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The Winner is a 3D Vintage Motorcycle Parts Business
Duluth’s business sharks/judges chose Knoll Restorations as the winner of the Fourth Annual UMD Shark Tank event.
Photo: Andrew Knoll & Joe Kastner (Knoll Restorations)
The business’s owners, engineering students Joe Kastner and Andrew Knoll, have already been operating this niche vintage motorcycle parts manufacturer that uses 3D printing technology to create high quality intricate plastic components in low volumes. Knoll utilizes social media and online stores to reach global consumers to manufacture and sell previously unaffordable or unavailable products to the general public. The duo, who will graduate in 2021, earned a $3,000 scholarship with their business creation.
“We became entrepreneurs this semester when we realized we had developed a product that other people were searching for,” said Knoll. “Our next steps will be increasing our product lines and purchasing another 3D printer and other supplies.”
Kastner and Knoll also connect with other entrepreneurs and lovers of vintage motorcycles. “We enjoy sharing our processes and current personal restoration projects to help inspire and educate those who have their own dreams they are building,” said Knoll.
This year’s event, which was on April 30, had a record attendance—close to 300 people— and was coordinated entirely by UMD students Andrew Weisz (director), Max Stangler (lead outreach chair), Noah Schminski (MC/event planning chair), Dustyn Godfrey (graphic design/marketing chair), and Antonio Davis (high school outreach chair). Faculty advisor was Dr. Ray Jones, assistant professor of management studies.
Earning second place was Katelyn France with SMYLE LLC (Scientists Making Your Life Easier), a manufacturer of individualized QR-coded medical bracelets. She earned a $2,000 scholarship. Sam Goetsch and Michael Heile took third with their business of Mike & Sam Games LLP, makers of giant handcrafted yard games modeled after the classic childhood originals. They earned a $1,500 scholarship.
Cole DiMeglio’s Hot Dish app was chosen by the audience as its favorite entrepreneurial endeavor, which earned Dimeglio a $500 scholarship. The food app takes uploaded on-hand ingredients and generates different recipes that could be made with those ingredients.
Prior to the event, 30 contestants were honed down to six who then pitched their ideas. The six finalists each worked with a mentor in their field prior to the final competition. Mentors helped applicants further develop the business ideas. Mentors were Tom Sega (president, Duluth Pack), Rolf Weberg (director, NRRI), Nathan Lipinski (founder, MC-Cubed Think Tank), Monica Radniecki-Hendrickson (owner, Hendrickson and Company, LLC), Tim White (owner and president, Crud Cloth), and Mark Summers (past president, North Shore Federal Credit Union).
The judges, aka sharks, were Molly Solberg (president MAS Marketing), Jessica Langer (president, LSBE’s entrepreneurship club and founder, The Furry Dogmother), Alyza Bohbot (owner/CEO, Alakef Coffee Roaster and City Girl Coffee), Manny Rivas (CMO, AimClear), and Susie Gilbertson (recruiter, maurices).
The annual competition is sponsored by the Labovitz School of Business and Economics (LSBE) in support of entrepreneurship.