Update: Cassie Figueroa ’24 and Alec Schrader ’24 are in discussions with an investor for their venture Campus Connections. Learn more.
Two Wofford College students with a fourth-place finish in a statewide venture pitch competition last week won the college’s sixth annual Terrier StartUp Challenge.
Cassie Figueroa ’24 and Alec Schrader ’24 won $4,500 of the contest’s $10,000 in start-up funding for their concept Campus Connections. The business is a consolidated website where college students can offer services, including haircuts, photography, oil changes, rides, etc. Students wanting to use those services could book appointments and pay through the website.
“Alec and I have a lot of passion and enthusiasm, and we are excited to get started,” says Figueroa, a business economics major from Charlotte, North Carolina. “Our next step is to file for an LLC and develop software to launch our platform. The funds from tonight will help us get there and achieve those goals. We truly see this growing into a massive platform, the market is so huge with 20 million college students.”
“Tonight was very reassuring,” says Schrader, a biology and finance major from Fredonia, New York. “It gave us the validation to jumpstart Campus Connections starting right here at Wofford. We plan on quickly expanding to colleges throughout the country. Seeing all of the other great entrepreneurs at the Terrier StartUp Challenge was awesome, and we can't wait to help them market and grow their ventures through our platform. We are in contact with other investors and hoping to accelerate the launch of Campus Connections.”
Twenty Wofford students pitched business ideas during the Terrier StartUp Challenge on Nov. 17. Concepts ranged from handpainted bandanas, allergen-friendly baked goods, boat detailing and a roommate pairing system that’ll help young professionals and older adults benefit from companionship while reducing financial stress.
“This event brings together students from all classes and most majors covering everything from STEM, social sciences, modern languages, finance and accounting,” says Curt McPhail, executive director of Wofford’s Career Center.
Students from 12 different majors competed in this year’s challenge.
Students received two minutes, 30 seconds to pitch their ideas before fielding a minute and 30 seconds of questions from judges.
The contest’s judges were John Bauknight ’89, an entrepreneur and real estate developer; Marcos Gomez, founder and owner of Delfrio; Paul Clark, managing director with VentureSouth; and Lakesa Whitner, supportive services manager with the Northside Development Group.
Second place ($2,500)
Benjamin Sale ’25, a first-year computer science major from Fort Mill, South Carolina, pitched Bear Baking LLC, a bakery providing vegan, nut-free and gluten-free options.
Third place ($1,500)
Liles Morton ’25, an environmental studies major from Birmingham, Alabama, pitched ClothesByLiles, a business focused on making sustainable clothing fashionable, fun and practical.
Fourth place ($750)
Davis Newman ’24, a biology major from Columbia, South Carolina, pitched Lulu, a mercantile and exchange app concept for college students.
Fifth place ($750)
There was a three-way tie.
Kerrington Johnson ’23, a finance major from Anderson, South Carolina, pitched MERGE, a venture aiming to educate clients by promoting mental health while leading people through workout classes tailored to their fitness needs.
Murphy Thornton ’24, an anthropology and sociology major from Charleston, South Carolina, pitched Murph’s Mechanics, a woman-owned mechanic shop aiming to end gender stereotypes related to car repairs while creating an environment where women and men can feel comfortable.
Wilson Grayson ’24, an environmental studies major from Charleston, South Carolina, and Caroline Main ’22, an accounting major from Charleston, South Carolina, pitched Carolina Marine Restorations, a business specializing in marine detailing, restorations and service to all major outboards.
Other Terrier StartUp Challenge participants:
Drake Ives ’22, a business economics major from Sumter, South Carolina, and Janie Holecek ’24, a business economics major from Sumter, South Carolina, pitched Winners Travel, a project to send deserving people on a trip of a lifetime.
Liz Massie ’22, a business economics major from Rugby, England, pitched Shared Comfort, an online roommate platform that pairs young professionals with older adults who are living alone. Those paired can provide companionship and reduce financial stress. The business model’s emphasis on companionship also supports mental health.
Luke Nelson ’23, an economics major from Athens, Georgia, pitched the concept Hole Lotta Balls for those looking for used golf balls at affordable prices.
Carmen Pavao ’22, a Spanish major from Athens, Georgia, pithced FreshSource, a grocery-themed food truck aiming to deliver fresh, organic and affordable produce to all communities.
Tytajha Robinson ’24, a biology and physics major from Clinton, South Carolina, pitched Trinkets, a shop selling handmade bracelets, keychains and anklets. Each item is customizable, unique and affordable.
Maggie Royce ’22, an English major from Raleigh, North Carolina, developed The Confetti Club, a floral delivery subscription service focused on college students.
Izzy Smith ’24, a finance major from Washington, North Carolina, and Garrett Steck ’24, a biology major from Greenville, South Carolina, pitched College Cravings, a late-night food source on campus operating Friday and Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Hannah Sterling ’23, a finance and Spanish major from Snellville, Georgia, pitched Fash N Curls, an online clothing and accessory boutique for women with plans to ship worldwide and make hand deliveries.
Taylor Thornton ’22, a biology major from Greenville, South Carolina, pitched Handy Dandies, a shop making handpainted and customizable bandanas.
Amanda Vie ’22, a Spanish major from Lynchburg, Virginia, pitched Vieable Cosmetics, a makeup company that sells green and clean beauty products in environmentally-friendly packaging.