Friday, May 16, 2008

Global Moot Corp 2008—Judging the Best of the Best

I judged the Global Moot Corp competition again this year. Run by Rob Adams it is the Superbowl of business plan competitions since the entrants have won a competition elsewhere. This year 38 teams competed with just under half coming from international. The competing teams’ plans ranged from social software to medical devices to clean tech and more. The winners this year were:

Third Runner-up: OvaGuard from Thammasat University, Thailand, cultivates market dominating Phalaenopsis, growing highly demanded orchids.

Second Runner-up: qcue from the University of Texas at Austin provides a white label software application that transforms existing box offices into efficient markets.

First Runner-up: Klymit from Brigham Young University uses noble gas enabled fabric to control the temperature of the clothing.

2008 Global Moot Corp Champion: NeuroBank from Carnegie Mellon University. The company developed a breakthrough proprietary technology for minimally invasive extraction, isolation, expansion and cryopreservation of adult neural stem cells.

The full list of participants can be found here. It’s interesting to see how the local culture impacts the business focus of the presenting teams. The Thailand team always focuses on family-style businesses. Last year the Thai competitor focused on prawns while this year they focused on orchids. Universities with strong medical centers focus on therapeutics and medical devices. The Brigham Young team this year focused on climate-controlled clothing. The quality of the plans continues to climb and the number of teams actually starting the proposed business continues to increase as well.

Best regards,
Hall T.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I2P Product Competition – Developing Technologies for the Market

I had the opportunity to judge the UT Idea2Product Competition in which engineering students take a technology and productize it for commercial purposes. The goal is not to create a business with a management team per se but rather to turn technology into products that solve a problem in the market. Steve Nichols of the University of Texas has been running the competition for 8 years now. As he indicated the top three goals of the competition is education, education, and education. Steve travels extensively to bring more universities into the program with a particular emphasis on international universities. The global version of the competition includes submissions from over 40 universities.

This year the competitors include:

ProTrix – uses protein templated nanocrystals in the floating gate layer of a semiconductor device to double the capacity of flash memory chips.

Avatarus – uses a technique to encode a large number of 3D data points to represent a 3D object. They plan to use it for scanning the human face into a digital avatar for video games.

Turn2Live – uses semantic web techniques to characterize live music events and deliver the information through the web and mobile applications to users.

Bevo-MEA – uses lower cost materials to replace the platinum used in the membrane electrode assembly of fuel cells to reduce the cost of a fuel cell system.

Bevo-MEA edged out ProTrix to win the competition. This is a great event for generating exposure to the many technologies within the University.

Best regards,
Hall T.