Under Armour founder Kevin Plank was so impressed with Friday's winner of the nationwide entrepreneur competition he runs with the University of Maryland, he offered the graduate student $25,000 in exchange for a stake in his company.
Disease Diagnostic Group founder John Lewandowski walked away with $105,000 in total from the Cupid's Cup Business Competition — $75,000 in first place winnings, $5,000 as the audience favorite and the sweetener from Plank.
Carrie Handwerker, a spokeswoman for the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, said Plank arranged for the equity stake to be held by his Cupid Foundation. If the stake is profitable, the money "would essentially be helping to fund future competitions," she said.
Lewandowski, a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, pitched the crowd on his company's potentially life-saving product: a small, cheap device that can quickly diagnose malaria before patients begin showing symptoms.
The contest's second and third place winners — Jason Gates and Chase Kaczmarek — both have University of Maryland connections.
Gates, a 2011 UM graduate who founded Compology, a waste-management technology company, won $20,000. Kaczmarek, a UM student who founded skateboarding accessory company Wheel Shields, won $5,000.
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