Father’s Invention Wins MBA Student Tim Kim Grand Prize in Pepperdine University Business Plan Competition


Pepperdine University full-time MBA student Tim Kim of Chatsworth, CA, won the $15,000 top prize at the 2010 Pepperdine University Business Plan Competition on Saturday, March 27, 2010 with a business concept based on an innovative and patented adjustable socket invented by his father. One of four finalists, Kim took first place with the business plan for his start-up Flynn Acquisitions, Inc. and presented a proven hand tool design solution that effectively replaces up to 19 different socket sizes currently on the market, works on rusty and worn-out bolts, and handles with a vice-like grip that is durable enough to attach to an industrial drill.

Neil Clark Warren, founder of eHarmony; Arif Shakeel, former CEO of Western Digital; Susanna Kass, former COO of eBay; John Hohu, director of operations at Cisco; and Brad Fornaciari, founder of the marketing firm Lighthouse Branding served as judges for the annual entrepreneurship event, hosted by the Graziadio School of Business and Management and School of Law Geoffrey H. Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship & the Law at Pepperdine University.

Kim’s business plan demonstrated high-market potential by addressing recurring problems faced by users of the common socket wrench. Professionals and do-it-yourself consumers must determine the size of a nut or bolt by trying out different size sockets to find the matching fit. When faced with a rusted and worn-out bolt, traditional sockets slip off the rounded corners, forcing users to carefully “drill out” the bolt.

“Both scenarios illustrate the time-wasting hassles associated with using traditional sockets,” says Kim, who graduates in April. “Flynn Acquisitions’ TrustyMax adjustable sockets accommodate a vast array of sizes and will not slip off old or damaged bolts. Its durable and simple design removes the guess work and saves money.”

Second-Place Winner

Judges awarded the $5,000 second-place prize to Pepperdine MBA students JC Garrett, Rimas Silkaitis and Sebastian Bartl for the business plan BeTheBuilders.com, an Internet-based community offering homeowners the resources to plan, track and implement environmentally conscious home renovations. Blogs, discussion forums, online catalogues, micro-documentaries and how-to webisodes provide step-by-step guidance from industry experts, tools and information all in one place to help consumers infuse green living solutions into home improvement projects.

Runner-up Winners

Business plans for renting e-books online and an innovative solution providing access to clean drinking water worldwide each received $2,500 prizes.

Full-time MBA student Robert Buhler found his business plan idea in his passion for reading. He presented the rental website plan BookGlow.com, a solution to the high cost of e-readers, single purchasing price of e-books themselves, and various competing reader formats that may be barriers for potential consumers and book lovers. BookGlows proposed a Netflix-like model providing access to thousands of e-books through a subscription-based service. Members download multiple e-books for a flat fee depending on their subscription level. Buhler’s proposal removes the hurdle of purchasing a potentially expensive reader such as the Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader or Apple iPad. BookGlow members receive a free basic reader when they sign up.

Augustha, the business plan presented by business students Shivani Chandar, Ayush Jain and Kurt Onalp, addressed the worldwide crisis of access to clean drinking water through a portable water purification solution. The company’s product Agua Rush, currently under development, seeks to introduce a patented proprietary technology that neutralizes toxins in water, making it save for human consumption, and provide great taste and healthy electrolytes. The student team are pursuing EPA approval for a revolutionary odorless and tasteless water purification tablet that safely kills one-celled organisms in 1/20 the time of chlorine or iodine and offers unrivaled taste, cleansing efficacy and sanitization that can be delivered virtually anywhere on the planet.

All four business plan finalists are in early stage start-up development and seeking investment. Student Ashley Lewis received the Social Enterprise Award, which recognizes a business plan submission with a social mission and reflects Pepperdine University’s mission to strengthen lives of purpose, service and leadership.

About the Competition

The Pepperdine University Business Plan Competition challenges students from all of the University’s colleges and graduate schools to compete for financing toward an existing or proposed start-up venture, which is judged in elimination rounds by venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and faculty members. Founded in 2004 by students at the Graziadio School of Business and Management, the competition provides a forum for entrepreneurial ideas and ventures to be realized with the support and resources of the entire Pepperdine community. This year, twenty-eight business plans were submitted and ten selected for a semi-final round. The resulting four finalists and a $1,000 Social Enterprise Award nominee competed for $26,000 in awards.

The competition was made possible through the generous support of Hydraflow, McKesson U.S. Pharmaceutical, and Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, as well gracious contributions made by Daniel Dima Batsalkin, Principal Broker, Boulevard Realty and Janet E. Kerr, L.L.M., Executive Director, The Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and the Law and Professor of Law, Pepperdine University.

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