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.





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.





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.