Gruhin Joins Ted Leonsis, Aneesh Chopra And U.s. Rep. Gerry Connolly As Judges For The Arlington, VA-based “Shark Tank” Contest
As someone who once stood in their shoes, Saul Ewing Partner Mark I. Gruhin understands the drive necessary to launch a new business into the marketplace. For him, it was a no-brainer to have the Washington DC office support the 2013 inaugural Ballston BID LaunchPad Challenge, a contest that gave 225 aspiring entrepreneurs from the “DMV” (District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia) a forum to pitch the Next-Great-Idea in a bid to win financial support.
The challenge ended this week when the four-judge panel, which included Gruhin; Monumental Sports and Entertainment Owner, Ted Leonsis, the majority owner of the Washington Capitals and Wizards; former U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra and U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly; named two companies, BuilDatAnalytics and Carsquare, the winners. Each one received $15,000 and other benefits.
“It was a ton of fun,” said Gruhin, who is co-managing partner of the Washington, DC office and was a co-founder of the online job seeking website, Careerbuilder.com, and other angel investments. “I was blown away by the number of strong ideas and innovative spirit that was constant throughout the year. But good ideas alone aren’t enough. We (the judges) had to be certain that the company not only understands the marketplace but has the courage of its convictions and will be able to deal with the inevitable curveballs.”
Throughout the year, Gruhin, along with fellow Saul Ewing attorneys, Edward Levin, Andrew Palmieri and Jay Reilly, mentored a number of the contestants, assisting them with due diligence, business plans and providing pro bono legal advice to help them get off the ground.
BuilDatAnalytics is a business intelligence company aimed at solving inefficiencies in construction projects. Carsquare is described by its founder as the Kayak for cars, an aggregator of different online car shopping sites. To read an article about the challenge, please click here.
The Ballston LaunchPad was designed to highlight Ballston, an urban suburb of Washington, DC, VA, as the place where the best ideas are discovered and thrive.
Following the success of the Ballston LaunchPad Program, the Ballston BID is announcing the 2014 Challenge with a focus on restaurateurs. The Restaurant Challenge will again showcase the community of Ballston as a magnet for discovery and innovation.
To view a YouTube video of the finale of the Ballston BID LaunchPad Challenge, click here.