Monday, November 16, 2009

Day 1 Wrap-up from the Undergraduate Track - both rooms

38 Undergraduate Teams registered to pitch (up from 17 last year).

Day 1 - Welcome to the Duke Start-Up 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 ofundergraduates, 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 PitchCompetition. 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.

Posted by Trevor Scott at 7:22pm

Startup Challenge Snapshot from Room C
Among the Undergraduate Track competitors, the first suite of presenters included prospective companies such as Centrosome, Synchronized Blinking, Power2Go, DateU and Wasabi.

The chain-store sushi concept idea, Wasabi, even rounded out their smooth-talking presentation by offering a plate of sushi tothe judges!

Posted by Trevor Scott at 7:57pm

An update from Von Canon Room B

A quick rundown on the events from room B so far…

Up first in Room B, Samiron Ray pitched his idea Know It, Win It - The problem: math and science skills in the US. A solution: a website that will unconventionally reward students for educational success. Samiron received some great questions from thejudges and was ready with answers.

David Benson pitched CarBone - Our innovative process recycles waste bone, converting it into porous carbon electrodes for use in oxygen batteries and modern electronics. David discussed the potential of his innovation and how it will benefit from theclean energy economy.

Clifford Satell pitched eFit Health Solutions - Web-based hub for all (esp. non-gym users) to get highly personalized fitness/diet plans tailored to their goals, ability and motivation.

Tyler Cantarano pitched Aurora Networks - Networks smart-outlets to a web-based, intelligent system to optimize energy-efficiency.

Derrick Hang pitched DukeBoxes - DukeBoxes is a summer storage company providing students the affordable, most convenient option for insured shipping and storage. The judges polled the audience and there was a strong positive response from the other students in the room.

Benjamin Hamner pitched Wristband Controls - We use sEMG signals and accelerometer data from a bluetooth-enabled wristband to enable transradial amputees to type and provide novel methods of interactions.

Phil Cotter pitched Stumpworks - The next-generation in video game technology. By measuring movements in muscle contractions, we have a more accurate, immersive gaming experience.

Posted by Tim Canavan at 8:14pm

Elevator Pitch Prospective Company Profiles from Room C

Here are some of the great new venture ideas pitched in the second half of the evening.

SwitchEnergy – Plans to build commercial refineries that convert common switchgrass into ethanol.

National Field – An online platform that helps political organizations increase efficiency.

ImmunoDispense Pro – A proprietary new way to treat sufferers of peanut allergies via a measured-dose system for use at home.

Prosodia - Developing a speech therapy device to assist users in improving the prosodic elements of their speech, such as intonation, stress, and rhythm.

Education Exchange Corps – A non-profit organization designed to connect current college students with opportunities to serve as teacher’s assistants or interns in urban school districts.

Optimal Surgical – As cataracts are the number one cause of blindness worldwide, Optimal Surgical is developing theCataCut© surgical device designed to simplify eye surgeries.

Posted by Trevor Scott at 8:48pm

The second half of the night in Room B

The second group of elevator pitches from Room B proved to be just as great as the first. We heard from…

Woo Young Cheong who pitched Duke International Youth Challenge - We seek to satisfy Asian students’ desire for awards for college application by hosting contests in Asian countries with participatory fees.

We heard a great two person pitch from DEVILHEEL - DEVILHEEL is a news Web site focused on the two most nationally prominent college basketball programs in the country: Duke and UNC.

Avishek Panth pitched Leadership Institute for Future Entrepreneurs - LIFE is a non-profit mentor-ship program that brings entrepreneurial training and financial literacy education to Durham High Schools. I wish Avishek the best of luck and hope he is able to inspire future Duke Startup Challenge participants.

Emily Sherman pitched Smartlet - Smartlet is a cost- and energy-saving system that reduces your phantom energy waste at thetouch of a button. No installation needed.

Callie Berkowitz pitched - helps you find fuel efficient and eco-friendly ways to get you where you want to go, saving the environment and saving you money.

Yingyi Shen pitched 21-Watt - 21-Watt focuses on providing a platform for undergraduate researchers in the United States to present their scientific works.

Xin Xu pitched Catch-a-Ride - Duke car-pool system. Student drivers going off campus post vacant seats on our website, where other students can see and buy those spots. Another audience poll

Kelly Waldman pitched Food4U - A website that has food order forms for the Merchants on Points restaurants. Use your food points or flex to order without the hassle of calling the restaurant.

Alex Zhang pitched VoraciTee - VoraciTee is a nonprofit corporation that strives to combine social activism and design through t-shirts. We provide a catalyst to raise awareness.

And finally, Cheney Tsai pitched kibbitz - Help student groups find and get the resources they need to make innovation happen.

And the winner is...

Posted by Tim Canavan 9:01pm

Entrepreneurship Week - Day 1 Wrap-up

The conclusion of the final pitch marked the completion of a successful beginning to an action-packed week filled with entrepreneurial energy.

After a terrific lineup of student elevator pitches, the audience was invited to vote via text-messaging for the Audience Choice Award, while the judges decided upon a Judges Choice Award.

Next, Howie Rhee from the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Fuqua School of Business delivered a brief overview of the Duke Entrepreneurship Education Series, the Program4Entrepreneurs, and the Duke Global Entrepreneurship Network.

Finally, the votes were tallied and the winners announced:

For participants in Von Canon Room B
Peoples Choice Award: CarBone
Judges Choice Award: Know It, Win It
Judges Runner Up: SmartLet

For participants in Von Canon Room C
Peoples Choice Award: Wasabi
Judges Choice Award: Wasabi
Judges Runner Up: ImmunoDispense Pro

Thanks to the efforts of the entrepreneurs, judges and audience for a successful start to an exciting week! Congratulations to all participants, and we hope to see you at the finals event on November 20th, from 5:30pm – 9:00pm at Fuqua in the Geneen Auditorium.

Posted by Trevor Scott at 10:06pm

Credits for Undergraduate Track, Elevator Pitch Competition, Duke Start-Up Challenge

Elevator Pitch Competition Lead: Steven Pal
DSC Events Lead: Dan Weinstein
Eweek/DSC Advisor: Howie Rhee
EVCC Eweek lead: Stephanie Fruth

Track Leads/Timers: Vatsala Kabra and Justin Healy
Floor Managers: Dan Weinstein and Stephanie Fruth
Judging Team: Vignesh Loganthan, Tim Canavan
Ushers: Troy Ferrell, Mihir Tandon
Blog posts from Trevor Scott and Tim Canavan:
Photos by Chase Olivieri and Howie Rhee:
Videos by Troy Ferrell and Mihir Tandon with Fuqua Multimedia post-processing
Alumni Engagement Team (Pre-show): Jozef Krakora, Alex Baranpuria, Yangyang Guo

DSC Co-Presidents: Steven Pal, Shalav Gupta, Vatsala Kabra
Marketing Team: Peter Brown, Nate Jaffee
Budget Team: Lalith Devulapalli
Team Development (Matchmaking tools): Johann Klemmack
And thanks to the entire Duke Start-Up Challenge Organizing Committee


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