DUKE START-UP CHALLENGE SHOWCASES UNIQUE BUSINESS VENTURES
April 18, 2009 | DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke Start-Up Challenge was held at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business Saturday, April 18th. The Duke Start-up Challenge is a competition that encompasses all aspects of building a business, including assembling a management team, formulating a business plan, and developing core product technology.
More than $45,000 in cash and prizes were awarded in four categories this year: health care/life sciences; high tech; consumer products and services; and social enterprise. Overall open category winners were also selected, with the overall winner taking home $25,000.
Of the more than 55 teams that entered the competition, 12 finalist teams were selected to pitch their ideas to judges, present to the public at the Duke Start-Up Challenge Tradeshow, and deliver their 2-minute “elevator pitches” to an enthusiastic crowd at the awards ceremony.
The winner of this year’s Duke Start-Up Challenge was EntoGenetics, a company that has developed a process to produce ‘spider silk’ in a scalable form. Spider silk is an organic fabric which is light, incredibly elastic, and tougher than Kevlar. EntoGenetics also won the Consumer Products and Services category. The runner-up, and winner of $10,000, was Knoesis, which also won the Healthcare category.
Other winners included Catchafire, winner for Social Enterprise; Wimzii, winner for High Tech; and Plato’s Republic, winner for Best Tradeshow Performance.
About the Duke Start-up Challenge
The Duke Start-Up Challenge (DSC) is a competition that lasts throughout the academic year which awards $25,000 to the winning team. The DSC provides a unique outlet for students to gain valuable experience in the world of entrepreneurship. Teams spend more than six months building business plans that include everything from marketing and finance, to product development and sales. The DSC taps into the strong venture capital and executive network within the Research Triangle region for expertise and judging. For more information, please visit http://www.dukestartupchallenge.org.
EntoGenetics has solved a puzzle that has been at the center of fabric science for more than 20+ years, the ability to produce ‘spider silk’ in a scalable form. Spider silk is an organic fabric which is light, incredibly elastic, and tougher than Kevlar. EntoGenetics has discovered how to transfer the spider’s production gene into the common silk worm, creating the means for large scale, inexpensive spider silk production and creating multiple new market opportunities based on the application of this remarkable fiber.
Knoesis seeks to develop bio-analytical hardware and reagents enabling cost-effective clinical diagnostics. The vision of the company is to allow everyone affordable access to rapid and specific diagnostic healthcare knowledge. Knoesis’ first application is an immunosensor for the detection of latent tuberculosis infection.
Catchafire is a for-profit social venture that will bridge the divide between the social sector and the business sector, renew corporations with a purpose and a place in their communities, and ignite a movement of pro bono service to increase the power that nonprofits and social entrepreneurs have in serving our communities.
Wimzii is an online search engine for apparel (think Google for clothes) which combines elements of search and social shopping to allow consumers to make the most informed product choices.
About Plato’s Republic
As parents become seriously concerned about childhood obesity and their child’s academic situation, Plato’s Republic provides a unique solution to these concerns—interactive physical fitness via exergaming (a new and innovative way to provide exercise using video games and electronics) coupled with academic support and enrichment. Daily after school sessions include one hour of exergaming coupled with one hour of enrichment, as well as a nutritious snack and beverage.
You can watch the entire event at: http://stream.fuqua.duke.edu/
Or you can watch individual videos below.