April 26. 2012 8:00AM - Last modified: April 26. 2012 8:49AM

Booth Tag wins Marquette business plan contest

  
BoothTag, a mobile barcode game developed by Milwaukee-based Finn Digital was named the best overall winner of the Marquette University’s 10th annual Business Plan Competition.
The contest is sponsored by the College of Business Administration’s Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship.

The BoothTag game awards points to trade show attendees as they scan exhibitor booth bar codes, and engage in event-wide scavenger hunts. Exhibitors create their own bonus bar codes and download spreadsheet lists of all attendees who scanned at their booth.
Event attendees scan QR codes using the iPhone or Android Booth Tag app
According to Bill Finn, president and founder of Booth Tag, the game shows feedback graphically to attendees in real time, as it occurs, on both mobile devices and a series of screens. The feedback, according to Finn, helps motivate attendees to play and keep playing. 
“Booth Tag runs simultaneously with Finn Digital, it grows out of our experiences,” Finn said. “We knew we had a business with Booth Tag but the business plan competition allowed us to put the gamefication model through the gauntlet so to speak.”
The contest gave the Booth Tag team goals to shoot for and some deadlines and targets to hit, Finn said.
“It accelerated our efforts,” he said. “The contest put us directly in front of some very insightful business entrepreneurs and experts that may not have happened as quickly if we didn’t enter the competition.”
As winners of the competition, Booth Tag received $3,000 in cash for the company, a block of consulting time with the law firm of Michael Best and Friedrich, Baker Tilly and a half an hour with a Silicon Valley pitching coach, Finn said.
“Marquette’s Kohler School of Entrepreneurship is extraordinarily supportive of the local enrepreneurs,” Finn said. “Secondly, everyone involved in the competition was supportive, informative, insightful and incredibly helpful as we made our way through the process. They gave us all kinds of education that sort of validated our street smarts and allowed us to connect with people we maybe never would have been able to connect with on our own. We’re very grateful.”
Booth Tag piloted its first version at BizTimes' Biz Expo in 2010, and plans to use the money to help launch Booth Tag version 2 and will hire more people for the venture within the next year, Finn said.
Tied for Best Overall runners-up were RedSqwirl and GearMoney.com.
RedSqwirl will launch later this year and will sell coupon books for live events on Android and iOS mobile devices.
The company was founded by Kahnec De La Torre, a 2010 Marquette MBA graduate.
GearMoney.com was also started by a Marquette MBA student. Gino Rinaldi has created a comprehensive online resource for private consumer vehicle transactions, allowing parties both to shop and execute educated financial decisions, all without the use of a dealer and related markup.
Crab’s Kitchen, a manufacturer of all-natural, preservative free foods that  packages them into convenient vacuum-sealed bags, was named the Best Undergraduate Venture. The company was developed by senior engineering student Abigail Elder, of Oshkosh, Wis.
The contest awards prizes in two categories Business Plan Prize and Social Business Plan Prize.
This year’s Best Social Plan went to Age is Just a Number, a venture created by graduate engineering student Aniruddha Sinnarkar, of Mumbai, India. The venture aims to create an online community that pairs older, retired individuals with young mentees. The Best Social Plan runner up, Digital Training Academy, provides career training and placement opportunities to individuals who have not been successful in obtaining employment due to Autism Spectrum Disorder. The company was founded by Carole Burns, of Milwaukee, director of the Wakerly Technology Training Center in Marquette’s Diederich College of Communication.

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