[to read about the winners of the LAUNCH Accelerator, 2012-2016, please click here.]
WINNERS of the 2011 UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition
Brandon Piper and Jonathan Stull, both MBA 12, were co-chairs.
Grand Prize and First Place Life Sciences: Intimal Solutions
Intimal Solutions is developing a catheter-based technology to treat the valvular pathophysiology of chronic deep venous insufficiency, a disease that causes painful ulcers. Currently, the standard of care is strictly palliative (compression therapy and wound care), which costs the US health care system roughly $12,000 per ulcer and $1.4B annually. Intimal Solutions’ therapeutic technology has the potential to be the standard of care for this patient population in desperate need of a better solution.
Team: Fletcher Wilson, Project Architect/Technical Lead; Huzefa Neemuchwala, Business Development (MBA 13); James Yu, MD, Clinical Lead
First Place IT & Web: Kopo Kopo
Mobile phones are more accessible in emerging markets than clean water or electricity. With mobile money services like M-Pesa in Kenya becoming more prominent by the day, it’s now possible to extend robust financial services to the poor via simple text messages. To do so, however, institutions that serve the poor need an affordable way to integrate with mobile money systems. Our mission is to make that integration as simple and accessible as possible.
Team: Dylan Higgins, Chairman & CEO; Ben Lyon, Co-Founder & Vice President of Business Development; Tom Bostelmann, Co-Founder & CTO; Zach Friedman, Business Development Associate – East Africa (MBA 12)
First Place Products and Services: Axis
Axis is a sports safety equipment corporation that has developed a proprietary spinal safety vest that protects the spine of participants in high risk sports. Our innovative vest addresses the shortfalls of the current market, namely comprehensive spinal safety, blunt force trauma prevention, and flexibility for the wearer. Axis vests are made with intelligent polymer gels, which move freely with the body as it moves, but upon impact instantaneously lock together to absorb shock.
Team: Amanda Vinson, JD, MBA (Haas MBA 12); Cindy Lin, MD; Manoj Duggirala; John Norris
People’s Choice Award and First Place Energy and Cleantech: Imprint Energy
Imprint Energy is a UC Berkeley spin-out that aims to enable new forms of high performance energy storage using conventional printing equipment. Imprint Energy’s battery is the first entirely printed rechargeable battery and offers the highest energy density at the lowest cost of any thin-format battery technology. Imprint Energy’s proprietary electrochemical inks and novel manufacturing approach enable batteries that are thin, flexible, lightweight, and require minimal packaging. With these batteries, Imprint Energy can revolutionize the flexible media (including flexible displays and circuits, smart cards, e-clothing and e-packaging) and flexible solar markets.
Team: Brooks Kincaid, Head of Business (MBA 11); Dr. Christine C. Ho, Head of Technology
Elevator Pitch Winner: Inserogen
Inserogen is a biotech company that aims to commercialize SwiftVax, a technology that enables the use of non-transgenic tobacco plants as protein biofactories. This proprietary technology platform is a disruptive innovation that can revolutionize biomanufacturing. Our capabilities of high-volume, cost-efficient, and accelerated manufacturing would enable the production of live saving vaccines in response to outbreaks, such as the H1N1 pandemic. The SwiftVax manufacturing platform can be customized for production of any high-value recombinant protein, and it would enable new markets in both developed and developing countries.
MBA Students Make Strong Showing in Bplan Contest
May 09, 2011
Four Berkeley MBA students were on winning teams at the 13th annual UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition on April 28 at the Haas School.
The winners were chosen from a record 200 teams that participated in the competition’s four tracks: IT and Web, Life Sciences, Products and Services, and Energy and Cleantech. The entries were narrowed down to eight semifinalists who gave presentations to a panel of venture capital judges from firms including Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, the Mayfield Fund, and Claremont Creek Ventures. The judges selected the winners from each track as well as the Grand Prize Winner.
Brandon Piper and Jonathan Stull, both MBA 12, were co-chairs of the student-organized competition, which is sponsored by the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and drew a standing-room-only crowd of more than 300 attendees. Since its inception in 1999, the competition has awarded more than $500,000 in prizes.
Here are details on this year’s winners:
Evening and weekend MBA student Huzefa Neemuchwala, MBA 13, is part of the Intimal Solutions team that won the $20,000 Grand Prize and the $5,000 first prize in the Life Sciences Track. The venture has developed a catheter-based technology to treat a disease called chronic deep venous insufficiency, which causes painful ulcers. Neemuchwala, who has a PhD in biomedical engineering, is in charge of the team’s business development.
The team’s project originated in an interdisciplinary entrepreneurial program called the Stanford Biodesign Fellowship, in which professionals with business, engineering, clinical, and scientific backgrounds are grouped together for a 10-month process to discover and solve un-met clinical needs. Before settling on a project, the team spent two months “living” in hospitals and wound care clinics and talking to patients, nurses, and doctors to ensure that the chosen project would address a true clinical need.
Intimal Solutions wins the $20,000 Bplan Competition grand prize. Pictured here are Bplan co-chair Jonathan Stull, MBA 12; Fletcher Wilson and Huzefa Neemuchwala, MBA 13, of Intimal Solutions; co-chair Brandon Piper, MBA 12, and Lester Center Executive Director Andre Marquis.
Zach Friedman, MBA 12, is a member of the Kopo Kopo team that took first place and $5,000 in the IT and Web Track. The team is focusing on mobile technology to enable financial services to serve the poor in Africa via simple text messages. To do so, however, institutions that serve the poor need an affordable way to integrate with mobile money systems. The team’s mission is to make that integration as simple and accessible as possible.
Brooks Kincaid, MBA 11, is part of the Imprint Energy team that won the $5,000 first prize in the Energy and Cleantech Track and won the $5,000 People’s Choice Award. A UC Berkeley spinoff, Imprint Energy has developed the first entirely printed rechargeable battery, which also offers the highest energy density at the lowest cost of any thin-format battery technology. Kincaid met partner Christine Ho, PhD 10 (Materials Sciences and Engineering) , in the Haas School’s Cleantech to Market course.
Evening and weekend student Amanda Vinson, MBA 12, is on the Axis team that won the $5,000 first prize in the Products and Services Track. Axis is a sports safety equipment company that has developed a proprietary spinal safety vest that protects the spine of participants in high-risk sports.
A team from UC Davis and UCSF that has formed a biotech company called Inserogen won the $1,000 Elevator Pitch Award, in which the audience chooses its favorite pitch from the 27 semi-finalists who did not advance to the final round. Inserogen aims to commercialize a technology that could enable accelerated manufacturing of life-saving vaccines in response to outbreaks such as the H1N1 pandemic.
WINNERS of the 2010 UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition
Richard Kenny and Parkin Kent, both MBA 11, were co-chairs.
Grand Prize and First Place Life Science: Orpheus Medical
Orpheus Medical has created the first medical device that can painlessly cure hemorrhoids in a single procedure that can be performed by gastroenterologists in their endoscopy suites. It is based on an already proven surgical technique, but is superior because it does not require general anesthesia and does not have the associated risks.
Team: Bart Bojanowski, Jake Brenner, M.D., Ph.D., Greg Magee, M.D., Erika Palmer, Ph.D.: PhD from UC Berkeley & UCSF.
First Place IT & Web: Bidwave
Bidwave provides a simple platform for effective advertising in social networks.
People’s Choice Award and First Place Products and Services: Brightsense
BrightSense uses a novel patent-pending drug delivery technology to design customized whitening strips with peroxide dosages optimized for each user’s teeth.
Elevator Pitch Winner: Emiscape
Emiscape uses remarkable display technology in which sharp and bright video images appear on one side of a glass surface while the other side remains transparent.www.emiscape.com
Orpheus Medical Takes Grand Prize in UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition
May 10, 2010
A team that created a new medical device to cure hemorrhoids won grand prize in the 12th Annual UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition Finals on April 29.
Orpheus Medical was awarded the $20,000 grand prize plus a $5,000 first-place prize in the life sciences track before a standing-room-only crowd of more than 300 attendees in Arthur Andersen Auditorium.
The competition, organized by the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, has become the premier entrepreneurship event for the wider Berkeley community. In addition to seed funding, winners enjoy the opportunity to present their ideas to venture capitalists from such firms as Khosla Ventures and the Mayfield Fund, who serve as judges.
Orpheus Medical has created the first medical device that can painlessly cure hemorrhoids in a single procedure that can be performed by gastroenterologists without general anesthesia in their endoscopy suites. For the second year in a row, the grand prize winner will head to Spain to participate in 22@Barcelona’s HIT Barcelona World Innovation Summit in June for a chance to win up to 20,000 Euros.
“We were quite simply blown away with the quality of entrants to this year’s UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition. The time, thought, and energy that went into each of the plans is truly an inspiration to entrepreneurs across our campus and the Bay Area community, showing us that the spirit of innovation is alive and well,” said Richard Kenny, MBA 11, one of the 2010 Competition Co-Chairs.
In addition to Orpheus Medical, two other teams won $5,000 first place prizes, each in their own track. The winners were Bidwave, IT and web track, which provides a simple platform for effective advertising in social networks; and BrightSense, products and services track, which designed customized teeth whitening strips to reduce post-treatment pain. BrightSense also won the $5,000 People’s Choice Award; from Haas the team includes Jed Hwang, MBA/MPH 11.
The winner of the new $1,000 Elevator Pitch Award was Emiscape, which developed technology to display video images on glass for digital advertising and consumer entertainment. From Haas the Emiscape team includes Cang Quach, MBA 11, and Prateek Gera, MBA 12.
WINNERS of the 2009 UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition
Angus Hildreth and Richard Mordini, both MBA 10, were co-chairs.
First Place: AutoTB
More than one-third of the world’s population is infected with tuberculosis. Improved diagnostics are crucial in combating this growing epidemic. AutoTB’s device automates sputum microscopy, thereby decreasing analysis time, increasing sensitivity and eliminating human error present in current procedures while integrating into existing infrastructures and remaining affordable for developing countries. The medical and economic benefits of this device will provide a competitive advantage over existing technologies and make it marketable to NGOs and governmental health departments.
Team: Ms. Kelly Karns, Dr. Christopher Rumball, Adnan Iqbal, Milena Lazarevska, Mathieu Michalet
Second Place: Novophage
Novophage provides an advanced biological solution to treat antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections in a clinical setting. Current antibiotic strategies suffer from declining effectiveness against multidrug-resistant bacteria. The engineered bacteriophage that Novophage plans to commercialize will provide a highly effective biological alternative to the current standard of clinical care. The benefits from using this genetically engineered bacteriophage include suppression of the evolution of antibiotic resistance, high efficacy in combating bacterial biofilms, and a broad activity spectrum of activity against different bacterial species.
Team: Tanguy Chau, Ann DeWitt, Michael Koeris, Timothy Lu
People’s Choice Award: Silicon Biodevices, Inc.
Silicon BioDevices is developing the next generation of high precision diagnostic devices which seamlessly blend into physicians’ existing work-flow. The company is now known as Xip. http://xip.life/
Team: Octavian Florescu, Karl Skucha, Tayson Siegel
TB Detection Company Wins Berkeley B-Plan Contest
May 08, 2009
A company that has developed a device to make tuberculosis detection more accurate and affordable took first place from among a tight field of eight finalists at the 11th annual UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition on April 30.
AutoTB was awarded $25,000 before a standing-room-only crowd of more than 300 in Arthur Andersen Auditorium. The competition, organized by the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, has become the premier entrepreneurship event for the wider Berkeley community and attracted more than 100 entries this year, setting a new record for participation.
Winners receive not only seed financing for their ventures, but also the chance to present their ideas to the high-caliber venture capitalists who serve as judges.
The $10,000 second-place prize went to Novophage, which plans to commercialize a biological solution to treat antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections in a clinical setting. Third place and the People’s Choice Award — voted on by the audience — went to Integrated Diagnostics. The company is developing a device that will bring early-stage HIV detection from the laboratory to the palm of the hand. The combined awards earned the team $10,000.
Judges noted that this year’s entries included a wider range of companies in medical technology, energy, and information technology than in past years.
The winning team will travel to Spain next month to compete in an entrepreneurship competition that is part of the HIT Barcelona World Innovation Summit (http://www.hitbarcelona.com/). The grand prize is 50,000 euros. All participants also are offered support to open European offices in Barcelona, with one year of free rent. The trip is the result of a relationship between the Lester Center and Josep Miquel Pique, CEO of the 22@Barcelona urban transformation project.
WINNERS of the 2008 UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition
Nick Bower and Adrian Greystoke, both MBA 2009, were co-chairs.
Click here to see the finals program booklet
First Place (tie): Implicit Interfaces & Titan Medical
Industry: Web & Healthcare
Implicit Interfaces uses new technology to make shopping for clothes over the internet easier and simulates shopping in a store more closely than current online shopping, with the goal of increasing online apparel sales. The team is composed of three UC Berkeley computer science Ph.D. students.
Titan Medical uses nanotechnology to create a precise, low-cost drug treatment, allowing drugs to enter the bloodstream at a steady rate. The Titan Medical team is made up of three UCSF/UC Berkeley bioengineering students and Berkeley MBA student Stephen Dugan, MBA ’08.
Third Place: Omniox
The third place prize went to Omniox, a biotechnology company that seeks to commercialize a breakthrough therapy to treat oxygen deprivation diseases. The team comprises both scientists and MBA graduates, including two from Berkeley: Mary Jane Bedegi, MBA 78, and Kevin Kopczynski, MBA 08.
People’s Choice Award: Glycometrix
Glycometrix offered a new glycan-based blood serum testing for early-stage cancer detection that would dramatically increase positive detection of cancer. The Glycometrix team counts five science and business professionals from the biotech industry, including two Berkeley alumni.
Technology, biotech ventures tie for first in Business Plan Competition
BERKELEY – New search technology provider Implicit Interfaces and biotech venture Titan Medical tied for first place at the 10th annual UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition at the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.
The competition is organized by Berkeley MBA students and is open to students, staff and alumni of UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco (UCSF). Winners of the 2008 competition were announced on May 1.
Implicit Interfaces’ search technology leverages computer vision and machine learning techniques to make virtual clothes shopping more consumer-friendly and to increase online apparel sales. The team includes three UC Berkeley Ph.D. students in computer science.
Titan Medical uses nanotechnology to create a high-precision, low-cost system to deliver therapeutic treatments for chronic diseases. The system, called NanoFlow, allows drugs to enter the blood stream at a steady rate in very low doses, cutting down on side effects. The management team includes three students in a joint UCSF/UC Berkeley program for quantitative biosciences and UC Berkeley 2008 MBA candidate Stephen Dugan.
The two winning teams share the $25,000 first prize and $10,000 second prize, with each team receiving half of the $35,000 total.
The third place, $5,000 prize went to Omniox, a biotechnology company that seeks to commercialize a breakthrough therapy discovered at UC Berkeley’s Department of Chemistry to treat oxygen deprivation diseases, including cancers. The team comprises both scientists and MBA graduates, including two from UC Berkeley: Mary Jane Bedegi and Kevin Kopczynski.
The audience at the competition’s final event voted to give the Glycometrix team the People’s Choice Award of $5,000. Glycometrix offers new glycan-based blood serum testing for early-stage cancer detection, and the company has already conducted a positive 200-person clinical trial. The team is comprised of five science and business professionals from the biotech industry, including two UC Berkeley alumni.
The business plan competition was founded by UC Berkeley MBA students in 1998 to help transform university innovations into commercial enterprises. A record 101 teams entered this year’s competition. The eight finalist teams vied for $45,000 in cash prizes. They also received mentoring and feedback from the venture capital judges.
In addition to the competition prizes, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati offered a scholarship to each finalist team to send one representative to its exclusive, invitation-only Entrepreneurs College spring session held at the law firm’s offices in Palo Alto, Calif.
The competition is hosted by UC Berkeley’s Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Haas School of Business, the College of Engineering, and the School of Information, as well as by UC San Francisco.
Silver sponsors of this year’s competition were Foundation Capital, Blue Run Ventures, Intel Capital and Mintz Levin. Bronze sponsors were Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Claremont Creek Ventures, Morgenthaler Ventures, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, O’Reilly Alphatech Ventures, Vator.tv, Arizona Bay Ventures, Seed Ventures, Palo Alto Software, Advanced Technology Ventures, Versant Ventures, Rockport Capital Partners and Heller Ehrman. Friends of the competition included gOffice and SAP Ventures.
WINNERS of the 2007 UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition
Rebecca Lynn and Kavita Sahai, both MBA 2008, were co-chairs.
Click here to see the finals program booklet
First Place (tie): TubeMogul & Parada Imaging
Industry: Web & Healthcare
TubeMogul is a video advertising and analytics platform that connects advertisers with highly targeted audiences. www.tubemogul.com
Parada Imaging has developed a breakthrough MRI technology, called Pre-polarized MRI (PMRI), which offers the same image quality as the current systems for a fraction of the cost.
People’s Choice Award: TubeMogul
Cheap MRI, TV techs win Haas business-plan contest
A blueprint for cheap, ubiquitous MRI machines tied an online video ratings service in UC-Berkeley’s 2007 student business plan competition. Both won $17,500. A novel ad-targeting system placed third, winning $5,000.
The annual competition, started in 1999, included more than 75 plans that were narrowed down to eight for the finals, April 26.
“We all have a high regard for intellect and academic accomplishment,” said Jerry Engel, executive director of UC-Berkeley’s Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Walter A. Haas School of Business.
“I want (students) to see that business accomplishment is a high calling, that it calls for the utilization of very sophisticated skills deployed with a lot of energy – that it’s a worthy use of their human potential,” he added.
Students, alumni and local entrepreneurs collaborate in workshops and at networking events, all leading up to a contest judged by 28 venture capitalists. Judges rank each team’s plan by the viability of its business model and their plan’s potential for financial success.
“They brought in real VCs and the process was very similar to the real process you go through pitching potential investors,” said Ryan Jones, a 2007 MBA candidate who co-founded third-place winner Clicker TV.
Jones and his team presented a service for the cable and satellite television industry that can match 30-second ads with specific households by using demographic data and digital video recorders.
“The Lester Center did a great job providing support – we got connected with a great mentor who asked us the tough questions so we were ready by the time we had to step up to the plate,” he said.
Another video-focused winner, TubeMogul, won over judges and the audience – for a people’s choice award – with its service for tracking online video viewing statistics. Videos on YouTube, Revver, Metacafe, MySpace and Yahoo can be tracked centrally via its site.
TubeMogul co-founder Brett Wilson said he found the contest challenging because, unlike hard science companies with easily defensible intellectual property, technology companies need to really show traction and an early market advantage. He is already seeing success. Media companies, ad agencies and television networks have expressed strong interest in the service.
Parada Imaging’s team tied TubeMogul by presenting a small-scale, relatively low-cost MRI machine that it projects will make MRI technology as ubiquitous as X-ray machines. MBA candidate Dan Brounstein and his team worked with associate professor Steve Conolly, who pioneered the technology with colleagues at Stanford University before moving to UC-Berkeley in 2004.
Brounstein said preparing the presentation made him realize the importance of meeting with potential customers to understand what it would take for them to commit to a new product.
“It was an educational exercise for us,” he said.
All three teams connected with potential investors at the event. TubeMogul and Clicker TV will continue to develop their businesses in Berkeley. Brounstein and his team laid the groundwork for an eventual MRI venture. But the night his team won, his bachelor party took more immediate precedence: “We all went to Vegas, running out the door with a big check.”
WINNERS of the 2006 UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition
Cody Crnkovich and Azhar Hashem, both MBA 07, were co-chairs.
Click here to see the finals program booklet
Berkeley, May 5 – An alternative energy company called Aurora BioFuels has won the $25,000 first prize at the eighth annual UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition at the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.
Aurora BioFuels presented a plan showing how to create bio-diesel fuel with yields 125 times higher than existing bio-diesel conversion technologies, and at half the cost.
The company also won the People’s Choice Award of $5,000 for garnering the most votes from the audience at the final awards ceremony on April 27.
The UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition is organized by Berkeley MBA students at the Haas School of Business. It is hosted by the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation in partnership with UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering and School of Information, as well as with the UC San Francisco Innovation Accelerator, a lab-to-market program for ventures coming out of UCSF. Berkeley MBA students founded the competition in 1998 to help transform university innovations into viable commercial enterprises.
To participate in the competition, each venture’s management team must have at least one student, alumnus or a faculty member from UC Berkeley or from UCSF’s life sciences campus.
The winning team is comprised of full-time UC Berkeley MBA students Matt Caspari and Guido Radaelli; Bert Vick, a UC Berkeley Ph.D. student in molecular and cell biology; and Tasios Melis, a UC Berkeley professor of plant and microbial biology. The students met in a course offered through UC Berkeley’s interdisciplinary Management of Technology program.
The $10,000 second prize was awarded to Kirsen Radio Vision, a company whose new approach to security technology produces instant 3-D “see-through” identification of objects that also differentiates among materials.
CellASIC, a team developing a platform capable of mimicking the body’s cellular environment for improved drug screening, tissue engineering and stem cell research, won the $5,000 third prize. Team members include Michael Kingston, a UC Berkeley MBA student; and Philip Lee and Paul Hung, both graduates of UC Berkeley’s Ph.D. programs in bioengineering and electrical engineering and computer science.
The volunteer judges involved in the three rounds of competition included numerous venture capitalists, and Tom Kalil of the UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Office.
Intel Capital was the lead sponsor.
WINNERS of the 2005 UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition
Nathan Dintenfass and Brian Rosenblat (MBA 2006) were co-chairs.
From the Haas press release:
Berkeley , May 2 – Harmonic Devices, a team that developed a business plan based on technology from recent research breakthroughs developed at the University of California, Berkeley, won the $25,000 grand prize at the seventh annual UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition at the Haas School of Business.
The competition is organized annually by Berkeley MBA students and hosted by the Haas School’s Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in collaboration with UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering and School of Information Management and Systems, as well as UC San Francisco.
Harmonic Devices uses a micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) to improve wireless communication devices. The MEMS technology is based on research breakthroughs achieved at the Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center (BSAC) at the UC Berkeley. It promises to improve component miniaturization, integration, and performance for wireless communication devices, enabling longer battery life, lower heat dissipation, and lower costs. Its initial target market will be mobile phones and other portable wireless handsets. The Harmonic Devices team members are: John Hwang, MBA 05, Kenneth Miller, MBA 05, Philip Stephanou, Ph.D. 06 (mechanical engineering), and Justin Black and Gianluca Piazza, both Ph.D. 05 in electrical engineering and computer science.
“Harmonic Devices exemplifies what is so great about so many of the plans this year: MBA students teaming up with engineers and scientists to bring forward valuable and viable new business ideas,” says Jerome Engel, executive director of the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. “I predict that many of this year’s finalists will secure the venture funding they need. Indeed, many of those conversations have started.” Harmonic Devices had previously won the UC Berkeley Nanotech Challenge and the Elevator Pitch Challenge at the University of San Francisco’s annual International Business Plan Competition in early 2005.
Second place went to World of Good, which was also voted the People’s Choice Award winner. The team took home a total of $15,000 in prize money. World of Good also won the 2005 Global Social Venture Competition, held at the Haas School in April. World of Good distributes a line of globally sourced, fair trade gifts and accessories to the retail market and aims to generate sustainable livelihoods for thousands of artisans around the world. These products are sourced through a series of global partnerships and are marketed under one umbrella brand, World of Good, which embodies the values of ethical sourcing. The World of Good team members are: Priya Haji, MBA 03, Siddharth Sanghvi, MBA 03, David Guendelman, MBA 06, and Jonathan Klein, MBA 06.
The Helios team, which took both third place and the Technology Award, created a business plan based on a breakthrough solar cell technology developed and patented by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in collaboration with the University of California. The Technology Award recognizes the best new technology presented in the competition. The team took home $12,500 to help launch its business. The team members are Charles Haythornethwaite, MBA 06, Jeff Renaud, MBA 05, Krzysztof Kujawa, MBA 06, Zach Gentry, MBA 05, Sonny Li, Ph.D. 06 (materials science and education), and Dr. Anders Geertsen, MBA 06.
UC Berkeley MBA students founded the competition in 1998 to create a platform that would help transform university innovations into viable commercial enterprises. Each venture must have at least one student, alumnus/a, or faculty member from UC Berkeley or UC San Francisco’s Life Sciences campus on its management team. This year’s competition enjoyed the support of more than 80 judges from leading venture-capital firms and donations from 22 sponsors.
Lead sponsor of the competition is Intel Capital. Silver Sponsors include Sevin Rosen Funds, QUALCOMM Incorporated, Blue Run Ventures (formerly Nokia Ventures) and ComVentures. Bronze Sponsors are Foundation Capital, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, Reed Smith, Versant Ventures, Palo Alto Software, Morgenthaler Ventures, Advanced Technology Ventures, Pillsbury Winthrop LLP, and Newforth Partners. Friends of the Business Plan Competition include Morgan Stanley, Draper Foundation, G-Office & Kevin Warnock, American River Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank, Max Shapiro-People Connect and Goldman Sachs.
WINNERS of the 2004 UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition
Sabino Go and John Hwang, both MBA 2005, were co-chairs.
Proton Power’s solid acid fuel cell technology that will save truckers from having to idle their diesel engines to power heat, air, and electricity in their cabins won the 2004 UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition’s grand prize of $25,000. The team included Berkeley MBA students Cornelijus Chelutka, Marek Fibrich, Andrei Marinescu, and Jeff Renaud as well as CalTech researcher Dane Boysen.
Solid fuel cell technology takes first at UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition
BERKELEY – An economically viable fuel cell technology that will save long-haul freight truckers thousands of dollars in diesel fuel every year has won the $25,000 grand prize at the sixth annual University of California, Berkeley, Business Plan Competition at the Haas School of Business.
The competition is organized by a team of Berkeley MBA students and hosted by the Haas School’s Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in collaboration with UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering, the School of Information Management and Systems and UC San Francisco.
UC Berkeley MBA students founded it in 1998 to create a platform to help transform university innovations into viable commercial enterprises. Each venture must have at least one student, alumnus/a, or faculty member from UC Berkeley or UC San Francisco’s Life Sciences campus on its management team.
This year’s first place winner, Proton Power, has developed a solid acid fuel cell technology that will initially serve as auxiliary power units for long-haul freight trucks. These units will save truckers from having to idle their diesel engines to power heat, air and electricity in their truck cabins and will save the average trucker an estimated $2,600 annually in fuel costs. California truckers last week staged several protests of high diesel fuel prices.
The auxiliary units are rechargeable at methanol refueling stations about every 40 days and also significantly reduce noise and pollution.
This technology was developed over the past seven years by two researchers from the California Institute of Technology and then transformed into a commercially viable business idea with the help of four UC Berkeley MBA students.
Analog Micro Displays (AMD) won the second prize of $10,000. The venture uses a Micro-Electro-Mechanical System, or MEMS-based projection system, to offer UXGA or HDTV resolution color imaging that consumes little power, is small and light, and costs a fraction of conventional projectors.
AMD’s first product can project a 4-foot-by-4-foot image and is aimed at the mini projector market. Its team consists of a UC Berkeley MBA student, a Ph.D. student in electrical engineering, and a Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory scientist.
DFM won both the third prize and the People’s Choice Award, which is decided by the audience at the awards ceremony. Each prize is worth $5,000. DFM’s patent-pending “Pattern Matcher” software seeks out flaws and optimizes the design of semiconductor chips before they are manufactured.
According to the team, comprised of three UC Berkeley Ph.D. students in engineering and one MBA student, the software will not only create huge cost savings, but also will significantly reduce the time required to get chips to market. One current DFM customer estimates it will shave three months off every design cycle.
The first-ever Best of UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco Technology Prize of $7,500 was awarded to Silicon Clocks for developing a MEMS-based timing component for cell phones and microprocessors so tiny that it can fit anywhere on a chip. By reducing its cost and size and improving performance compared to conventional quartz-based timing components, this technology increases battery life and allows for added functions.
This year’s competition enjoyed the support of more than 40 judges from leading venture-capital firms and donations from 14 sponsors.
The sponsors include:
- Gold Sponsor: Sevin Rosen Funds (which is also sponsoring the Technology Prize)
- Silver Sponsors: Allegis Capital and Intel Capital
- Bronze Sponsors: Foundation Capital, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, New Path Ventures, Pillsbury Winthrop, Qualcomm, Reed Smith, Ritchey Fisher Whitman & Klein, Sirenza Microdevices, Versant Ventures
- In Kind Sponsor: PaloAlto Software
- Other Contributors: Kevin Warnock of Silveroffice and Silicon Valley Bank
WINNERS of the 2003 UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition
Ilya Entin and Dan Mucha, both MBA 04, were co-chairs.
Click here to see the finals program agenda
From the Haas press release:
Berkeley, April 24, 2003 – A novel approach to weight loss programs may soon allow physicians to curb not only their patients’ intake of food, but in many cases their desire for food.
The new technology, being developed by Gastric Retention Technologies (GRT), won the $50,000 grand prize of the fifth annual UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition at the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business on Wednesday, April 23. GRT is developing a non-invasive approach to losing weight without the need for drugs or surgery. Patients will swallow a pill containing a polymer that will expand once it reaches the stomach, thereby reducing the feeling of hunger. The polymer itself will dissolve in a matter of days. Since it will not actually be absorbed by the bloodstream, the pill will be classified as a medical device. The GRT principals are Dan Burnett, an MD and an MBA graduate from Duke University, and Nate Beyor, a Ph.D. student in Bioengineering at UC Berkeley. “GRT holds the promise of a truly safe and effective alternative to surgery for the millions of people suffering from obesity,” said Rebecca Robertson, managing director at Versant Ventures and a competition judge.
The UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition is one of the leading competitions in the country and fosters the creation of viable businesses. In four years, participating teams have raised more than $120 million in venture funding. First-year winner Timbre Technologies was sold in February 2001 to Tokyo Semiconductor for $138 million.
The second prize of $10,000 went to VSee Lab. VSee Lab has developed proprietary software that drives the first viable desktop video-conference system, allowing up to 20 students and teachers to see and hear each other simultaneously. Berkeley MBA students David Geisler and Robert Lee helped founder and CEO Milton Chen, an undergraduate Berkeley alumnus, with the business plan for his software.
Medifuel took both the third place prize of $5,000 and the People’s Choice award of $5,000, the latter of which was voted on by the audience at Wednesday’s final event. Medifuel is developing the first miniature Biological Fuel Cell (BFC) that promises to solve the power problem of the next generation of implantable medical devices. The company’s GlucoCell battery harnesses the body’s natural energy resource – glucose — to power implants, thereby eliminating the need for traditional batteries, which need to be replaced by way of surgery. Berkeley MBA students Ken Bui and David Tseng joined inventor Kien Lam in creating a company around Lam’s GlucoCellTM.
The business plan competition is led by Berkeley MBA students. Each team must have at least one member who is a UC Berkeley or a UC San Francisco student or graduate to participate.
The teams are judged in three rounds by a leading group of venture capitalists who volunteered their time to the competition. Final round judges included Bob Ackerman of Allegis Capital, David Britts from ComVentures, Todd Brooks of Mayfield, Steve Domenik of Sevin Rosen Funds, Sameer Gandhi of Sequoia Capital, Rebecca Robertson of Versant Ventures, Nancy Olson of Fog City Fund, and Russ Siegelman of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
To emphasize the educational value of the competition, all finalists receive written feedback from the judges on their business plans and presentations. Throughout the competition, teams can participate in workshops on a variety of entrepreneurial topics.
The competition is hosted by the Haas School’s Lester Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation in collaboration with UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering and School of Information Management & Systems as well as UC San Francisco’s health sciences campus.
This year’s top-tier sponsors were Allegis Capital, ComVentures, and Sevin Rosen Funds. Additional corporate sponsors include ChevronTexaco, Fenwick & West, FTVentures, Newbury Ventures, Techstock Ventures, Versant Ventures, and Woodside Fund, along with an individual donation from Kevin Warnock.
WINNERS of the 2002 UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition
Ann Marie Lynch and Marie-Claire Meisels, both MBA 03, were co-chairs.
Click here to see the finals program booklet
From the Haas press release:
Berkeley, April 25, 2002 – The technology to correct vision problems and cure eye diseases garnered the $50,000 prize grand prize of the fourth annual UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition, where Adaptic Systems was announced as the winner at the awards ceremony at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business on Wednesday (April 24).
Adaptic’s technology promises significant improvements in optical applications, including pharmaceuticals that prevent blindness, LASIK surgery, custom contact lenses, and early detection of eye diseases. The company has developed low-cost deformable micro mirrors for adaptive optics that allow eye doctors at least three times the image resolution of current technologies.
The UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition is led by MBA students at the Haas School of Business and co-sponsored by the College of Engineering. Each team must have at least one member who is a UC Berkeley student or graduate. For the first time this year, the competition also invited students and alumni of UC San Francisco’s health sciences campus to participate to encourage more teams from that sector.
The competition is one of the leading competitions in the country and fosters the creation of viable businesses. In four years, participating teams have raised more than $120 million in venture funding. First-year winner, Timbre Technologies was sold in February 2001 to Tokyo Semiconductor for $138 million.
“The profound improvements I have seen in the teams and in their business plans over time are absolutely striking,” said Brian Atwood of Versant Ventures, who has judged the competition for his third year in a row. “I was really impressed with the quality of this year’s teams.”
E-Mask, an all-student team from the business and engineering schools, took home two prizes — the $10,000 cash prize and the $5,000 People’s Choice Award, based on a vote by the audience selected at the final event.
E-Mask provides digital, programmable lithography for integrated circuit manufacturing that eliminates the need for costly masks. The technology also makes it feasible to manufacture customized chips.
The grand-prize winner, Adaptic, is also a finalist for the MBA Jungle magazine’s second annual business plan competition, which will be decided on Friday (April 26) in New York.
“UC Berkeley’s competition enabled us to take what was a raw idea six months ago and through its workshops and mentor programs develop it into a very viable business opportunity,” said Matthew Campbell, second-year MBA and co-founder of Adaptic.
The Adaptic team is comprised of Michael Helmbrecht, a researcher at the College of Engineering’s Berkeley Sensor & Actuator Center; Matthew Campbell, a second-year MBA student at the Haas School of Business, and Dr. Nathan Doble, a postdoctoral researcher from the University of Rochester, N.Y.
The judges who determined this year’s winner are Bob Ackerman of Allegis Capital, Michael Rolnick of ComVentures, Steve Domenik of Sevin Rosen Funds, Brian Atwood of Versant Ventures, Todd Brooks of Mayfield, Michael Aleles of Intel Capital, Sameer Gandi of Sequoia Capital, and Neil Weintraut of 21VC partners.
The 2002 competition received support from the following sponsors:
– Lead sponsors: Allegis Capital, ComVentures, and Sevin Rosen Funds.
– Secondary sponsors: Versant Ventures; Onset Ventures; Sequoia Capital; Intel Capital;
Newbury Ventures; Crosby, Heafey, Roach & May; Quimbik; Fenwick and West; and
The Price Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies.
WINNERS of the 2001 UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition
“BK” Kumar Balakrishnan and Marthe Souza, both MBA 02, were co-chairs.
From the Haas press release:
Berkeley, April 26, 2001 – RAPT Technologies, which has developed a dramatically faster and more cost-effective technology for etching and polishing optical and semiconductor materials, won the third annual UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition, organized by the MBA students at the Haas School of Business. The three winning teams were announced on April 25 on the UC Berkeley campus and share over $90,000 in cash and prizes.
“The quality of the plans was extremely high,” said Michael Powell, managing director of Sofinnova Ventures and a final round judge. “The teams all had their acts together. I would have taken any one of these teams to my partners.”
RAPT’s technology is 10 to 10,000 times faster than existing technologies and operates at atmospheric pressure. The team comprises Haas Evening MBA student Peter Fiske; Jeff Carr of the Manufacturing and Materials Division at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory; and Mona Alves, founder, president and CEO of CHAT Communication Services.
In addition to the $50,000 first prize, RAPT received the $5,000 People’s Choice Award, based on votes from the audience at the awards ceremony (independently from the judges).
The second prize of $25,000 went to biotech venture Aprotea Biochips™, which aims to enhance drug discovery with its rapid and easy-to-use protein measurement system. Aprotea developed a patent-pending biochip for parallel analysis of 100 to 10,000 protein samples, and is designed to be bio-compatible with virtually all proteins and capture agent libraries.
Aprotea also won a second prize for best management team in the Haas Social Venture Competition on April 14. The team consists of Haas Evening MBA student Thomas McVey; law student Antonia Sequeira; Ph.D. candidates at UCSF Robert Otillar, Kent Duncan, and Daniel Ratner; and Eva Raschke, scientist at Sangamo BioSciences, Inc.
TruVideo, a wireless video infrastructure company, received the third prize of $10,000. TruVideo offers superior digital image quality over broadband compared to existing technologies. The company intends to take advantage of the convergence of wireless technology and the Internet to become the standard video platform for the emerging web-enabled wireless device market.
The TruVideo team consists of three Haas MBA students, Joseph DelCallar, Steven Stokols, and Raj Manghani as well as engineering undergraduate student Greg Chew and Avideh Zakhor, professor of Electrical Engineering.
Keynote speaker at the ceremony was Nick Sturiale, Haas MBA 2000, who was the founding CEO of Timbre Technologies. Timbre Technologies was the semiconductor software company that won the 1999 competition and was recently sold to a Japanese company Tokyo Electron for $138 million.
By bringing ventures led by UC Berkeley students and alumni in touch with Silicon Valley’s community of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and technology companies, the competition serves as a springboard for the university’s most innovative ideas and technologies. To date, the finalists of the competition have secured more than $95 million in funding.
Over 65 venture capitalists, angel investors, and successful entrepreneurs served as judges and evaluated the submissions. Another 26 entrepreneurs, professors, and other professionals served as mentors to the teams that qualified for the first round and helped the teams develop their plans.
Judges for the final round are: Steve Domenik, partner of Sevin Rosen Funds; Mark Gorenberg, partner of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners; Susan Mason, venture investor of Onset Ventures, Michael Powell, managing director of Sofinnova Ventures; Michael Rolnick, partner of ComVentures; Chris Rust, partner of Sequoia Capital, and J. Neil Weintraut, general partner of 21st Centure Internet Venture Partners.
Demonstrating broad-based commitment to the competition, venture capital and high-tech sponsors supporting the competition include:
– Corporate Sponsors: CommerceNet, IBM, and Synapta.
– Venture Capital Sponsors: ComVentures, Motorola’s corporate ventures group, Redleaf,
and Sevin Rosen Funds.
– General Sponsors: AllBusiness.com, CampSix, Qualcomm, RedHerring, PaloAlto
Software, SkyFlow, and HotPaper.
WINNERS of the 2000 UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition
Robin Jones and Ajay Sreekanth, both MBA 01, were co-chairs.
Click here to see the finals program booklet
From the Haas press release:
Berkeley, Calif., May 1, 2000 – The University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business today announced the winners of the UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition, who were awarded more than $70,000 in cash and prizes. The competition culminated on Saturday, April 29, 2000, at the Haas School of Business where the eight finalist teams publicly presented their plans. Venture capital (VC) judges awarded first, second, and third place winners. Additionally, the audience chose a People’s Choice award winner.
The Competition winners are:
- Winning first place and $50,000, SkyFlow develops infrastructure software for wireless applications.
- Winning second place and $10,000, MechanEx, is a web-based business-to-business (B2B) e-hub providing information and tools that enable companies to develop better products in less time at the lowest cost.
- Winning third place and $5,000, Infoprotection.com, is a B2B e-commerce business that provides an automated solution to help companies maintain trust when sharing their confidential information.
- Winning the People’s Choice Award and $5,000, Imagize creates a family of Visual Signal Processing products that will dramatically increase the deployment of video applications for mobile and other imaging environments.
Completing its second year as a self-funded, student-run program, the competition embodies the Haas School’s commitment to entrepreneurship and involvement in the Bay Area business community. By bringing ventures led by UC Berkeley students and alumni in touch with Silicon Valley’s community of business leaders, venture capitalists (VCs), and technology companies, the competition serves as a springboard for the university’s most innovative ideas and technologies.
“The competition provides a launching pad for our company,” said Nibha Aggarwal, CEO of SkyFlow, the competition’s winner, and Haas MBA graduate of 1997. “Through the competition we have had access to leading VCs and Silicon Valley business leaders. It’s opened up a whole new world of people, institutions, and advisors that have been essential to the development of our company.”
“With fundability as the primary judging criterion, the high caliber of all eight finalists’ plans made our job as judges a difficult one,” said Steve Domenik, partner at Sevin Rosen Funds, a leading Silicon Valley investment firm and one of the competition’s judges and top sponsors. “As the lead underwriter for the competition, Sevin Rosen sees UC Berkeley as a valuable partner in cultivating high-tech entrepreneurship and sourcing high-quality, viable ventures.”
The judging committee for the competition’s final round included representatives from ComVentures, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, Intel Ventures, ONSET Ventures, Versant Ventures, Sevin Rosen Funds, SoftBank Venture Partners, and 21st Century Internet Ventures.
About the Second Annual UCB Business Plan Competition
In its second year, the competition attracted 182 teams. More than 60 leading VCs and successful entrepreneurs served as the competition’s judges. These judges narrowed the field from 182 to 65 competing teams in the executive summary round, then to eight finalists, and most recently to the three winning teams. Access to top venture capitalists and business leaders through the competition paves the way toward additional financing beyond prize money. To date, seven of last year’s teams have secured more than $35 million in funding.
Demonstrating broad-based commitment for the competition, venture capital and high-tech sponsors supporting the competition include: Allbusiness.com, campsix, Continental Capital, elance.com, Hotpaper.com, Intel Corporation, Palo Alto Software, Prescient Capital, Red Herring Communications, and Siemens Technology-to-Business Center. As Diamond sponsors, Applied Communications Group, ComVentures, H&Q Asia Pacific, Sevin Rosen Funds, and Synapta provide financial support and in-kind services for the competition.
1999 UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition
Melissa Daniels (MBA 00) and Keval Desai (MBA 99) were Bplan founders and first co-chairs.
Nick Sturiale (MBA 00) was a co-founder of first-place winner, Timbre Technology.
- First Place: Timbre Technology
- Second Place: AllOptic
- Third Place: MuNetix
- People’s Choice: MuNetix
From the Haas press release:
Inaugural UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition Won by Software that Saves Billions of Dollars
May 13, 1999
Berkeley – An innovative software program that will save semiconductor manufacturers billions of dollars is the winner of a business plan competition held this past weekend at the University of California, Berkeley’ business school.
The technology, created by a team of UC Berkeley business and engineering students, will dramatically cut the cost and time required to develop semiconductors. The process marks a dramatic shift in semiconductor production from expensive hardware manufacturing to low-cost software automation.
Timbre Technologies beat out seven other teams that included Berkeley business, engineering, and life sciences students and alumni. The teams presented business plans to a prestigious panel of Silicon Valley venture capitalists and high-tech professionals during the first-ever competition, held at the Haas School of Business on May 7 and 8.
“Timbre’s technology has the potential of saving semiconductor companies not only billions of dollars but also months in production time in an industry where success is measured in weeks,” said Neil Weintraut of 21st Century Internet Venture Partners and a competition judge. A beta version of Timbre’s software is being tested by National Semiconductor. Timbre was approached by several venture capital firms during the competition and hopes to secure funding by the end of the summer. Its product should be ready for sale by year’s end.
In applauding the efforts of the competition’s MBA student organizers, Mark Gorenberg of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners and a competition judge, said, “What these students did in their first-year debut was nothing short of miraculous.” Gorenberg judges the business plan competitions at Stanford, Harvard, Texas, and MIT.
The judges were looking for plans that addressed significant customer needs and large markets, and could develop into major operations. As the No. 1 plan, Timbre received $8,000 of the total $10,000 prize money.
Second place went to Alloptic, creator of a low-cost fiber optic system designed to break the bandwidth jam plaguing providers of telephone, cable, and wireless services — a multi-billions dollar market.
The third-place People’s Choice Award went to muNetix, manufacturer of ultra-small power supplies, an ‘enabling technology for our increasingly mobile society.’ Haas Associate Dean Jay Stowsky described the competition as a win-win-win situation for the students, the companies, and the economy. Said he, “Companies know that UC Berkeley is a priceless resource for new technology and novel business ideas.”
From the UC Berkeley press release:
UC Berkeley entrepreneurs impress venture capitalists at business plan competition
By D. Lyn Hunter, Public Affairs
BERKELEY–An innovative software program that will save semiconductor manufacturers billions of dollars is the winner of a business plan competition held recently at the University of California, Berkeley.
The technology, created by a group of UC Berkeley business and engineering students, will dramatically cut the cost and time required to develop semiconductors. The process, which uses three-dimensional software to measure wafers, marks a dramatic shift in semiconductor production from expensive hardware manufacturing to low-cost software automation.
“Anytime software replaces hardware there has been an incredible boom in productivity,” said Nick Sturiale, an MBA student at the Haas School of Business and CEO of the team’s company, Timbre Technologies. “Our product relieves the huge bottleneck that exists in today’s quality assurance process in semiconductor production.”
Timbre Technologies beat out seven other groups that included students from various campus disciplines. The teams presented business plans to a prestigious panel of Silicon Valley venture capitalists and high-tech professionals during the first-ever competition, held at the Haas School.
A beta version of Timbre’s software currently is being tested by National Semiconductor. Timbre was approached by several venture capital firms during the competition and hopes to secure funding by the end of the summer. Its product should be ready for sale by the end of the year.
“Timbre’s technology has the potential of saving semiconductor companies not only billions of dollars but also months in production time in an industry where success is measured in weeks,” said Neil Weintraut of 21st Century Internet Venture Partners and one of the judges for the competition. “Timbre has an innovation that is significant over prevailing methods of semiconductor process analysis.”
The judges were looking for plans that satisfied significant customer needs, addressed potentially large markets and have the people, strategy and innovation needed to develop into a major operation. As the No. 1 plan, Timbre received the largest chunk of a $10,000 prize split among the top three teams.
The second runner-up in the competition was Alloptic, creator of a low-cost fiber optic system designed to break the bandwidth jam currently plaguing providers of telephone, cable and wireless services. The market for this technology is massive given the hundreds of billions of dollars generated globally by the telecommunications industry.
The third place People’s Choice Award was given to muNetix, manufacturer of ultra-small power supplies, an enabling technology for our increasingly mobile society.
The competition provided students with experience in developing products and writing business plans in a realistic atmosphere. It also provided an opportunity for venture capitalists to tap into and invest in cutting-edge ideas being developed by UC Berkeley students.
“Companies know that UC Berkeley is a priceless resource for new technology and novel business ideas,” said Haas Associate Dean Jay Stowsky. “For Cal students, this interaction means access to more learning and research opportunities, as well as on-the-job training and solid contacts for future employment. For companies, it means enhanced access to the world-class research, technology, expertise and graduates that the university produces each year. It’s a win-win-win situation, for students, for companies and for the economy.”