Friday, October 2, 2009

Event Summary for the Duke Start-up Challenge - Kickoff Event and Match Night

Event Summary for the Duke Start-up Challenge - Kickoff Event and Match Night
Thurs, October 1, 2009, 6:30-9pm
Co-marketed by the Duke Entrepreneurship Education Series

Executive Summary:
The Duke Start-up Challenge (DSC) had a fantastic start to the 2009-2010 academic year. With 140 registered on facebook and over 160 attending (estimate) it was an energetic, lively crowd. After a solid overview by Shalav Gupta, co-president of the DSC, there was a welcome by Adam Mangone, co-president of the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club,

Sponsors include Intersouth Partners, Wyrick Robbins, Hutchison Law Group, Hughes Pittman & Gupton, Square 1 Bank, iContact, and Palo Alto Software.

The main part of the night were the startup pitches, run by Katherine Ryzhaya, Team development lead for the DSC. There were 31 startups that pitched, which ranged from:
-a few undergraduates including a freshmen at Duke who wanted to start a website that guided high school students on how to get into college.
-several Fuqua MBA students pitching startups based on technologies and innovations, including a medical device for to treat urinary incontincence , as well as a nanotechnology innovation that has created the world's longest carbon nanotubes
-a Master of Engineering Management student located in the DUhatch Student Business Incubator
-a few Duke PhD students wanting to bring their technologies out of their lab, including one prosthetic arm innovation recently profiled on 60 Minutes
-a few members of Research Triangle Park community with innovations looking for students to help them launch.

The formal part of the Kickoff Event was closed by Steve Pal, co-president of the Duke Start-Up Challenge.

Though it was late in the night, a surprising number of people (estimate of 75) stayed afterwards for the matching event. Color coded dots on the name badges helped people with similar interests connect with one another. Several of the presenters reported making good connections at the networking session.

The Kickoff event has been a part of the Duke Start-up Challenge in various forms, depending on the year, sometimes including pitches, sometimes not. I think tonight's formula, with the mix of introduction, pitches, and networking, was a solid formula and is worth repeating in future years.

The Duke Start-Up Challenge was conceived of in 1999 and the first academic year of the competition was 2000-2001.

Photos and videos of the event will be available at and

Additional thanks to the great volunteers that are part of the Duke Start-Up Challenge who helped last night, including (but not limited to) Daniel Weinstein, Peter Brown, Jason Henderson, Jason Begleiter, Vatsala Kabra, Michelle Marais, Jozef Krakora, Vignesh Loganthan, Danni Lin, Lalith Devulapalli, Kwame Johnson, Justin Healy, and Nick Donowitz. And thanks to Cate Smith at Meriwe-ther-Godsey and to the BMO (Glenn Reynolds, Jeff Sturkey, Scott Plueddeman, Chuck Roberson). Thanks to advisors and supporters Barry Myers, Jon Fjeld, and Larry Boyd. Apologies to any names left off accidentally.

Written by Howie Rhee, Co-advisor to the Duke Start-Up Challenge
Howie Rhee, MBA
Managing Director
Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
Room E167J
919-617-1123 mobile

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  2. This is a great article! I love the idea of real time reporting of events and matches. It would be so cool to be able to see what is happening as it happens. I think this would be a great way to keep people informed and engaged.