When Albert Santalo (EMBA ’97) presented his business pitch recently, it wasn’t the first time. In fact, it was the 75th.
Founder, president, and chief executive officer of Avisena, Santalo had the idea of once again delivering the presentation he and his team had made to raise money for their company in 2002. This time, their audience was more than 100 people, including many students, who attended “How to Pitch Your Business Idea,” an event sponsored by the college’s Eugenio Pino and Family Entrepreneurship Center.
“The events run by the Pino Center are always very real-world,” said Yassiel Zapata, a senior finance major in the college who observed this first-of-a-kind offering at the Center. “It doesn’t get any more real-life than this.”
Because of what he learned from Santalo’s presentation, he feels he now has a clear idea of what’s involved in making a pitch.
“This gave me a benchmark if I am ever in that position,” Zapata said.
“Santalo was kind enough to put himself through the wringer again for the benefit of the audience,” said Colleen Post (MBA ’03), instructor and associate director of the Pino Center. “Six well-known professionals—all of whom will be judges in our upcoming New Venture Challenge—acted as venture capitalists, asked him tough questions, such as where he got his figures for the business plan that succeeded, which was version 48.”
Santalo credits a good team with leading to his ultimate success, and Post was pleased that students could see the perseverance it takes to succeed. She also was delighted by how well the unusual format worked.
“Thanks to him, we think we have created a new kind of event, one that marks the beginning of a new tradition,” she said.
Santalo, whose company helps health care companies adopt technology to support their key business processes, among other activities, serves on the college’s Deans’ Council and received the Charles E. Perry Visionary Award at the fourth annual Torch Awards gala for faculty and alumni.