Collegiate Entrepreneur Captures First Prize at Prestigious Entrepreneurship Contest

Brian Putt

Brian Putt

Brian Putt is an entrepreneur who has now added plaudits to the profits that come with a successful venture.   

Putt, a junior computer science major from Williamsburg and a member of RU’s Collegiate Entrepreneurs club (CE), is part of a three-person team that took first place and won a $5,000 grand prize in the Virginia Tech Student Business Concept Competition during the recent Third Annual VT KnowledgeWorks Entrepreneurship Summit at the Inn at Virginia Tech.      

Putt‘s concept, Lujure.com, is more than a concept; it is an operating business.  Putt is the chief technology officer (CTO) for Lujure.com, a five-month-old start-up company, and he was pleased with the award and attention.

 “We’ve worked hard and it felt good to be recognized as an example of what can be done and to serve as an inspiration for others with an entrepreneurial spirit,” said Putt, whose partners in Lujure.com are a pair of Virginia Tech students, Nathan Latka, chief executive officer, and Joshua Gunter, chief financial officer.   

Lujure.com provides an easy-to-use drag and drop platform that empowers users to enhance their Facebook fan pages beyond what is provided by the default Facebook platform.  Lujure hit the market with version 1 in December 2010 and is now preparing to launch its third generation.  Lujure.com’s three-man management team has expanded its operation in the past five months to provide support and development for the popular service to include 10 part-time employees and over 1,000-square feet of office space.

“We thought we would have a few hundred users to start with, so it was surprising to see it take off like it has,” said Putt. “It is a very competitive field and we have to continue to focus on doing things right.”   

Putt and the Lujure.com team will have additional opportunities to immerse themselves in the world of successful entrepreneurship as their first place award earns them the opportunity to compete on a world stage in August for the $25,000 VT KnowledgeWorks Global Challenge Award. The team also earned an invitation to the “Small Business Extreme Makeover” event in Orlando at the end of April.  

Putt’s success is a model for Radford University’s CE club, which hosted its annual “Elevator Pitch” contest on Wednesday, April 13, 2011.  Craig Richards, a senior management major from Manassas, Va., won the $150 first place prize for his pitch on a local tailgate support service, and Brian Davila, a senior finance and marketing major from Arlington, Va., placed second.  The CE meeting also featured presentations by two local entrepreneurs:  Laura Godfrey of Roanoke’s Claire V and Fred Cook of Blacksburg’s Heyo Inc.