Bobcat Ventures provides a space at Bates where entrepreneurship can thrive. By hosting this competition, we hope to build a bridge between our liberal arts education with the expanding industry of entrepreneurship in order to put theory into application. Bobcat Ventures is the start to creating a campus culture of entrepreneurship and fostering creativity at Bates.

Bobcat Ventures Level One Pitch Competition:
Friday, March 1 and Saturday March 2

2019 Bobcat Ventures Level Two Final Competition:
Saturday March 16

2018 Bobcat Ventures Judges Jennifer Guckel Porter ’88, Ben Schippers ’04, and Chris Barbin ’93 present grand prize winner Ben Nussbaum ’19 (2nd from left) with the winning check for his start-up, Floor.

What We Do

  • We provide technical skills, mentorship, and business skill-building workshops.
  • We award prize funding to turn ideas into reality.
  • We engage the entire Bates community.
  • We provide students with the tools to launch their ideas into the world.

Who We Are

The Bobcat Ventures pitch competition, and the training, coaching and mentoring leading up to it, is organized each year by a group of hard-working students dedicated to growing the entrepreneurial landscape at Bates. We work with alumni, faculty and staff all year long to prepare a program that will help teams refine their idea, project or business, and pitch it successfully in the spring.

2019 Leaders:

Julien Lewin ’20, El Khansaa Kaddioui ’20, Ned Moreland ’19, Cris Thompson ’19

Past Leaders:

Matt Perejda ’14 (founder), Creighton Foulkes ’17, Mike Mulach ’15, Michelle Pham ’15, Phathu Rambau ’17, Rokya Samake ’15, Shanina van Gent ’18

2019 Workshops

Bobcat Ventures Orientation, December 2018

What is Entrepreneurship? Discussion and Brainstorming Activity

Market Sizing with Dan Boyle ’17

Learning from Failure with John Stadler

Writing a Business Plan and Pitching a Venture Idea with Chris Barbin ’93 and Ben Schippers ’04

Dinner and Discussion with Ben Schippers ’04

Pre-Pitch Competition Preparation and 1:1 Pitch Clinics with Leadership Team

Refining Pitch Skills and Pitch Feedback with Kati Vecsey, lecturer in the Theater Department (mandatory workshop)



Don Gooding

Former director of the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development leads an annual workshop on the business model canvas.


Deborah Riegel

A recognized expert in presentation and communication skills led a Skype workshop on presentation and interpersonal communication skills specifically on having difficult conversations.


Reid Christian

Associate at Battery Ventures, Reid focuses on venture investments in enterprise infrastructure and software companies led a Skype workshop on startup venture funding.


Ross Brockman

One of the founders of Downeast Cider, Ross led a discussion based workshop on his experience founding a company after Bates.


Kati Vecsey

A Bates theatre professor who leads a workshop on presentation and pitch skills prior to the competition.

2017 Panel (l to r): President Clayton Spencer, Ben Schippers ’04, Chris Barbin ’93, Tasnia Huque ’12, Reid Christian ’12

  • 2018 Judges: Jennifer Guckel Porter ’88, Chris Barbin ’93, Ben Schippers ’04
  • 2017 Judges: Chris Barbin ’93, Reid Christian ’12, Tasnia Huque ’12, Ben Schippers ’04
  • 2016 Judges: Dan Vannoni ’05, Ross Brockman ’11, Jack Keigwin ’59
  • 2016 Keynote Speaker: Graham Veysey ’04
  • 2015 Judges: Victor Otley ’83, Patrick Jackson ’11, Ross Brockman ’11
  • 2015 Keynote Speaker: Matt Perejda ’14

Some of Our Past Winners

Herban Works is a social enterprise launched by Ali Rabideau ’17 at Lewiston’s Center for Wisdom’s Women. Women at the Center grow herbs in downtown Lewiston and manufacture healing salves, teas, salted herbs and lavender eye pillows.



Blended, a mobile smoothie cart idea to serve the Bates community by combining healthiness with convenience. When Commons is closed before athletics or a long night in the library, Blended will be there to provide you with a healthy, hydrating, energy-boosting and delicious smoothie.

Green Line Productions is an aerial videography and photography production company based in Maine. Using drones with our own software, our company provides customized videography and photography services for private events as well as the real estate, construction, and tourism industries.


Lightyear Strategies is dedicated to simplifying the process of digital branding. We do so by creating cost effective, user friendly websites for our clients on platforms such as Squarespace, Weebly, and Shopify.


SpotShot is an iOS application used to create an overlay image from a video.

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