Central Florida’s top venture capitalists invest in Crummer business students’ start-up credit card processing company.
Members of the Fattmerchant team accept the $25,000 award. (Photo by Scott Cook)
On March 27, Rollins College’s Crummer Graduate School of Business announced Fattmerchant as the 2015 winner of its annual Venture Plan Competition, Central Florida’s very own “Shark Tank,” where start-ups battle for funding and mentorship before the region’s top entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.
Fattmerchant, a flat-rate subscription-based credit card processing service, went head to head with three other finalists on March 26 at Rollins College and took home $25,000 in prize money. By offering its clients access to the direct cost of interchange rates and removing surcharges, Fattmerchant empowers the merchant services industry to save an average of 40 percent on processing fees. It was brought to market April 2014 and has been recently featured in Forbes, Fast Company, and TechCrunch.
(Photo by Scott Cook)
Fattmerchant will receive a $25,000 cash prize and the option for an additional $25,000 in equity funding as part of a newly-formed partnership between Orlando-based venture capital firm venVelo and Rollins College. Together they have committed equity funding and cash prizes toward winners of the competition for the next four years. This unique partnership provides winners access to a large network of mentors to assist in the success of their business. Runners-up Nighthawk Running, Freedom Audio and Sipper Cocktails will take home $15,000, $7,500, and $2,500, respectively.
“We are ecstatic about the $25,000 prize from the Crummer Venture Plan Competition,” says Fattmerchant managing director and Rollins graduate Lyndsey Lang ’14. “But what’s truly remarkable about this competition is the pool of potential clients and investors it immediately connects us with. We’re very confident that the exposure we’ve received from winning will result in a bigger network and even more funding to take FattMerchant to a place where we transform the credit card processing industry as we know it.”
The Crummer Venture Plan Competition, hosted by the school’s Center for Advanced Entrepreneurship and coordinated by the student-run Rollins College Entrepreneur’s Organization, was designed to give Rollins students, alumni, and faculty a platform to develop a viable business plan to take to the marketplace while gaining real-world experience that connects them with an influential professional network.
“Crummer prides itself on education rooted in real-world experience, and the Venture Plan Competition truly embodies that,” says Cari Coats, executive director of the Crummer Center for Advanced Entrepreneurship. “A cornerstone of this program is the partnership we have with our winners—each of whom we believe has great potential to make an impact both in Central Florida’s start-up scene and in their respective industries. We look forward to collaborating with FattMerchant to help build their business even further.”
Fattmerchant is in good company with past winners, including 2014’s EASE Applications, a HIPAA-compliant texting platform that allows doctors to give loved ones updates on patients undergoing medical procedures, and 2013’s BioCurity, which developed a nanoparticle therapy that prevents the damaging side effects cancer patients endure from radiation treatment.