Crowell School of Business Announces 4th Annual Biola Startup Competition Winners

Teams Parabrands, Titanium, and Pedal on Purpose win competition

Apr. 16, 2019 By Bella Burchett

Student teams competed this Spring with hopes of launching their business idea in Biola University’s 4th annual Biola Startup Competition. The team, “ParaBrands” placed first receiving $15,000 and a $10,000 pro-bono legal package provided by sponsor Brown & Streza, LLP, represented by attorneys Jay Bettinger and Greg Cragg, to help launch their business. Team “Titanium” placed second and team “Pedal on Purpose” received third place, both collecting prizes to help their business concept become a reality.


Founded in 2015 by the Crowell School of Business, the Biola Startup Competition is a faith-based business competition designed to help Biola students and alumni launch innovative, kingdom-minded businesses and nonprofits that have the potential to significantly impact the world for Christ. The competition has three rounds consisting of registration and approval, a concept paper and a business plan.


On March 15, the 2019 finalist teams pitched and presented their plan to a panel of judges. Finalist judges included Senior Vice-President of Operation Mobilization, Matt Benson, CEO for Beverly Oncology and Imaging Centers (BOI) Medical Group, Inc., Ruth Lopez, and Vice President of Marketing for 20th Century Fox, John Schad.


“ParaBrands, Titanium, and Pedal on Purpose all reflect solid business ideas. So with cash in hand and validation from the Biola Startup Competition finalist judges, we are on to next steps to help them launch,” said Robert Harp, director of strategic initiatives for Crowell School of Business.


First-place winner, ParaBrands, aims to influence the fashion world for Christ with thought-provoking designs. Team members include business administration students, Nicholas Rumer and Jackson Collins, business analytics student Sam Karabashian, financial planning student Chandler Gorham, business finance student Jack Nicholas, business marketing student Clayton Owens, cinema and media arts student Victor Miller and journalism student Quinn Gorham.


Titanium received the second place prize including $7,500 and a free legal consultation. They aim to tackle the waste epidemic by producing fashionable, performance-enhancing activewear made from 100 percent recycled plastic. Team members include international business student Leo Thompson, business student with a minor in biology Henry Reeves, business marketing and management student Paula-Marie Labate and kinesiology student Alejandro Pelayo.


The third place prize was awarded to Pedal on Purpose. The team will receive $5,000 and a free legal consultation. Pedal on Purpose’s vision is to create a sustainable environment that recognizes and restores the identity of Christ in people transitioning out of homelessness. The team members include business marketing students Caleb Strauss and Daniel Shen, marketing management student Farrah Hasen and accounting student Andy Pak.


Each team was paired with a coach from a similar industry to guide them in the process of building a business plan. Sarah Tse (’93), the coach of ParaBrands, is the CEO of TSE Worldwide Press, Inc. Tse’s company, founded in 2004, specializes in manufacturing customized coffee-table style books and packaging. The coach of Titanium, Mark Strom (’84), was a PricewaterhouseCoopers advisory partner and led the global operations practice and management consulting in the U.S. before he retired in June 2018. He became a partner at PRTM in 1996 and ultimately Americas Managing Director prior to PRTM’s acquisition by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2011. Barry Watkins, Pedal on Purpose’s coach is president and founder of Watkins Commercial Properties and is a specialist in the commercial real estate retail industry.


Visit the Crowell School of Business website to apply.


Written by Bella Burchett, media relations intern. For more information, contact Jenna Loumagne, manager of media relations, at (562) 777-4061 or


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