience, a packed house of local business investors, StartFast mentors, Le Moyne alumni, and local community members came to support the entrepreneurs.
Leading up to Dolphin Tank, constant feedback and coaching were key for the teams’ to improvement, and they spent hours in preparation, perfecting their pitches. Late night run-throughs, pitch practice rehearsals, and video taping all helped the entrepreneurs prepare.
StartFast Managing Director Chuck Stormon and Madden School of Business Dean Jim Joseph opened with introductions of the Lead Dolphins and the structure of the event. StartFast interns then announced the five teams, who had 10 minutes each to impress the panel: Five minutes to pitch their idea, and five for Q&A. The panel engaged company founders with questions and comments.
After a few closing thoughts, everyone gathered for a networking cocktail party and appetizers including cheese and fruit plates and coconut chicken. The audience mingled with founders and continued to offer feedback and encouragement.
This was a fantastic opportunity for StartFast teams to pitch their ideas to these mentors, experts, and potential investors, especially, in only the second week in the accelerator program.