Voodoo Doughnut: A Successful Startup

16 02 2010

It’s probably not likely donuts come to mind when young startups ponder how they’re going to make it big. Donut shops are the quintessential mom-and-pop business started before most young professionals were born and tried-and-true in their dedication to a basic American snack.

Voodoo Doughnut customers line up around the block.

However, in Portland, Oregon things are not always as they seem. Two men from the Rose City, Kenneth Pogson and Tres Shannon, shared their passion for entrepreneurship and have since made quite an impression in Portland.

Young entrepreneurs should take a look and jot some notes from the history of Voodoo Doughnuts. The creators began by looking for an unsatisfied desire in Portland. After deciding on donuts, the pair looked to their more experienced peers for advice. Participants in the New Venture Championship get a similar experience with in-depth feed back from judges, and it has proved time and time again to be successful.

The two men also combined their individual skills of business acumen and people skills to deliver a well-rounded plan that addressed all issues of their business.

The company, like many successful ventures, continues to change and improve their business. The duo recently introduced vegan donuts and other untraditional goodies that keep their spot as a top social niche in Portland.

These steps can be applied universally to any business looking to succeed; whether it’s on the cutting edge of business or just a good idea realized.


Intel Capital Final Rounds Continue with Integrated Diagnostics from Berkeley

11 04 2009


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.

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.