ABOUT MILLER LITE TAP THE FUTURE
Nearly four decades ago Miller Lite had an idea to brew a great tasting beer that was less filling than the rest. So we rolled up our sleeves and created Miller Lite, the lite beer that invented light beer. We developed a whole a new category, and now we’re on a mission to empower the innovators of tomorrow. We want to help you and your friends take your business to the next level with Miller Lite Tap the Future. This business competition includes $300K in prize money, business seminars, live pitch opportunities, and access to mentors and business moguls like Daymond John from ABC’s “Shark Tank.” Meet the rest of the judges, learn more about past winners, and check out the digital press kit below.
NATIONAL FINALS
August 16, 2014
Chicago, IL
Competition Logistics

The competition takes place in three phases:

  1. Business Plan Submissions
    The submission phase closed on April 6, 2014.
  2. Semifinals
    LIVE Pitch Events - The 25 semifinalists participated in LIVE Pitch Events in Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami and Philadelphia, ending on July 8, 2014. One winning business team from each location won $20K and is advancing to the National Finals. Meet the Tap the Future finalists:

    - Bellhops: Employs top-tier college students to provide moving services in 121 cities across the country.

    - Enso Ink: Developed an all-natural blend of ingredients that protects and helps improve the appearance of tattoos.

    - Million Dollar Scholar: A social business that bridges the scholarship information gap and provides resources to help students gain financial-aid to fund their dreams.

    - SnkTrd: An interactive online community for users to buy, sell and trade sneakers, and connect with other sneakerheads globally.

    - Snowgate LLC: Provides secure storage for an active lifestyle by helping to prevent equipment theft in environments such as ski resorts, universities and beaches.

  3. National Finals
    The top five winning teams (one from each LIVE Pitch Event) will present before our national panel of judges as Miller Lite Tap the Future finalists on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The Miller Lite Tap the Future Winner's Reception will take place in September, where the winning team will be announced and awarded the $200K grand prize.
MEET THE JUDGES
Daymond John

A young entrepreneur, industry pioneer, highly regarded marketing expert and a man who has surpassed new heights of commercial and financial success are just a few ways people have described Daymond John. Over the last 20 years, Daymond John (The Shark) has evolved from one of the most successful fashion icons of his generation to a highly sought after branding expert, author, consultant, and speaker in business and motivational genres.

Based on his early success making tie-top hats for himself and his friends, Daymond recruited neighborhood buddies Keith Perrin, J. Martin and Carl Brown to create FUBU (“For Us By Us”), one of the most iconic fashion brands in recent years that created the untapped urban apparel space. Furthermore, Daymond grew up in the community of Hollis, Queens, which was an incubator for Hip Hop stars. More...

A young entrepreneur, industry pioneer, highly regarded marketing expert and a man who has surpassed new heights of commercial and financial success are just a few ways people have described Daymond John. Over the last 20 years, Daymond John (The Shark) has evolved from one of the most successful fashion icons of his generation to a highly sought after branding expert, author, consultant, and speaker in business and motivational genres.

Based on his early success making tie-top hats for himself and his friends, Daymond recruited neighborhood buddies Keith Perrin, J. Martin and Carl Brown to create FUBU (“For Us By Us”), one of the most iconic fashion brands in recent years that created the untapped urban apparel space. Furthermore, Daymond grew up in the community of Hollis, Queens, which was an incubator for Hip Hop stars. With acts like RUN DMC, Salt-N-Peppa, and LL Cool J rapidly making names for themselves, Daymond was surrounded by people who gave him the inspiration to create a clothing line.

FUBU hit a tipping point when Daymond convinced Hollis native and Hip-Hop superstar, LL Cool J, to wear FUBU for a promotional campaign. This was the catalyst behind the Hip-Hop community supporting the new brand and instantly gave it credibility. FUBU soon had a contract with the New York City-based department store chain Macy's, and it began expanding its line to include jeans and outerwear. With the brand transcending into mainstream markets, at its peak FUBU recorded annual sales of $350 million, placing it in the same stratosphere as designer labels such as Donna Karan New York and Tommy Hilfiger.

In 2009, John joined the cast of the ABC entrepreneurial business show, Shark Tank, produced by acclaimed TV producer Mark Burnett. As one of the “Sharks,” Daymond and four other prominent executives listen to business pitches from everyday people hoping to launch their company or product to new heights. Investing his own money in every project, Daymond partners with the entrepreneurs helping turn their dreams into a reality. Millions of viewers tune into the show as Daymond demonstrates his marketing prowess and entrepreneurial insights, which have earned him his nickname as “The Shark."

Black & Denim

Inspired by the original American craftsmanship movement, Roberto Torres, Luis Montanez and Chris Findeisen teamed up to create a “Made in America” apparel brand that captured the essence of the American lifestyle. With Black & Denim, the trio proudly creates authentic and casual collections only using 100% American raw materials. The business that started in their apartment now sells apparel in wholesale showrooms in New York, Los Angeles and Orlando and over 150 brick and mortar boutiques across the country and worldwide.

Check them out at shop.blackanddenim.com.

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Tumblr

Excelegrade

As a former second grade teacher, Lauren Miller observed first-hand many of the obstacles teachers face when designing and grading tests for students. She wanted to simplify the process to help teachers across the U.S., so she teamed up with software entrepreneur Rashid Mayes to bring the idea to life. Together they created Excelegrade, the world's only digital assessment solution that allows students to show their work on tablets, smart phones, and laptops, and helps teachers and parents review student performance without any hassles.

Check them out at www.excelegrade.com.

Facebook, Twitter

WeDidIt

Sulaiman (Su) Sanni and Ben Lamson quit their jobs at a global software company to answer their original calling: help those who need it most. This is why Su and Ben created WeDidIt, a tech company that helps nonprofits raise money and reach new donors through web, mobile and analytics. Their mobile app allows nonprofits to accept donations while capturing the essential contact information they need to grow their supporter base and link with fundraising pages. Local organizations like New York City Coalition Against Hunger and large multi-nationals like Amnesty International use WeDidIt to raise money for the causes they're passionate about.

Check them out at http://wedid.it.

Facebook & Twitter

Three Twins Ice Cream

Doing things the original way is the key to success for Neal Gottlieb and Sadie Ash Boggs. Three Twins Ice Cream uses natural ingredients from trusted local producers to produce inconceivably delicious organic ice cream. Three Twins Ice Cream was born when Neal decided to skip the MBA and launch his own business with $70,000 in savings and a $25,000 loan from The Bank of Mom and Dad. Three Twins Ice Cream recently made Inc. magazine’s 500|5000 list and its inconceivably delicious ice cream is distributed in grocery stores across the country.

Check them out at: threetwinsicecream.com.

Facebook & Twitter

Lance Rios

Interning at a company in South Bronx spiked Lancio (Lance) Antonio Rios’ interest in his original culture – Latino culture. Fueled with passion, Lance teamed up with others to create Being Latino, which serves as a communication platform designed to educate, entertain and connect people across the global Latino spectrum. Shortly after starting Being Latino, Lance teamed up with Hispanicize and has been working with Manny Ruiz, Cristy Clavijo-Kish and Angela Ruiz to form one conglomerate of Latino social media networks and services to brands. The team developed a Facebook fan page for the site, which experienced tremendous growth and has already harnessed over 200,000 fans. More...

Check him out at http://www.beinglatino.us.

Facebook & Twitter

Interning at a company in South Bronx spiked Lancio (Lance) Antonio Rios’ interest in his original culture – Latino culture. Fueled with passion, Lance teamed up with others to create Being Latino, which serves as a communication platform designed to educate, entertain and connect people across the global Latino spectrum. Shortly after starting Being Latino, Lance teamed up with Hispanicize and has been working with Manny Ruiz, Cristy Clavijo-Kish and Angela Ruiz to form one conglomerate of Latino social media networks and services to brands. The team developed a Facebook fan page for the site, which experienced tremendous growth and has already harnessed over 200,000 fans with an additional 170-plus Latino-based fan pages on Facebook and followings on Google+, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and WordPress. That equates to a total reach of more than 600,000 people, and the majority was accomplished without a budget. Lance is also no stranger to Miller Time as he was recognized as a MillerCoors Líder for his vision, commitment to service and ability to inspire the Hispanic community. Lance has also recently launched DigiBunch, LLC a company focused on creating branded viral-videos with the top US Hispanic YouTube celebrities.

Check him out at http://www.beinglatino.us.

Facebook & Twitter

TAP THE FUTURE NATIONAL JUDGES PANEL
Leslie J. Anderson Louis Barajas Alfred A. Edmond Jr. Mark Ferguson Bill Imada Barry Moltz Assata N. Peterson Tennille Robinson Matthew Sapaula Juan Solana Dr. Igwe Udeh
Past Winners

2013 Grand Prize Winner

Text Pride | Kettering, OH Sean O’Brien and Evan Wray
Grand Prize — $250,000
Chicago Live Pitch Event Winner — $20,000
Fan Favorite — $10,000

Sean and Evan became friends while students at Notre Dame University. After texting back and forth with lots and lots of emoji, they noticed there were no emoji specific to the conversations they and their friends were having. As a result, this crew founded TextPride, an app that offers licensed emoji/emoticons for branded content. Partnering with nearly 200 of the top brands and distributing their content through some of the most popular mobile communication apps, TextPride brings users and the brands they love closer together.

2013 Grand Prize Winner

Text Pride | Kettering, OH Sean O’Brien and Evan Wray
Grand Prize — $250,000
Chicago Live Pitch Event Winner — $20,000
Fan Favorite — $10,000

Sean and Evan became friends while students at Notre Dame University. After texting back and forth with lots and lots of emoji, they noticed there were no emoji specific to the conversations they and their friends were having. As a result, this crew founded TextPride, an app that offers licensed emoji/emoticons for branded content. Partnering with nearly 200 of the top brands and distributing their content through some of the most popular mobile communication apps, TextPride brings users and the brands they love closer together.

Sean and Evan are huge fans of Shark Tank on ABC. When they saw Daymond John in a LinkedIn ad promoting the Miller Lite Tap the Future business competition, they knew they had to apply. Some weeks later, the two were together when Evan got the call that TextPride had made it to the semifinals. Judging from the huge grin on Evan’s face, Sean said he could tell something good was about to happen.

During the semifinal round in Chicago, they pitched their business live in front of Daymond John. Sean and Evan both love big pressure moments, so when TextPride was called up as the first group to pitch, they bumped fists, grabbed their presentation material and went for it.

In the end, Sean and Evan came out on top as the first ever grand prize winners of the Miller Lite Tap the Future business competition. Sean and Evan’s friendship gave them the experience of navigating a number of things that life has thrown at them. They used that bond to strengthen their business partnership and hold one another accountable to always give their best efforts. The best part for them is being able to share a successful venture with a good friend.



2013 Finalists

Borne Digital | New York, NY
Dr. Jason Buhle and Daniel Fountenberry
Philadelphia Live Pitch Event Winner — $20,000

This crew uses technology to personalize learning and improve the effectiveness of teachers. Borne Digital is an adaptive reading platform that gathers data to let strong readers view the standard version of a text and weaker readers see an altered version with simpler vocabulary and syntax.

Jason and Daniel met through a mutual friend while students at Columbia University, where Daniel earned his MBA and Jason his PhD. Daniel was inspired to create Books that Grow as a result of his experiences volunteering in New York City classrooms. With a shared passion for technology and education, Daniel invited Jason to join him in leaving his career in academia to start a new career in educational technology. Jason agreed and the duo created Books that Grow.

These friends were thrilled to be named the winners of the Philadelphia Live Pitch event. They even met a technology vendor in the audience who has added Books that Grow to his product lineup. Jason and Daniel spent a lot of late nights building their business but, for them, working with a good friend by their side makes the process much easier.

Elebev | Miami, FL
Nick Boyce, Ben Potts and Nestor Villalobos
Atlanta Live Pitch Event Winner — $20,000

In a mission to make beverages safer and more enjoyable, this trio of friends created Sfiro Premium Chillers – a product that creates transparent ice spheres that are served in a glass without need for physical contact. Now everyone can enjoy a chilled beverage without worrying about contamination.

Nick, Ben and Nestor became acquainted through mutual friends and met frequently over the years to discuss possible business ventures. It was during one of those sessions that Elebev was established. When they came across the Miller Lite Tap the Future competition in a beverage publication, they immediately got to work crafting answers to the questions on the entry form at www.MLTaptheFuture.com. When they were notified that they were semifinalists, the trio couldn’t have been happier.

Going in to the Live Pitch Event for them was both a nerve-wracking and exciting experience. They were elated and surprised to be named the winners of the Atlanta Live Pitch event. Overall, the best part of the experience for them was getting feedback from industry luminaries like Daymond John, and taking their concerns into consideration to help strengthen their business plan. Their strong bond of friendship confirms that, collectively, they can overcome virtually any obstacle no matter the situation they find themselves.

Hoopla.io | Kansas City, MO
Adam Arredondo, Matthew Marcus, Matthew Miquelon, Jennifer Ong and Shawna Westphal
Dallas Live Pitch Event Winner — $20,000
Fan Favorite - $10,000

This crew created Hoopla.io, an event marketing company, because to them, struggling to find things to do is not fun. Hoopla.io helps simplify and automate the event marketing process by providing local businesses with a central place to promote their events through multiple marketing channels.

These friends met at a startup event in their hometown of Kansas City, which eventually led to them becoming business partners. The Hoopla.io team strongly believes in entrepreneurs increasing their “luck-surface area” to capture as much luck as possible, so when Adam discovered the Miller Lite Tap the Future competition from an ad on LinkedIn, it didn’t take long for them to apply.

The team practiced their presentation several times in preparation for the Dallas Live Pitch semifinal and entered the stage with poise and confidence. They weren’t sure if their performance would be good enough for a win, but when Daymond John announced Hoopla.io as the winner, the team couldn’t contain their excitement. The competition brought them closer together as a team and forced them to deeply understand their business on a new level. They have also learned that it’s important to be compatible with your friends in a business setting and agree to open and constant communication as business partners.

The Larell One Step Denture | Carmel Valley, CA
Ellen J. Wallace and Dr. Lawrence Wallace
Phoenix Live Pitch Event Winner — $20,000

The devastation caused by total tooth loss inspired this duo to create a way to restore smiles. The Larell One Step Denture Company makes affordable and accessible dentures that empower people to better health, lower health care costs and higher quality of life and self-esteem.

This dental couple is passionate about giving back to society in a way that could change peoples’ lives. After years of planning and research, they developed The Larell (LAR for Larry and ELL for Ellen) One Step Denture.

One day while thumbing through Inc. magazine, Larry saw an ad for the Miller Lite Tap the Future competition and decided to enter. As a frequent lecturer and public speaker, Larry had no problem getting up in front of the judges at the Phoenix Live Pitch semifinals. Ellen, on the other hand, was more nervous, but rose to the occasion when it was their time to pitch. When the winning team was announced, Larry and Ellen were thrilled when The Larell One Step Denture was called.

For them, the best part of the competition has been the opportunity to meet a great group of people in the other Miller Lite Tap the Future finalists and semifinalists.



2013 Fan Favorites

The Crew-Health and Fitness | Houston, TX
Jamail LaVan, Courtland Marshall and Jonathon Randle
Fan Favorite — $10,000

In a quest to become professional athletes, this crew stumbled onto the idea of constructing a gym that provides an answer to many fitness questions at one source. The mission is to encourage, inspire and motivate consumers to achieve their best fitness goals through dedication, substance and faith.

Camintel | Dallas, TX
Reginald “Reggie” Binford, Peter Derby, Leran “Jason” Liu, Camilo Sandoval and Anurag Sharma
Fan Favorite — $10,000

This crew is determined to bring ubiquitous computing to the highest level of interaction between humans and computers. Their mission is to bring innovation by co-creating the next generation of mobile marketing systems that empower brands to create, connect and communicate anytime, anywhere.

Dibs Athletics USA, LLC | Reston, VA
Patrick Bazemore and Mark Deschamps
Fan Favorite — $10,000

Originating as a childhood hobby, this crew’s passion for sneakers has transcended into a full-time business. Their mission is to become the premier source for the sneaker community to buy, sell and trade sneakers.

One finalist, Hoopla.io, and the grand prize winner, TextPride, also made the fan favorite list.

Digital Press Kit
Click file to download
Press Shot Press Release Fact Sheet National Judges