Monday, November 16, 2009

Day 1 – Welcome to the Duke Startup Challenge!

After a welcome and introduction from Duke students Vatsala Kabra and Stephanie Fruth, Duke Startup Challenge 2009 began with an opening address from Rich West, CEO of Advanced Liquid Logic. In Duke’s Von Canon Room C, a diverse crowd of undergraduates, graduate students, seasoned entrepreneurs, and wannabees received Rich West’s stimulating introductory talk on the challenges of entrepreneurship.

Next, all eyes turned to the competitors for the first round of competition - the Undergraduate Track. The Undergraduate Track is classified as teams that are led by undergraduate students.

Judges for the evening include:
Rich West, CEO of Advanced Liquid Logic
Mike Rasmussen, CEO of Republic of Fun
Will Pearson, Co-founder and President of mental_floss magazine
Jon Fjeld, Executive Director, Center for Entrepreneurship and Education, the Fuqua School of Business.

Live from Von Canon Room B we had a great group of students pitching in the Undergraduate Track of the Elevator Pitch Competition. Starting things off we had introductions from each of our judges. Will Pearson gave a great talk passing on some firsthand advice to the teams. Will cofounded mental_floss magazine, “Where Knowledge Junkies Get Their Fix” with Mangesh Hattikudur while both were students at Duke. He talked about the importance of talking to everyone you possibly can about your business and about the path he took to establish his company. Thanks to Will for the great insights and practical advice.

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