Friday, November 20, 2009

Duke Start-up Challenge 2009 Finals Competition

Welcome to the Finals Competition of the Duke Start-up Challenge!!

Tonight marks the premier event celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week at Duke University. The Start-up Challenge is a week-long competition for students to pitch start-up company concepts to a panel of distinguished business leaders and a live audience.

The Finals Competition, hosted at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, is the climax of the week which offers the winners of each elevator pitch Track the opportunity to compete for a $1,000 grand prize and an Audience Choice prize of $250. The 7 Tracks which competed throughout the week and their respective winners which can compete in the Finals are:

Undergraduate-led Startup Track:
People’s Choice Award: CarBone, Wasabi
Judges Choice Award: Wasabi, Know It, Win It
Judges Runner Up: ImmunoDispense Pro

Energy & Environment Track:
People’s Choice Award: Token Energy
Judges Choice Award: Token Energy

Judges Runner Up: CarBone

Healthcare & Life Sciences Track:
People’s Choice Award: Biogenic Medical Devices
Judges Choice Award: Medici Medical Technologies

IT & Media Track:
People’s Choice Award: AdStream
Judges Choice Award: National Field
Judges Runner Up: DEVILHEEL

Women-led Startups Track:
People’s Choice Award: ImmunoDispense Pro
Judges Choice Award: Optimal Surgical

Social Enterprises Track:
People’s Choice Award: StumpWorks
Judges Choice Award: StumpWorks
Judges Runner Up: The Produce Purity Project

Products & Services Track:
People’s Choice Award: 25th Hour Media
Judges Choice Award: General Nano

For the Finals Competition, prizes are awarded for the best overall business concept and presentation. Judging the Finals Competition were:

Bill Maris - Co-founder of Google Ventures

Bill Maris is a Managing Partner of Google Ventures. Bill brings more than a decade of diverse operational, entrepreneurial and leadership experience to Google Ventures. Bill's past successes include founding Web hosting pioneer, which he subsequently sold to Interland, Inc., now known as Prior to that, Bill was a portfolio manager for Stockholm, Sweden-based Investor AB, one of the world's largest industrial holding companies, where he co-managed the biotechnology and health care portfolios. Bill’s background also includes scientific research into cholinergic visual pathways, cell membrane patch clamping techniques and in-vivo neuronal cell injection at Duke University Medical Center, Department of Neurobiology. Bill is based in Mountain View, CA and received an A.B. with honors in Neuroscience from Middlebury College.

Catherine Massey’71 - Co-Founder of LawDocsXpress

Catherine E. Massey is the co-founder of LawDocsXpress. She has more than 15 years of experience as Owner & President of Legal Resources, Inc., a legal temporary and placement service based in Atlanta, Georgia, with clients all over the United States. In addition, she has more than 10 years experience in corporate management with emphasis in human resources. She has a BA from Duke University and an MS from Georgia State University.

Matt Megaro - Co-founder and CEO of Quill Medical

Matt Megaro: Matt has extensive experience in starting and developing biotechnology and medical devices ventures. Most recently, he was President and CEO of Quill Medical, Inc., a medical device company that he co-founded in 2000 in Research Triangle Park, NC. Quill was sold to Angiotech Pharmaceuticals in 2006 in a $200 million structured acquisition. Prior to Quill, he was President of Trimeris, Inc., a Durham, NC biotechnology company focused on treatments of infectious disease. At Trimeris, he led the Company’s business development and financing initiatives including private and public stock offerings and an IPO in 1997. Prior to Trimeris, he was Chief Financial Officer of Athena Neurosciences which developed treatments for neurological disorders. At Athena, he was responsible for various product licensing and acquisition programs and for financing initiatives including Athena’s IPO in 1991. He serves as a board member of several life science companies and is currently engaged as an entrepreneurship advisor to the US Embassy and Consulates in Italy. He received his B.S. in Finance from the University of California, Berkeley. Matt is also an Executive-in-Residence for the Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

David Samuel - Co-Founder of Freestyle Capital

A serial entrepreneur and Internet pioneer, Dave has specialized in software & media since 1994. In early 2004, David served as President and co-founder of, a website specializing in Internet Video. The company raised $5 million in Angel & VC financing. In August 2006, Sony Pictures Entertainment acquired Grouper for $65 million. In late 2003, David co-founded Brondell, the first American-based company to develop high-tech toilet seats. David currently serves as Chairman of the Board. In early 1996, David, as CEO, founded, the first and largest Internet music service. In May 1999, AOL acquired the firm for $320 million. During Spinner's growth, David employed and managed 75 personnel at Spinner, and raised $15 million from Sony Music Entertainment, Intel, Amerindo, and several others. From May 1999 to June 2000, Mr. Samuel worked as Vice President of Technology for AOL. Prior to founding in early 1996, David worked at Oracle within the application development group. He graduated from MIT in 1994 with a degree in Electrical Engineering.

Opening the evening was special guest speaker and elevator pitch judge Bill Maris, Co-founder of Google Ventures. Thanks to the generous donation of time and expertise by all contributing judges and for a dedicated group of sponsors of the Duke Start-up Challenge.


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