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.





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.





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.





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.





Can your ideas survive 30 seconds?

5 03 2009

Members of Allen Hall Advertising take a moment to pose in front of the "elevator."

Members of Allen Hall Advertising take a moment to pose in front of the "elevator."

The second annual Elevator Pitch Competition is underway today at the Lillis Business Complex and will continue through March 4th at 4 pm. Allen Hall Advertising, the planners of the event, hope to spark student creativity in a rapid-fire 30 second pitch, while promoting awareness for the NVC on the University of Oregon campus and the similar pitch contestants experience during the competition.

My visit to the elevator pitch launch site was met with much enthusiasm and I could automatically tell I would be persuaded into the booth for an idea pitch. While ideas flooded my brain, I watched as students lined up for a chance to voice some of their craziest and innovative thoughts. Some bounced off the ideas of current products, like Jeremy Liebman’s pitch to re-vamp the “snuggie” into and electric blanket version called the “huggie.”

AHA Account Planner Kim Karalekas said the event placed an emphasis on the ability to sell your idea within the 30 second time constraint, a much shorter time frame than the high pressure one minute elevator pitch NVC contestants participate in.

The best and worst ideas will be awarded $100 gift certificates to the UO Bookkstore and a raffle of all participants will determine the winner of the green iPod Nano.

If you want to learn more, stop by the Lillis Business Complex atrium from 10 am to 4 pm today through March 4th, check out last year’s video, or check out the Facebook event.

Bring your best, your worst and your most outrageous ideas!

UO Student Jeremy Liebaman pitches his idea.

UO Student Jeremy Liebaman pitches his idea.

The set-up.

The set-up.