Russell and Ann Gerdin helped benefit the Gerdin Business Building. They donated a $10 million grant to build the establishment.

Giving back was on the minds of the winners at the Ivy College of Business Pitch Competition.

The winner of the Ivy College of Business Pitch Competition was Ethan Marti, senior in entrepreneurship and co-founder and CFO for Hurd Health Group.

Marti’s pitch was for a ventricle-assist device, called SymVitae, which aims to help those suffering from heart disease. He, along with others, would like to use their technology to reach the 8,000 people every year on the heart transplant list.

“What we have is paradigm shifting technology that can benefit the lives of a lot of people,” Marti said.

His main objective is to increase convenience, freedom and comfort for those using current ventricle-assist devices, and allow for more people to have access to this technology.

SymVitae, meaning “together with life,” is perfectly paired with Marti’s mindset in entrepreneurship.

“I make things happen, and things do not happen to me,” Marti said.

When asked how to succeed in a pitch competition, the advice was universal.

“Try and fail. Making a continuous effort through a lot of rejection,” Marti said.

This is his first time placing in a pitch competition, and he cites his three attempts at pitch competitions as one of the keys to his success. His previous sales experience has lent a hand in entrepreneurial mindset, where he has worked for over five years for companies such as IBM and Verizon.

Another entrepreneur at Iowa State, Katie Carpenter, senior in marketing and management and one of the runners-up of the pitch competition, also believes in the trial and error method. She has competed in four pitch competitions, where she has placed in three. She has a long history with entrepreneurship, starting from her childhood.

Carpenter remembers her first business was an Etsy shop selling heated teddy bears as a seventh grader. She had found the idea for the bears in her “invention book,” a notebook she used in elementary school to write down her ideas. Her experiences as a young business owner fueled her passion in entrepreneurship.

Carpenter’s idea in the pitch competition, Dosi Market, is a website designed to help fundraisers raise money for their cause of choice by selling goods and services. She was inspired by a friend, who was having difficulty raising the funds to go on a mission trip through other websites.

Entrepreneurs at Iowa State are focused on the success and well-being of the community, as well as their careers. The philanthropic sentiments behind the pitches are a motivating factor for both participants at the competition.

Along with motivation, Marti and Carpenter believe Ames to be a great place to become an entrepreneur, with many opportunities and a good community.

“The entrepreneurship community here is very tight knit. Everyone helps each other out using their different strengths,” Carpenter said.

Marti cites much of the success and preparation for the pitch competition to the ISU Startup Factory. Other opportunities, such as the ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship, the CYstarters club and general interest in entrepreneurship in the Ivy College of Business, are encouraging more and more entrepreneurs and students at Iowa State.

Marti will be competing on March 6 in the campus-wide Innovation Pitch Competition. Find out more about his product, SymVitae, here.

(1) comment

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