Finalists of the New Venture Championship Announced

10 04 2009
Applause at the Blue Star Gas Announcement of Finalists for the five finalists announced.

Applause at the Blue Star Gas Announcement of Finalists for the five finalists announced.

The New Venture Championship concluded after a long day of competition during the Semifinal Round. All twenty teams pitched their business plans to panels of judges in hope to advance to the Final Round and the chance to win the $50,000 first place prize.

After their presentation, each team met with judges to receive feedback and gain insight from the elite business professionals who serve as judges for the competition.

We heard at the Blue Star Gas Announcement of Finalists, that the following teams advanced:

Integrated Diagnostics from the University of California Berkeley
Teammates Octavian Florescu, Tanner Nevill, Tayson Siegel, Karl Skucha, and Kevan Wang pitched their idea for an easy and accurate HIV detection test.

Gold Plus from the Thammasat University
Teammates Parujee Chantaharn, Yanin Kasemkosolsri, Nattaya Khuntivongvarn, and Thanawat Malabuppha pitched their idea that reduces the density of gold products to address the challenge of increasing gold prices and decreasing pricing pressures.

Castor & Pollux from Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration of Chulalongkorn University
Teammates Tanaphat Laohavisit, Patacharin Pratheeptham, Sorradithep Supachanya and Thanan Suthipongmitri pitched their idea for a diagnostic kit that allows for early and simple testing of leptospirosis, a tropical bacterial disease.

Gyan from Kellog School of Management of Northwestern University
Teammates Esther Choy, Supina Mapon, Pavan Singh, Ramya Singh, and Tiffany Urrechaga pitched their idea for an educational training program for the rural poor in India through an English franchise starter kit.

KT Tape TM from Brigham Young University

Teammates Michelle Quinn and Reed Quinn presented their plan to bring kinesiology tape to the consumer market.

Tayson Siegel of the Integrated Diagnostics Team said, “We’re a little bit surprised, but really happy. The competition is really strong and we’re happy we made it this far.”

His teammate, Karl Skucha added, “We’re glad we could pull it together after yesterday’s feedback.”

Congratulations to the five finalist teams. Tomorrow the Final Round begins where teams will once again have 15 minutes to present and 20 minutes for a Question & Answer session from judges.

Check back tomorrow for updates on the Final Round of NVC. You can also check updates on Twitter.





NVC Semifinal Round continues with The Interactive Fan Team from University of Oregon

10 04 2009

The semifinals are underway! In front of a packed conference room at the Embassy Suites in Portland, University of Oregon’s Interactive Fan Team presented their 15-minute presentation followed by a 20-minute Question & Answer session.

The presentation began with, “Lisa is PUMPED!”

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The team used a fictional person, Lisa, to help the judges fully understand its concept. Lisa, a Scion marketing executive, is pumped because of a great opportunity for her to connect with fans at sporting events. The Interactive Fan enables sponsors to directly connect with people attending sporting events via their mobile phones.

The UO team developed a sponsored interactive game that allows fans in attendance to sporting events compete by answering trivia questions and participating in a fantasy game.  According to the team, The Interactive Fan, is a win for both the sponsors and the fans because the game creates a more interactive sports experience for the fans and allows sponsor to compile valuable consumer information.

The UO team, comprised of Tom Czarnowski, Dan Pivirotto, Jim Sever, Jeff Sharma, and Jesse Thomas, shared the presenting duties each focusing on different areas of expertise. They discussed the product, the marketing potential, and the numbers.

The Interactive Fan appears to have amazing potential calculating a 33X return on investment. The team is putting up $100,000 of their own money and believes they will be able to raise another $200,000 from family and friends. The team has put in extra hours preparing to test The Interactive Fan at the PAC 10 Track & Field Championships in May at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon.

NVC judges question team members of The Interactive Fan team to learn more about the venture.

NVC judges question team members of The Interactive Fan team to learn more about the venture.

The team spent 15 minutes pitching their venture, leaving 20 minutes for question from the judges, Erik Benson, Bob DeKoning, Jeff Stewart, Jonathan Widney and Jim Young. I thought the team did well answering the questions and came back with strong well-articulated answers.





Winner of the Elevator Pitch Announced

9 04 2009

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In just sixty seconds, each NVC venture team had the chance to captivate the attention of five judges.

That’s right, the NVC Elevator Pitch Competition just ended at the NVC. One team member from each team had the chance to explain the team’s venture and why investors should choose their team.

The pitch competition is based off the idea that if a venture capitalist were to meet an investor in an elevator, would he or she be able to use that one minute of face-time to secure an investment.

Apparently, the necoPlastics team from University of Louisville has the ability to do just that. The team’s elevator pitch included both the team’s business plan and why investors should be interested in necoPlastics. The team that includes, Whitney Austin, Stevel Flaherty, Nick Jacoby, Charles Price and Jason Wade, won $1,000 for winning this round of competition.

PassPro-tech, the runnerup from the University of Texas at Dallas, also excelled in the elevator pitch portion of the event with the team’s explanation of its one-of-a-kind technology that allows users an easy and safe way to access networks. Stephen Dunlap and Ben Morrow make up the PassPro-tech team.

Check back to the NVC Blog to follow the competition’s events as they happen. You can also follow the announcements on Twitter.





Look for Updates on International Business Times as the NVC Media Sponsor

8 04 2009

International Business Times is now a part of the New Venture Championship family as a 2009 media sponsor.

As part of the partnership, venture teams competing in the New Venture Championship will be able to provide their own commentary by posting on the IBT Web site in the blog section of the journal. The NVC has its own blog on the site that can be found via this link.

With this partnership, we increase global awareness about the NVC, and provide teams increased access to the social media world.  Extra coverage for teams increases venture and brand awareness building credibility with potential investors.

Social media such as blogging certainly has its appeal for start-ups and venture teams like the those competing in the NVC. Social media, like blogs, can be very low in cost and have a high return on investment. Perfect for new companies that may not have a lot of capital.

Join us in this exciting opportunity. Head to IBT for updates from competing teams as the NVC begins tomorrow.





Presenting Yourself and Your Venture

2 04 2009

With the New Venture Championship fast approaching, many teams will be fine tuning their presentations. An effective and well-structured presentation can help a business venture appeal to judges, sponsors, and fellow participants.

Below are a few ideas and tips to keep in mind when fine-tuning your own presentation:

Tape Yourself
Taping a practice presentation of your team in action is a very simple way to note flaws. This can be done either with a video camera or an audio recorder. Be aware to watch for sections of your presentation that seem not to run smoothly. Sometimes asking others to watch is also helpful, as you know what you want to say and a fresh mind can notice different flaws.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Business competitions will often let participants examine the room that they will be pitching in prior to the presentation. Be sure to know the size of the room, where you will be standing, and how this will affect your presentation. This prevents you from being surprised, as you will be comfortable with your surroundings.

Don’t Memorize Your Speech
If you’re a part of a team accepted into a business plan competition, you’re expected to have your pitch down pat.

But don’t fall into the trap of memorizing it. Know your facts, know your story, know the logical flow of information, know the words you want to use but don’t memorize it. Give yourself some room for stage fright, unpredictable events, changing on the fly. The worst 10 seconds in any presentation is silence as someone struggles to find the next word in the memory link. Instead, knowing the ideas that you want to get across and letting the words flow is much more natural. Presenting your plan is crucial for the success of your presentation – act like its core to all you know. Last tip, write down the questions you think you will hear – but also write down the answers. Also write down the question you pray you will never be asked, you’re almost guaranteed it will be asked first. Make sure to have a great answer for that most difficult question.

Relax
Last, but not least, make sure to relax! Have fun! You have been working on this venture for months. Now, it is time to shine. Make sure to smile, make direct eye contact, and impress the judges! An effective speech is necessary as judges, and potential investors, will only be able to see you for a short amount of time.

Keep in mind these tips to improve your pitch before the judges even give their suggestions!





Financing a Great Idea in Today’s Economy…

11 03 2009

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In honor of the Elevator Pitch competition last week, I have been digging to find some information on how to turn a great idea into a reality.

As we all know, the economy is not exactly ideal for beginning a new venture and finding a way to fund it, but there have to be other avenues of exploration. “Business Plans” coach at Entrepreneur.com, Tim Berry, had much to say about the topic on his blog “Be Realistic About Startup Financing.”

One great lesson to learn prior to seeking funding is that there is no such thing as free money. For an idea to flourish it must be able to withstand the test of monetary implementation, and that comes at the price of finding it.

Government loans are hard to come by, especially for the average Joe with an idea that may not have a high degree of social development. So, where do the average Joe’s go?

Tim Berry lays it on the line with several steps for those of us without the cash:

1. What can you afford?

–> Think lemonade stand if the money is tight!

2. Who can help?

–>Your best buddy could become your partner or co-founder!

3. Why not find investors?

–>They want to help; you just have to prove why your idea really is great!

Understanding your financial capabilities is the first step to fostering a great idea. Timing is key, especially when finances are concerned, so if it isn’t the right time for you to start a business or create a product, WAIT! A great idea poorly executed can become a bad idea very quickly.