Intel Capital Final Rounds Continue with Integrated Diagnostics from Berkeley

11 04 2009

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After a brief lunch break for the judges, the Intel Capital Final Round Presentations have resumed at the New Venture Championship. The first team to present its venture after the break was Integrated Diagnostics, from the University of California, Berkeley.

Led by Octavian Florescu, the team introduced HemaScreen, an affordable and efficient way to diagnose HIV. Unlike other HIV detection tests, HemaScreen needs just 10 to 20 minutes to produce results.

Not too shabby considering many HIV tests require an additional appointment just to learn the results of a test. Because the team’s product produces results so quickly, the extra appointment isn’t needed, saving healthcare providers around $70.

Me, Jeremy Liebman, talking with the Berkeley team after their presentation.

Me, Jeremy Liebman, talking with the Octavian Florescu after his presentation.

Integrated Diagnostics hopes to market its product in a clinical trial within two years. If HemaScreen is unable to launch in the United States within two years, the team will look to develop business for its product throughout Europe, Australia, and Japan.

Florescu, along with team members Karl Skucha and Tayson Siegel, benefited from the questions and comments the NVC finalist judges had to offer.

“The judges pushed us from a business perspective.” Florescu said. “They asked us acute and precise questions outside of our areas of expertise.”

While the team has mainly engineering-minded members to construct HemaScreen, the team’s lack of business experience did not hinder their poise. I considered the strongest part of their pitch the Question and Answer portion.

HemaScreen will find out its fate tonight at the Columbia Sportswear Awards Reception. Check back then to find out which team is named the champion of the New Venture Championship.

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Castor & Pollux Highlight Intel Capital Final Round Presentations

11 04 2009

The Intel Capital Final Round Presentations have begun at the New Venture Championship. I just sat in on the Castor & Pollux Team’s final pitch to the five finalist judges.

The team, from Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration of Chulalongkorn University, presented their product, LeptoSpot, to the judges.

And I think they performed well.

LeptoSpot proposes an early diagnosis of leptospirosis, a potentially lethal disease that infects around 10 million people annually. The team says that LeptoSpot provides its users with results within 20 minutes, much faster than other leading brands that can take up to four hours to provide a diagnosis.

The venture’s target market would reach 165 million people throughout Southeast Asia. In these relatively poor countries, citizens would have access to LeptoSpot at an affordable price in either 10 or 25 test packages.

I thought that the portion of their presentation that was most interesting during the Castor & Pollux presentation, was the Question and Answer segment. The five finalists judges that include elite business experts Julie Dexter Berg, Kirby Dyess, Georges C. St. Laurent, Jr., Luis Muchuca and Greg Quesnel, asked tough questions regarding certification and proper testing opportunities for the product.

Me, Jeremy Liebman, talking with Castor & Pollux after the team's final pitch.

Me, Jeremy Liebman, talking with Castor & Pollux after the team's final pitch.

Despite a few rough patches, members of Castor & Pollux, Tanaphat, Patcharin Pratheeptham, Sorradithep Supachanya and Thanan Suthipongmitri, were enthusiastic about their experience at the New Venture Championship.

“The NVC has been a great experience,” team member Tanaphat Laohavisit said. “We have received phenomenal feedback from the judges about ways to improve our pitch.”

Laohavisit and the rest of his Castor & Pollux team will find out tonight if their venture will be deemed ready for the $50,000 investment as the NVC concludes this evening. Check back later to the NVC Blog and Twitter page to learn which team is named the winner.





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 Semifinals Continue With the ReLive Venture Team

10 04 2009
Andrew Charnik and Jeff Richman of the ReLive Team pitch their plans during the Semifinal Round of NVC

Andrew Charnik and Jeff Richman of the ReLive Team pitch their plans during the Semifinal Round of NVC

University of Michigan’s two-man ReLive team pitched their business plan for creating a digital music archive of live music performances. Beginning with the idea that the “live music aficionado” wants and needs live music at the moment they want it, ReLive says there exists a growing market for digital recordings of live music. ReLive looks to partner with small music venues and emerging artists to keep up with the dynamics of the changing music industry.

The ReLive partners, Andrew Charnik and Jeff Richman, believe that their plan is an “investment in the future of music.” ReLive provides emerging artists and small music venues a new way to capitalize on their performances, allowing them to combat the decrease in profit margins.

ReLive would record the live performance and add the songs to its online music archive making the songs available for purchase. Live music fans could pick and choose songs from the concert for $0.99 a download.

After an interesting pitch, the venture team had to handle some difficult questions in the Question & Answer portion of their semifinal round. The judges had questions about the real market potential, technical costs, and consumer response. Judge Tim Berry, president and founder of Palo Alto Software, had some questions about their financial numbers and percentages of people willing to purchase songs.

When asked about how they felt about their Q&A session, ReLive appreciated the judges perspectives on their plan, “The panel of judges was great, their questions were very insightful – which usually means difficult questions- but it helps us develop our plan.”

Read more about ReLive in an article from The Michigan Daily.





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.





Exploring the NVC Trade Show

9 04 2009

Erin and I just got back from the NVC Trade show where each team displayed their venture with confidence. The room was packed, we were standing elbow to elbow and teams were able to interact with judges while people milled about the room.

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Here I am checking out the Sidekix team's product and display.

One of the first booths that caught my eye was from the team from San Diego State University, SideKix. They have developed a women’s shoe and handbag accessory business that gives women an alternative to enduring painful high heels. The interactive set-up of the SideKix booth made it easy for me to gain a better understanding of their product and even get a closer look at the actual product.

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Jim Sever, CFO of the Interactive Fan team, tells me more about the team's business plan and how the product works.

Next, we visited the team from the University of Oregon, The Interactive Fan, where we spoke to Chief Financial Officer Jim Sever. The Interactive Fan is a fantasy sports and trivia game that fans play on web-enabled mobile phones at sporting events. Jim was very enthusiastic, and took the time to give us an in-depth explanation and a computerized demonstration.

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KT Tape team members from Brigham Young University discuss with an NVC judge.

One of the final booths we visited was the team from Brigham Young University, KT Tape. KT Tape TM brings a new product category to the consumer mass retail market (kinesiology tape) through pre-existing retailer relationships and a business-to-business distribution model.

We were really impressed to learn about the team’s exclusive endorsement with two-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh. We also appreciated the sample of the KT Tape in the brochures which gave us a better understanding of the product.

Overall, the Trade Show was a huge success and really embodied the spirit of competition and the passionate individuals who are here to compete.

The winner of the Trade Show Competition Round will be announced Saturday at Columbia Sportswear Awards Reception. Check back later to find out which team stood out above the rest and take home the $1,000 cash prize.