Intel Capital Final Rounds Continue with Integrated Diagnostics from Berkeley

11 04 2009

berkeleyteamfinals

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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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.





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!





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.