Jason Shatsky ’21 is no stranger to Babson College pitch competitions.
The CEO and founder of TicketRev had been a finalist for the B.E.T.A. (Babson Entrepreneurial Thought & Action®) Challenge and a veteran of the Summer Catalyst Hot Seat and Showcase, in addition to other pitching opportunities.
This one, though, was different. This was ePitch with a grand prize of $100,000—Babson’s largest winning prize.
Shatsky and his venture—TicketRev, a reverse marketplace for event tickets—were selected as the winner of ePitch during the finale Tuesday at eMerge Americas, the first and largest tech conference in Miami. The grand prize was “by far the largest prize I’ve ever won,” he said.
“The experience of ePitch was truly incredible and unlike any pitch competition I’ve ever participated in,” Shatsky said. “I knew that I needed to come prepared for the ePitch stage, and several months of preparation and rehearsals truly paid off.”
The Return of ePitch
This was the first ePitch competition since the inaugural event in 2019, launched to celebrate the College’s second century. Joanna Geisinger Devin MBA’17 and her company, Torq Interface, a platform that connects hospitals and medical device representatives to streamline surgical scheduling, won the first ePitch.
“I was in the crowd at the first ePitch on campus in 2019 and could only dream of one day pitching on that stage,” Shatsky said. “My close friend Ryan Laverty ’20 was one of the presenters that day. We now live together in New York City, and he was able to help me every step of the way—both with presentation preparation and mental preparation.”
Shatsky and Laverty—co-founder of Arist, an ePitch finalist—both are former presidents of eTower, the living and learning community for student entrepreneurs, and both now serve on its advisory board.
Shatsky was one of three founders pitching their ventures at the ePitch finale in Miami. In addition to TicketRev, the other ePitch finalists were:
- BILTY, a logistics platform that bridges the gap between supply and demand for cross country freight movement, founded by Farhan Salik ’20. Victor Wiacek ’22 led the presentation for BILTY.
- Unmute, a platform that connects people to therapists, founded by Asini Wijewardane MBA’19 and Colleen Leung MBA’18, who presented at the finale.
Drew Yashar ’23 of eTower served as master of ceremonies for the ePitch finale, which was organized by eTower and The Arthur M. Black Center for Entrepreneurship with support from Gustavo Trindade MBA’17, director of Babson College Miami.
“It’s been almost six months since Drew and I started receiving and reviewing applications for this competition,” said Trindade, noting that the finale was originally scheduled for Babson Connect Worldwide in February. “But, thanks to our amazing partner, Melissa Medina, president of eMerge Americas, who agreed to host us here in a heartbeat, today was a great day for Babson in Miami, and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome.”
“I was in the crowd at the first ePitch on campus in 2019 and could only dream of one day pitching on that stage.”
Jason Shatsky ’21, CEO and founder of TicketRev
The judges included Jamie Siminoff ’99, H’21, the famed founder and chief inventor of Ring; Melissa Krinzman, managing partner at Krillion Ventures, and VC-in-residence with the city of Miami; and Daniel Lloreda ’15, general partner at H20 Capital Innovation.
Siminoff, also a judge at the inaugural ePitch, revealed the winner and presented the grand-prize check, alongside Babson’s Edward Chiu, Governor Craig R. Benson Endowed Senior Vice President for Advancement; and D.R. Widder MBA’99, vice president of innovation.
Victory and Validation
TicketRev is the first reverse marketplace for event tickets, a platform where buyers can name their price for tickets for sports events and concerts and sellers can choose to accept their bids. Currently operating in Miami and New York City, TicketRev plans to begin expanding to more markets this year.
“The $100K prize will transform TicketRev,” Shatsky said. “It’s part of a $300K fundraise that will allow us to hire a growth lead and second engineer along with increasing our marketing budget.”
The ePitch grand prize not only provides financial support for his venture but also serves as a major validation for Shatsky.
“Winning ePitch means everything to me,” he said. “I transferred to Babson as a sophomore because I was rejected as a first-year applicant. Babson was the only school I ever wanted to attend so winning our largest pitch competition really made it come full circle. I kept my rejection letter printed in my pocket during the pitch and asked Jamie Siminoff to sign it afterward.”
“What’s in the water at Babson? Because we keep seeing great founders coming out of Babson.”
Ryan Whittemore, chief investment officer of Florida Funders
Shatsky followed up his ePitch victory by pitching again, in eMerge Americas Startup Showcase, where he was one of the five finalists competing for a $420,000 investment, out of 100 startups, including late-stage ventures. Kevin O’Leary, investor, venture capitalist, and star of “Shark Tank,” was one of the four judges who prodded Shatsky about his venture.
But, it was judge Ryan Whittemore, chief investment officer of Florida Funders, with the final word about Shatsky’s venture and where it was born. “What’s in the water at Babson?” Whittemore asked. “Because we keep seeing great founders coming out of Babson.”
Shatsky replied: “We’re the number one entrepreneurship school for a reason.”
- 2019 — Torq Interface, Joanna Geisinger Devin MBA’17
- 2022 — TicketRev, Jason Shatsky ’21
Posted in Campus & Community, Entrepreneurship of All Kinds