Students Compete for $100,000 in USD Binational Venture Competition

University of San Diego students and for the first time, a group of their peers from Mexico, will compete for a total of $100,000 in cash and in-kind support in this year’s V2 Entrepreneur Competition on Thursday, April 3. The event takes place from 5 to 9:30 p.m. in USD’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice.

A total of 62 teams, up from 38 last year, submitted innovative proposals for new ventures. Four finalists from USD and three from Mexico will make seven-minute pitches to a prestigious group of “angel investors.”

Finalists for this year include Rixolix, an app for realtors to increase word-of-mouth referrals, make more money and maintain communication lines with their clients; FundPal, a patent-pending solution for nonprofits to accept donations via Twitter and Alumnify, a location-based professional networking application enabling communication between mutually interested alumni.

Last year’s highest prizewinner, 2013 USD graduate Morgan Schwanke, was awarded $15,000 to fund, an online service to help students find off-campus housing. In just six months he has received a total of nearly $1 million in funding and hired a team of employees.

“These entrepreneurs represent the future growth and innovation of our economy and we look forward to helping create more success stories with our annual competition,” said USD School of Business Administration Professor Michael Lawless and founder of the campus-wide V2 (Venture Vetting) entrepreneurial competition. “Having the students from Mexico realizes our vision at USD that entrepreneurship is regional and extends across our near border.”

A call for projects was sent to students at the Universidad Cetys, Universidad Tecnológica de Tijuana, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California and Comité de Incubadoras del Municipio.

Judges for the U.S. side of the competition are Allison Long Pettine, president of Crescent Ridge; Tom Breitling, co-founder and chairman of Ultimate Gaming and Navid Alipour, partner in Analytics Venture.

Mexican judges are Alberto Osio, founding member of Angel Ventures Mexico; Ricardo Dos Santos, chief business officer of Biological Dynamics and Ramon Toledo, president and CEO of Busca Corp.

Andy Laats, co-founder and executive chairman of Nixon Inc., will be the keynote speaker.

Students who didn’t make the finals will have an opportunity to demonstrate their proposals in a poster session in front of the institute. They can compete for a “Crowd Prize” based on online votes at

























About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.


Denise Ward
(619) 260-4659