Bauer Students, Alumni Pitch With Hopes of Joining Show’s Seventh Season
Bringing their best ideas to the table, the University of Houston community pitched to producers of the ABC show “Shark Tank” during a private casting call on May 29, with the goal of appearing on-screen in the program’s upcoming seventh season.
Bauer College’s Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship (WCE) hosted the call for the Emmy-award winning series, which features a panel of “sharks,” or self-made multi-millionaire and billionaire investors (including Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary and Barbara Corcoran).
Houston was top of mind for the show’s casting team — in addition to the private UH casting call, they planned a large open call for residents during their visit.
On average, the show receives 40,000 applications from across the country, according to casting manager Mindy Zemrak, who was on hand for the UH event.
“We’ve been doing ‘college days,’ and obviously UH has a great entrepreneurship center with the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship,” she said. “We know that Houston is a huge city of entrepreneurs, and we know there’s a lot of startups and businesses in the college demographic.”
Several Bauer College alumni and students came to the casting call with their best ideas, including Chris Wick (BBA ’14), who pitched his company Social Media Management Education, designed to help clients use social media to sell more products and improve customer services.
Also among the hopefuls were Bauer College entrepreneurship seniors Dylan Senter, Ody Delapaz and Kevin Cho, who pitched Smart Cement, an invention that monitors the condition of cement during its operational lifetime.
Wisam Nahhas (BBA ’11) and Nour Baki (BBA ’13), both alumni of the college’s entrepreneurship program, pitched their mobile app FuelMe, an innovative way for drivers to gas up.
“The way we fill up gas hasn’t changed in 100 years, and I think it is about time we change the way we refuel. We think this is the best alternative to a gas station,” Baki said.
The duo started to build their company in 2012 as an on-demand gas delivery service. They plan to target larger corporate clients, such as universities and airports, with a pilot starting on the UH campus June 1.
“No one likes going to the gas station, and with FuelMe, you’ll never have to waste time there again,” Baki added.
The training and mentorship provided by Bauer’s WCE were invaluable in launching the company, they said.
“I had a couple of mentors that I met here, and I continued to work with them since graduating,” Nahhas added.
By Amanda Sebesta