Friday, December 9, 2011

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 www.dukegen.com/profiles, 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

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