By Lewis D'Vorkin

April 30, 2019

Let's Get Back Into The Bull Ring As CSUN Students Vie for $70,000 In Prizes

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Tap away to feel the passion and hear the lessons learned by our five finalists.

Full Disclosure: I'm leading a double life.

I'm Entrepreneur in Residence at CSUN and CEO of Newsroom AI, a visual storytelling platform for the mobile Web. I hope to give students a taste of startup life from the front lines.

Okay, so what's a Bull Ring? Shark Tank is TV stuff. Bull Ring is for Matadors. That is, the kind at California State University at Northridge.

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It's Not About Being The Next Unicorn

Bull Ring is where energetic CSUN students from schools across the campus can combine academics and their thirst for an entrepreneurial life. The 4th annual competition was hosted by the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics.

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The Path To Victory

Bull Ring Ring kicked off in early March, with 40 teams submitting applications. What did it take to compete? A 10-25 slide deck or 5-7 page executive summary and a two-minute video. After weeks of rigorous mentoring, the fun began. The 22 semi-finalists teams pitched their startups to judges at a bustling trade show-like event in the Oviatt Library.

It sounded and felt like this...

And tasted like this...

And everyone was caught up in the passion.

Now, For the Finals!

The event began with a special guest regaling everyone with his startup journey, from 8th grade to today. Then, the finalists did their thing. They pitched to four judges, who launched question after question. As the judges convened to pick three winners, a campus A Cappella group took to the stage to entertain us all.

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What did our guest share about his own entrepreneurial journey?

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"Academics were my extra curriculars and extra curriculars were my academics."

Chuck Davis, chairman and CEO of Prodege and Internet pioneer, talking about what he realized as a college student entrepreneur.

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Chuck's big tip: keep a document with these four columns and update them regularly...

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Column 1: Industries

What excites you? Real estate? Hospitality? Retail? Technology?

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Column 2: Companies

Who do you want to work for? Google? Disney? Tesla? Bank of America?

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Column 3: Geography

Where do you want to live? East Coast? West Coast? Pacific Rim?

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Column 4: Functions

What do you like to do? Sales? Accounting? Coding? Marketing?

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And now... before we get to the winners, here's what our five finalists learned as young entrepreneurs.

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Jenna Flynn of NoSpill Systems, a product that keeps take-out food and beverages level and locked in place in a car seat.

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Brandon Cervantes of Smart Prosthetics, a reliable, trusted artificial limb, especially for the young in emerging countries.

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Tyler Valentine of TASL, collaborative software that connects students academically and socially.

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Kevin Canoun of Neuwork, a learning network to help students fill the gap between schools and the real world.

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Maja Slopiecka of Horizon Covers, the tough reusable cover to protect luggage.

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And Now the Winners

They took home $40,000 in cash prizes and $30,000 of in-kind services from Bull Ring's partners.

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First Place $20,000

NoSpill Systems, the nifty tray that keeps take-out food and beverage items locked in place in a car seat.

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Second Place $10,000

Horizon Covers, with its tough reusable luggage cover.

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Third Place $5,000

Smart Prosthetics, an aritifical body part accessible to everyone, especially youth in emerging markets.

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Congratulations to the entire Bull Ring community.