The competition has awarded funding to such Rutgers student-started companies as Playa Bowls, Emma’s Premium Services, Bibi Beverages, the Turf, Surf and Earth restaurant, Perfect Life Nutrition and the Zwiren Title Agency.
Like previous winners, Andrew Strafaci intends to use the prize money to grow his company.
Strafaci said the funding from the competition will allow him and his brother to expand Cyndrom from a casual clothing line to an active wear brand that offers more technical sports gear like rash guards for surfers and gloves for snowboarders.
“The money will be a catalyst for growing Cyndrom,” Strafaci said. “The money also says Rutgers believes in me Having that support is important being it’s such a great school.”
Cyndrom currently sells its products in a Belmar surf shop and a Redbank skate shop, it also sells from pop-up stores and its website. In addition to increasing production with the prize money, Stafaci said Cyndrom would also increase its marketing efforts. His goal is to increase sales to $1 million by 2025.
In addition to Romano, the judges included John Wilson, who also represents the Sales Executive Club of Northern New Jersey Foundation; Sharon Lydon, Rutgers Business School’s associate dean of alumni and corporate engagement; and Carolyn Lange, chief financial officer of the Community Foundation of New Jersey.
Mayuresh Pandit, a Rutgers MBA alumnus and senior product manager at Amazon, assisted Professor Brownstone in mentoring the students. He also helped to judge the teams.
– Susan Todd