Entrepreneurs from six companies pitched their ideas to investors and industry experts last night at the 2016 graduation of the Ballard Academy for Student Entrepreneurs (BASE) program. Program leaders are now accepting applications for next year’s class.

The nine-month program offers selected student entrepreneurs pro bono legal assistance in addition to academic training in areas such as intellectual property protection, branding, human resources, tax, accounting, and financing. Clients accepted into the BASE program are assigned to Ballard Spahr attorneys who guide them through the startup process by providing legal advice on corporate governance and structure, negotiating leases, finance and contract matters. In addition, the clients gain access to the firm’s educational programs and networking opportunities.

The graduation event, called BASE Jump, is held at Ballard Spahr’s Philadelphia office each year and provides the entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their ideas—Shark Tank style—to a panel of prominent investors and startup industry experts. The 2016 Base Jump Judge Panel includes Ryan Fitzgerald, Ben Franklin Technology Partners; Holly Flanagan, Gabriel Investments; Rick Nucci, Guru Technologies; and Wayne Kimmel, SeventySix Capital.

Nine companies were accepted into this year’s BASE program and six presented at the event. Four of them presented in person at Ballard Spahr’s Philadelphia office and two presented via video conference from the firm’s offices in New York and Phoenix. The companies that presented were:

Topl (Houston): This finance technology startup hosts an application for electronic payments for merchants.

Silk Tours (Philadelphia): Formed at Drexel University, this company has developed an application-based market tool that matches tour guides with tourists.

Healthie (Philadelphia): This Wharton School startup offers an application-based platform to match nutritionists with patients and to provide other nutrition services to its users.

U-Life (Philadelphia): This company, started at Drexel University, developed a social networking tool for college students.

Sportalytics (Phoenix): Students at Arizona State University started this company, which compiles analytical information on high school athletes for college recruiting purposes.

Lavasier (Philadelphia): This company—a group of Wharton School students—have a patent-pending process that uses nanotechnology to ensure that prescription bottles have not been tampered with.

More than 50 people attended the event—including local investors, venture capitalists, community leaders, and small business owners.

“When we met these students nine months ago, they were just starting out. Seeing them pitch their ideas to a group of seasoned investors made us incredibly proud of how polished and professional they’ve become,” said Gregory L. Seltzer, a Ballard Spahr Business and Finance partner and a leader of the BASE program. “And based on the networking that took place afterward, I think several of the investors will be interested. It was an exciting night.”

Related Practices