Friday, May 01, 2009

UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition 2009

Entrepreneurship, the pursuit of opportunity beyond the resources you currently control, is now a subject with segmented interest across a wide variety of fields and topics, including new venture creation, venture capital, social ventures, business model innovation, open software, internet, corporate entrepreneurship, global business, and biotechnology.

The Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is the primary locus at Berkeley for the study and promotion of entrepreneurship and new enterprise development.

The UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition consists of several rounds of judging followed by a public presentation by the finalists. The winner receives $25,000; 2nd place $10,000; 3rd place $5,000; and a People's Choice Award of $5,000. It is the marquee entrepreneurship event at Berkeley; nurturing entrepreneurial action across the UC Berkeley community.

Today, it was the public presentation day for the 8 finalists.

Here is my take on the teams and the plans:

AutoTB is developing a medical device that improves the diagnostic process for tuberculosis. The device would decrease analysis time, increase sensitivity, and reduce the chance of human error present in current procedures, while remaining affordable for developing countries. They didn't talk much about their device which automates sputum microscopy. I liked the refugee camp clinical trials idea and the treatment monitoring part. (Won the 1st Prize)

GamesThatGive Inc. is a start-up venture dedicated to the development of socially responsible video games. The presentation was a joke under the pretext of confidentiality though would have loved to hear about the actual plan. Here is an interesting link about social gaming from Business Week.

Integrated Diagnostics has used integrated circuit technology (CMOS IC technology) to create a hand-held device to enable health care providers to expedite diagnosis and forgo traditional laboratory-based testing for early-stage, accurate HIV detection. Future growth: multiplexed assays and low cost assay kits. (Won the 3rd prize and the people's choice award) Personally, this was my choice.

LavaHealth provides business intelligence solutions that enhance the capabilities of the Electronic Health Information Systems that hospitals use to manage patient records, order laboratory tests, and exchange information. They are banking on hospitals that have adopted electronic health information systems. Plan to use cloud computing from Amazon.

Logicularity is a graphical design solution that allows a business user to visually explore structured and unstructured information and test-drive dashboards and reports in order to make better decisions. It was nice to hear their presentation which was in a interaction/play format. The plan is basically about information asset mgmt. and both Amit & Deepak have plenty of experience in the consulting and business domain.

Novophage provides engineered bacteriophages to treat contamination on food products and in food processing plants that is safer and more environmentally sustainable than harsh chemical treatments and antibiotics used in the food processing industry. Superb and very well qualified team with an advanced biological solution to treat antibiotic resistant bacterial infections in a clinical setting. (Won the 2nd prize)

Siverde is developing a technology that converts CO2 into biofuels without relying on photosynthesis, which requires either expensive infrastructure or arable lands. Again great team. Superior compared to algae based approaches as it does not require light and as a higher carbon capture.

Ulteamail is an online email collaboration tool in which project team members can view, add, and share information, such as status updates, comments, and to-do list items. Primarily, geared towards managers they plan to charge $500/month for usage. Loved the presentation however was skeptical in the utility for product.

Jerry Engel definitely kept the show running with his wisdom and humor. The winner's walked away with cash prizes totaling $45,000 and a lot of exposure. The overall atmosphere in the Anderson auditorium was friendly, lively and collaborative filled with investors, venture capitalists, entrants, organizers and budding entrepreneurs!!

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