Friday, December 9, 2011

Final Presentations in Duke's Program for Entrepreneurs (P4E)

The goal of the Program for Entrepreneurs (P4E) is to assist entrepreneurs in launching new businesses.

This initiative is the capstone of Fuqua’s entrepreneurship educational offerings. It leverages Fuqua’s academic research, courses and broad community of practitioners to work with entrepreneurs to define, plan, establish and finance new ventures.

More info at:

Teams in New Ventures 3

K Kane

K Kane is a fine jewelry line whose pieces are as unique as the individuals who wear them.

HyTower Energy Storage

HyTower develops distributed pumped hydro energy storage for merchant participation in electricity markets


Patent database and smart search engine based on artificial intelligence algorithm

Teams in New Ventures 1

BAMmarketplace is an online and app research platform for socially driven people.  We provide customers a way to use the power of their purchases towards the causes they care about most. Search by cause, by brand or by item and discover through a user-friendly, icon based platform how mainstream products and products from 3rd world entrepreneurs are creating social and environmental impact. 


Our current idea is to provide platform for people with health problems to connect. We will be providing a chat/text like application on phone for people to get real time feedback from other users having similar problems. For example, a diabetic person eating at a restaurant not sure of the food he is eating, can ask for advice from other diabetic users on our service. All these users will be subscribed to the same group - "Diabetes". This idea can be later scaled to different verticals.


A new social network that aims to facilitate connections between young professionals.


FlexRegistry is a location and time aware registry on-the-go for maintaining and sharing wish lists and recommendations among friends. The offering will have 2 components - an App and a backing website. The key features are listed below:


A new peer-to-peer platform aimed at connecting entrepreneurs and any population wiling to invest capital.


MBAApp is an online platform intended to solve the many inherent inefficiencies in the current MBA application process.  Via an easy-to-use online interface which would be accompanied by mobile apps, the MBA applicant would be able to manage the entire process, from writing essays, to finding schools and clubs or managing deadlines and recommendation letter requests.  Rather than replace existing systems in place, it would augment them from an end-user's perspective, and feed information to them once applications are complete.


Polymags offers magazine readers ultimate flexibility and cost-savings.  Users pay one low, annual subscription fee and can make monthly magazine selections via their web or mobile account.   A vast array of options is available to cater to the broad and evolving interests of readers; for example, one month a subscriber might receive Architectural Digest and the next month Women’s Fitness.  Readers are able save lots of money avoiding multiple subscriptions, and they no longer have to feel guilty for letting all of those untouched magazines stack up.

Project Pineapple

Project Pineapple offers students a radically different way of finding and choosing their academic courses - courses that are relevant to both their career and personal pursuits. Through our product, they can navigate the curriculum in innovative ways such as viewing classes based on course content rather than department, or finding students who have taken similar courses and connecting with them. Eventually, through a student's personal interests and academic history, we want to connect the student to internships and other non-curricular activities that actually draw upon and augment their classroom experiences.


Scene-ster is for professional or socially motivated individuals who desire to interact with a particular subset of people instantly through mobile interface. The Scene-ster smartphone app is a mobile, GPS-based, real-time social connectivity software that facilitates locating a group of people relevant to your social or professional interests by allowing you to search for people based upon characteristics and receiving real-time results on a map display. It is unlike other social media tools that require “logging in”, building a “profile”, or “checking-in”.  Our product does not require logging in or building a profile while it amasses data anonymously based on user-defined characteristics to bring people together instantaneously. 

Take Back the Trail

Take back your heart, health, and community

Equal parts social initiative and fitness apparel brand, the sale of all Take Back The Trail fitness apparel will support local initiatives to empower minority women in low-income neighborhoods to take back their hearts, health, and communities. Through purchasing the Take Back The Trail brand, consumers who live a life dedicated to health and fitness will be connected with women who aspire to do the same but who are yet to have the resources to do so.

Clinical Vest

Clinical Vest is designed to be a portable, non-invasive measurement system to monitor biological parameters in a non-clinical setting.  The system is capable of collecting and storing biologically relevant data (e.g. abdominal sounds, maternal/fetal heart rate and respiratory sounds) that are not normally collected in current systems.  Usage of the vest eliminates the need for subjects/patients to stay in clinics for evaluation and allows them to live as they normally would, and also enhances the measurement of the effectiveness of drug treatments by identifying outlier subjects in pharmacokinetic studies.

F.I.M. - Fighting the Impulsiveness Monster

The business idea is the creation of a serious health game aimed at training three specific aspects of cognitive function among adolescents with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) facing issues with inhibitory control.


Okulife is a prospective company that will focalize in the production, sale and distribution of ornamental plants through a Japanese technique call Kokedama (“Koke” = moss, “Dama” = ball). The project includes the creation of a detailed website with high quality pictures and a shopping cart.


A reliable, high quality, low cost manufacturing technology of a biomedical material, PEG. Specialty polyethylene glycol (PEG) is widely used by research institutes and pharmaceutical companies. But the market lacks a specialized and reliable PEG provider that offers high quality PEG. We will fill this gap with 5 patentable technology by providing superior PEG product and after sales\ services to our clients.

Rent the Room

"Rent the Room” is a high quality rental service for home staging accessories (art, lamps, linens etc.). It builds on the momentum of the rent-by-mail success of Netflix and Rent the Runway to provide do-it-yourself homeowners and real estate agents with an alternative to expensive home staging services. Rent the Room allows budget saavy customers access to the simple, modern styles that appeal to home buyers without having to invest in accessories they don't want. When the home sells, they simply send their items back to us...and we send them on to another customer.

The Monday Life

The Monday Life  is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that improves the environments inside children's hospitals by asking people to donate $1, every Monday. We are currently working solely with Duke Children's Hospital yet plan to expand to children's hospitals around the world throughout our time in P4E.


Web-based services for detecting deception in corporate financial statements: TrustyEarnings aims to use psychological and linguistic models to assess the information conveyed by executives during earnings conference calls about their affective states that, in turn, help users predict future profitability and returns.

Winter Update 2011 - Entrepreneurship at Duke

By Howie Rhee

There's a lot to report.

It's been a great Fall here in Durham, for entrepreneurship activities at Duke.

  • Over 100 Duke student teams competed in the 6th Annual Elevator Pitch Competition (part of the Duke Start-Up Challenge and DukeGEN). That's a new record (previous high was around 70 teams). Great spread of years (from Freshmen to Medical School Residents), and schools (Pratt, Fuqua, Trinity, Nicholas, Law, Medicine, Graduate School).
  • Will Pearson '01 of mental_floss, gave a great talk at the Elevator Pitch Finals, where our 19 finalists pitched in Reynolds Theater of the Bryan Center (a new venue for us). 

  • DukeGEN held it's 4th DukeGEN Angel Pitch Event, our second in New York City.  (We also held our 3rd event in San Francisco in June). Summing the 3rd and 4th events, about 80 Duke startups applied to pitch, and 12 actually pitched to investors.

  • The Program for Entrepreneurs (P4E) started it's fourth cohort with 16 teams (a new record).  They started the first course, New Ventures 1, in mid-October.  About 8 of the teams were IT/Internet/App based. 

  • InCube got off the ground and the students have moved in.  Congrats to Sid and everyone involved. 
  • The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Task Force (led by Kimberly Jenkins) has formed, met twice, and put together some recommendations on entrepreneurship at Duke going forward.  The response to join the Task Force was really positive, and things are looking bright for Duke's future.

  • We hosted five Duke speakers for DukeGEN: Live from Silicon Valley.  This was a departure from our previous years' Education Series, and all speakers joined us live via Skype.  We tested Skype as an experiment, and the feedback was overall positive.  Videos of their talks are available on YouTube.  Speakers included:
    • Jason Freedman (Flightcaster, Y Combinator)
    • Howie Liu (Etacts, Y Combinator)
    • Ryan Spoon (Polaris Ventures, Dogpatch Labs, beRecruited)
    • Matt Koidin (Read It Later, TeamRankings)
  • Congrats to Duke alumni Jesse Lipson (ShareFile), Justin Segall & Yoav Lurie (SimpleEnergy), Kathryn Minshew (The Daily Muse), David Goldberg (Contently).  All had exits or closed on funding.
  • Published DukeGEN interviews, at, with:
    • Jeff Kovick '11 - Co-founder and CEO of Medici Medical Technologies
    • Evan McCormick '11 - Founder and CEO of Investors Mosaic
    • Brian Hamilton '90 - Co-founder of Sageworks
    • Vikas Narula '07 - Co-founder of Keyhubs
    • Glen Caplan '02 - Co-founder of Joystick Labs
    • David Mauney '90 - Co-founder and Managing Director of De Novo Ventures
    • Brooks Bell '02 - Founder and CEO of Brooks Bell Interactive
    • Liz Reaves Walker '05 - Senior Product Manager at LinkedIn
  • Over 300 Duke students joined the DukeGEN Startup Matchmaker Directory
Looking forward to having a great Spring.  Each semester we get a little better, and the goal is to continue to improve, and at the same time, continue at a sustainable pace.

Howie Rhee '04 is working on helping Duke be one of the best environments for students interested in entrepreneurship.  Follow him on Twitter @howierhee