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.

Bobcat Ventures provides a space where entrepreneurship can thrive at Bates. The highlight of Bobcat Ventures is Bates’ own Entrepreneurship Pitch Competition. The Center for Purposeful Work and a student volunteer committee collaborate to bring workshops, coaching and mentoring to all Bates students interested in pitching an idea for funding, or learning about entrepreneurship in general during the winter semester. Pictured here, winner George Delana ’19 receives a check from judges Emma Sprague ’10, Ben Schippers ’04, and Chris Barbin ’93. (Sarah du Pont ’21 for Bates College). To learn more about Delana’s venture, click on the photo.

Announcing the 2021 Final Pitch Competition Schedule!

We are excited to present the annual Bobcat Ventures Entrepreneurship Pitch Competition!

Come cheer on your peers as they pitch their business and social enterprise ideas and compete to win up to $15,000!

Please join Bobcat Ventures and Purposeful Work on Zoom on Saturday, May 1 from 10 am – 2 pm.

You will have the chance to see eight student venture pitches with a wide variety of focus areas and potential impacts! Following the pitches, our judges will deliberate and announce this year’s winners. This is a great opportunity to explore entrepreneurship and support members in our community!

Pitch Schedule:

10:00-10:10 am: Welcome and Overview

10:10-10:30 am: Pitch #1: Nicole Kumbula ’21 – Ukama Igasva

10:30-10:50 am: Pitch #2: Barratt Dewey ’23 and Victor Swezey – NEOS Media

10:50-11:10 am: Pitch #3: Biruk Chafamo ’22 – Equb Finance

11:10-11:30 am: Pitch #4: Katia Ryan ’23 – Conmigo

11:30-11:50 am: Break

11:50 am – 12:10 pm: Pitch #5: Omar Sarr ’23 – Teranga Invest

12:10-12:30 pm: Pitch #6: Jason Seeger ’21 and David Goodstein ’21 – Fieldspace

12:30-12:50 pm: Pitch #7: Domi Frideger ’21 – Sagebrush Collective

12:50-1:10 pm: Pitch #8: Armaan Mecca ’21, Hamza Mecca, and Amr Mecca – Passionfruit Music

1:10-1:45 pm: Judges deliberate

1:45-2:00 pm: Judges announce Winners & Prizes!

How to RSVP: Students: please RSVP here on Handshake and we will share the link with you before the event!

Bobcat Ventures Pitch Competition is open to the public! Alumni, family, friends, faculty, staff, and all others who would like to join in should email us in advance at bobcatventures@bates.edu to receive the event link.

2020-21 Student Leaders:

Andres Carranza ’21, Kerry Manuel ’21, Pierson Rambusch ’22, J Daniel Kim ’22

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, Ned Moreland ’19, Cris Thompson ’19, Julien Lewin ’20, ElKhansaa Kaddioui ’20

2021 Judges:

Chris Barbin ’93, Founder & CEO, Tercera
Ben Schippers ’04, CEO & Co-Founder, HappyFunCorp
Emma Sprague ’10, Co-Founder & Director, Upswing Strategies

2021 Alumni Mentors:

Robb Brown ’92, Founder, Denver Retail Group & President and Founder, Guard My Vote
Pranav Ghai ’93, Co-Founder & CEO, Calcbench, Inc.
Allen Kendunga ’18, Founder & CEO, Talent Match, Inc.
Erin Lydon ’92, Managing Director/GM, Poker Powher
Mbali Ndlovu ’09, Founder, Lukafit
Michelle Pham ’15, Senior Account Manager, Google & Talks@Google Global Program Manager
Jon Steuber ’08, Co-Founder, Valpo Surf Project

2021 Workshops

Series Launch- November 2020
Tackling Voter Suppression through Entrepreneurship:
Robb Brown ’92, Founder of Guard My Vote

“Election integrity is more critical than ever and we wanted to do something to help in a meaningful way.”

The 20-21 Bobcat Ventures season kicked off with speaker Robb Brown ‘92, founder of Guard My Vote, an anti-voter suppression app that launched October 19th. The audience of Bates students and community members from across the country heard Robb’s startup and launch story, his reason for becoming an entrepreneur, and how voters can help the app fight voter suppression. Click here for the event video.

Guard My Vote is a comprehensive mobile app for voting resources, including upcoming deadlines, ballot issues, polling place locations and surveys to review the voting experience.

Robb and his team created it in response to the negative social, political and racist climate in the U.S. in 2020 to empower all voters to walk up to their polling place, ballot drop box or mailbox with knowledge and confidence. See the full video here (limited to Bates community viewers; email bobcatventures AT bates DOT edu fmi).

Feb 25, 2021 – Intro to Bobcat Ventures & Entrepreneurship

Mar 4, 2021 – Idea Generation and Validation with Sam Abrahamson ’11 and Sam Rowen from onomy.co

Mar 11, 2021 – Market Sizing and Market Research with Jeff Bass ’93 and Ben Nussbaum ’19

Mar 18, 2021 – Business Planning with Arsalan Suhail ’09

Mar 25, 2021 – Financing and Scaling Your Venture with Ben Schippers ’04

Mar 30, 2021 – Crafting your Venture Pitch with Chris Barbin ’93

April 8, 2021 – Delivering your Pitch with Emma Sprague ’10

Past Years Judges

  • 2019 Judges: Emma Sprague ’10, Ben Schippers ’04, Chris Barbin ’93
  • 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

Nook Storage’s peer-to-peer online marketplace offers the most affordable and convenient storage space. Nook Storage saves students money, monetizes auxiliary space for hosts, and brings together the communities of college towns. College students are all too familiar with the struggle of finding affordable and nearby spaces to store their belongings over the summer. Nook was launched by George Delana ’19 to alleviate this struggle.

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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