Sustainable Design graduate Morgan Berman ’14 is one of just five entrepreneurs nationwide who will vie for $400,000 in start-up funding and advertising at this week’s influential Forbes Under 30 Summit in Philadelphia.
Berman will have just five minutes on Tuesday to pitch her sustainable business-locating app, MilkCrate, to a panel of some of the world’s most influential funders, including AOL founder Steve Case, Forbes Media CEO Mike Perlis and Atom Factory founder Troy Carte. The business leaders will then have three more minutes to ask her questions.
“I’m thrilled to be able to share our story and hope it inspires the crowd,” said Berman, noting she is excited “with a healthy dose of nerves” at the opportunity to present her pitch. “The exposure will help us propel forward, and we can’t wait.”
Berman was selected as one of just five start-ups nationwide, selected from 117 applicants, to compete in the “Shark Tank”-like contest—a quick-pitch opportunity similar to that of the popular ABC television show. She will be competing for a $150,000 equity investment from Case, Carter and Forbes Media, as well as $250,000 in free advertising and services from Forbes.
“I have no doubt that Morgan will shine in the competition, where her innate intelligence, enthusiasm and innovative ideas will be on display,” said Rob Fleming, associate professor of architecture and director of the M.S. in Sustainable Design program.
Berman, who was a graduate assistant to Fleming, started MilkCrate for her master’s thesis project in sustainable design. She received additional guidance and resources from the Blackstone LaunchPad at Philadelphia University.
“We are proud that Morgan was able to further develop her foundation in sustainability, access entrepreneurial support and find the specialized classes she needed to jumpstart her career at PhilaU,” Fleming added.
Hosting the Forbes Under 30 Summit is a coup for Philadelphia, which was selected because of its growing population of young adults—the so-called Millennial generation—and expanding start-up and entrepreneurial culture.
MilkCrate, an app allowing users to access companies’ sustainability ratings, is now available for download on Apple and Android mobile devices.
For more information and to download the app, visit milkcratephilly.com.