The Grid Pitch
The inaugural Grid Pitch took place this past Tuesday, May 1, at the recently-opened Grid building. The Graduate Research Innovation District (Grid) is in full swing, providing students across UMB access to resources and guidance to help further their entrepreneurial ideas. The Grid Pitch served as a culmination of student’s hard work in this arena. Six student-run teams pitched their entrepreneurial idea in front of a crowd.
For Graduate School student Christian Kinney, the Grid Pitch served as a step towards his future career goals. “I participated in the Grid Pitch because I thought it would be a good experience to understand and go through the pitching process as I look towards entrepreneurship in the near future,” Kinney said. Kinney was representing his team Inducent Therapeutics, which was inspired by his own experiences in the sciences. “I kept learning about new techniques and new molecular elements and was inspired to put some of those into use as a therapeutic,” Kinney explains.
Fellow Graduate School student Raqeeb Jamil also participated in the Grid Pitch with his team, TheraSol. For Jamil, the experiences in entrepreneurship and in graduate school aren’t as dissimilar as one may think. “There are many parallels between standing before a team of investors and pitching them your idea to ask for funding and standing before your committee and convincing them of your vision to make novel contributions to your field,” Jamil said. “To this end, entrepreneurship teaches you 'grit'- the fact that your talents can only take you so far and that it is actually passion and perseverance that will be a driver for your success. You need that kind of 'grit' in the pursuit of any kind of doctorate.”
The pitch served as a celebration of student ideas and of the entrepreneurs at UMB. For Kinney, the pitch was also important to his goal of making Inducent Therapeutics a reality. “I’ve been speaking with UM Ventures about filing a provisional patent on my first therapeutic,” Kinney said. For Jamil, the pitch was also a learning experience that couldn’t be gained in a typical classroom. “It’s not easy to speak confidently in front of hundreds of people about an idea that has yet to be realized,” Jamil said. “Giving the pitch made me realize how much interest there was and taught me how to effectively draw that kind of interest.”
The six teams each received a $1000 stipend toward their professional development, in addition to feedback and mentoring from David Wise, Directory of the Maryland Momentum Fund. The pitch served as the culmination of their efforts to create and execute their entrepreneurial ideas.
For more information on the Grid Pitch and the other teams present, visit the Grid’s webpage here.