Andrew Strafaciwho obtained a double MBA and a law degree at Rutgers in 2020, created the Cyndrom name and logo while an undergraduate civil engineering student at College of New Jersey. The company now generates approx. $20,000 in annual revenue, fueled by sales of its “Ride On” line of hats, hoodies and beanies, popular among skateboarders, snowboarders and cyclists across the country.
The brothers were one of five teams that competed at Rutgers Business School on April 22 for some of $50,000 Prize money provided by the Sales Executive Club of the Northern New Jersey Foundation.
Citing tight competition, the judge elected to split the prize money among all entrants, awarding a $15,000 second prize to MBA students Jason Miller and Matthew McQueeny, co-founders of Big League Pillows; and $10,000 to a team of Rutgers undergraduate students, including Anna Zhang and Iris Jorovwho manufacture the Smart MS3 device to help patients improve the effectiveness of their physical therapy.
The judges awarded $2,500 at Rutgers MBA student Catherine Ruhno, whose startup Raw Paw Life sells dog food and treats; and another $2,500 at Andrew Zambrowski, an alumnus of the Rutgers Business School undergraduate program who presented Monkey Business. The company offers small businesses an app to help them compete more effectively with established brands.
Each of the teams gave short presentations, outlining their fledgling businesses, highlights of their strategy and company performance, and future growth projections.
The Sales Executive Club of Northern New Jersey Foundation sponsors the Business Plan Competition annually to encourage the entrepreneurial ambitions of students and alumni of Rutgers Business School. The competition is also one of the facets of a vast ecosystem Rutgers which fuels its strength in entrepreneurship.
Over the past 20 years, Richard RomanoFoundation Chairman and Rutgers Business School Advisory Board Member, helped make more than $1 million in the funding available for students and former founders.
“The business plan competition is important in several ways,” said Professor Doug Brownstone, which organizes the contest. “Student entrepreneurs can earn money to accelerate their business, and the top five teams also get mentorship.”
“These are full-time students or alumni who have jobs, and they’re also working on building businesses, so that’s extremely valuable,” he said.
The competition provided funding for such Rutgers student-created businesses like Playa Bowls, Emma’s Premium Services, Bibi Beverages, Turf Restaurant, Surf and Earth, Perfect Life Nutrition, and Zwiren Title Agency.
Like previous winners, Andrew Strafaci intends to use the prize money to expand his business.
Strafaci, who grew up skateboarding along the Jersey Shore, said funding from the competition would allow him and his brother to expand Cyndrom from a casual clothing line to a brand. sportswear company that offers more technical sports gear like rash guards for surfers and gloves for snowboarders.
“The money will be a catalyst for Cyndrom’s growth,” Strafaci said. “Money also says Rutgers believe in me. Having that support is important because it’s such a great school.”
Cyndrom currently sells its products in a Belmar surf shop and a Redbank skate shop, and he also does sales from his website and pop-up stores on the Jersey Shore. In addition to increasing his clothing selection, Stafaci said he plans to use the prize money to increase marketing. Its objective is to increase the sales of $1 million by 2025.
In addition to Romano, the judges for the 2022 contest included John Wilsonwho also represents the Sales Executive Club of the Northern New Jersey Foundation; Sharon Lydon, Associate Dean of Alumni and Business Engagement at Rutgers Business School; and Caroline LangeChief Financial Officer of the Community Foundation of New Jersey.
Mayuresh Pandit, a Rutgers MBA alumnus and senior product manager at Amazon, helped Professor Brownstone mentor the students. He also helped judge the teams.
SOURCE Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick