Academic Year 2009-2010
Darden Unveils New Innovation Laboratory
The Darden School of Business and the Batten Institute showcased Darden’s new innovation laboratory, or i.Lab, a state-of-the-art learning environment that inspires a new approach to teaching innovation and entrepreneurship, on March 19th. Darden’s i.Lab complements a robust, design-intensive curriculum for innovation now offered in Darden’s top-ranked MBA program. The opening event included a ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by remarks from New York Times bestselling-author Daniel Pink, an influential thinker who has written extensively about the “rise of right-brain thinking in modern economies.” More information
The Fojol Brothers Business Plan Wins 2010 Darden-UVA Business Plan Competition
Congratulations to the winners and finalists of the 2010 Darden-UVA Business Plan Competition. This year’s competition drew a record number of submissions from Darden students and featured a diverse range of highly innovative business plans.The competition took place on Friday, April 16 at the Darden School and awarded a total of $15,500 in non-dilutive funds. This year’s top honors go to Jake Williams’ “the fojol bros. of Merlindia” business venture, a traveling culinary carnival that serves tasty and affordable Indian food in downtown Washington, D.C. and is currently generating revenues.
2010 Winners and Finalists
- First $10,000 – FOJOL BROTHERS: John (Jake) Williams '10
- Second $4,000 - FLASHBOARD: Mark Taylor '10
- Third $1,000 - DOBRO MEDIA: John Dowd MBA-E '11 and Brianne Warner MBA '11
- Fourth $500 - PIANKATANK: Parker Garrett '10 and Ian Shields '10
- Finalist - GRILL’D LOGIC: Michel Di Felice '10 and Jeff Mirmelstein '10
- Finalist - KAIO TEA: Georgi Yanchev '11
Other winning ideas included: Flashboard, a highly innovative construction product poised to revolutionize the wallboard industry; Dobro Media’s “Precision Ads,” the first targeted ad channel for the print newspaper industry; and Piankatank, an environmentally friendly, self-contained “fish farm” which produces antibiotic free, non-hormonally altered seafood. Judges for the 2010 competition were Jay Brennan JD/MBA from the University of Virginia, Darden alumna Mary Ellen Hickman, and Rick White of Keiter Stephens.
Second Annual UVA Venture Summit
On March 25-26, 2010, UVa will once again welcome leading venture capitalists to participate in the second annual UVa Venture Summit, along with students and faculty at the University of Virginia. Be sure to check out the agenda for the 2010 UVA Venture Summit so you can plan which events to attend. The two-day entrepreneurship and venture capital event will include fascinating expert panel discussions on GreenTech, BioTech, and the future of venture capital. Also on the agenda are many planned opportunities for peer-to-peer networking for those who plan a career in entrepreneurship or venture capital.As in 2009, Darden will be well represented at the 2010 UVA Venture Summit. Two of the five student ventures at the Interactive Showcase portion of the event are wholly or partially comprised of Darden students--Dobro Media and Rivanna Medical. The co-founders of one of these student start-ups (Dobro Media) even met through Darden's highly popular VC Bootcamp! Enjoy seeing the live presentation of all five of the student-led start-ups at the Interactive Showcase on the morning of March 26. Registration is required to attend the Venture Summit. Attendance is free.
Aspen Institute Business & Society International MBA Case Competition at Darden
Darden is a partnering school of the newly expanded 2010 Aspen Institute's Business & Society Case Competition. Round 1 of the competition will be hosted at Darden (among other partnering schools) on April 9-12. In 2008 the Darden (University of Virginia) student team came in third place for this innovative, challenging case competition for future business leaders.
New Competition to Honor Local Virginia Entrepreneurs Who Beat the Odds
The Tayloe Murphy Resilience Awards is a new entrepreneurship competition sponsored by the Tayloe Murphy Center at Darden. The purpose of the Resilience Awards is to identify entrepreneurs who are thriving--despite the odds--in the most economically challenged areas of Virginia, communities that have been defined by slow growth. The winner of the Resilience Awards will receive a scholarship to a week-long Executive Education program at the Darden School of Business. Applications will be available on April 1, 2010 and are due by June 30, 2010.
Walmart Better Living Business Plan Challenge Regionals to be Hosted at Darden
The Walmart Better Living Business Plan Challenge Atlantic Regional will be hosted at Darden on February 19, 2010. One team of Darden MBA students will compete in the Walmart Better Living Business Plan Competition.
Entrepreneurship Article Co-Authored by Professor Sarasvathy
British Airways offers online articles for executives "Business Life: Your Essential Executive Toolkit." One of these was recently co-authored by Darden Professor Saras Sarasvathy: "Idea Generation: How to pursue an idea that could run and run." The authors describe how partnerships play a key role in shaping the outcome of new products and new ventures for entrepreneurs and innovators.
Technology Out of Darden Incubator Named in 2009's "Ten Most Exciting Tools" in Life Sciences by The Scientist Magazine
BioLevitator and its life science technology developed and incubated at UVA has just won major recognition in The Scientist Magazine. One of the first 3-D cell culture systems, it has been cited as one of the ten most exciting tools in the life sciences in 2009. The technology relies on the use of internal magnets for its cell culture system, hence the name BioLevitator. It was developed at the University of Virginia School of Medicine with support from the Biomedical Engineering internship program and launched in the Darden Business Incubator at the Darden School of Business. BioLevitator is a core offering of the Charlottesville-based company, Global Cell Solutions, whose President and CEO, Uday Gupta, is a Darden alumni (Class of 2004).
Philippe Sommer Quoted in New York Times Small Business Blog
Darden's Director of Entrepreneurship Programs, Philippe Sommer, was featured in the New York Times "You're the Boss" blog on December 18, 2009. In the article, Philippe was asked to weigh in on whether business plan competitions are good for start-ups. He says that they have their merits especially in teaching entrepreneurs how to tell their story to raise funds, but should not replace talking to customers and suppliers to test-drive your idea.
Darden Entrepreneur, CEO of Hotelicopter.com, Appears on MSNBC
Adam Healey, CEO and co-founder of Hotelicopter, a company started in the Darden Business Incubator, was featured on MSNBC on December 12, 2009. In the interview, Adam assured viewers that good deals are still available this holiday season at hotels, many of which offer significant discounts this year (since occupation rates are down from last year). It pays to comparison shop for hotels, Adam suggested, since the rates for the same hotel can vary a lot depending which travel sites you use to make reservations.
Design Fair Showcases Student Innovation
Aspiring innovation managers & entrepreneurs in Professor Raul Chao's course, Developing New Products & Services, have completed their final projects (aka, product/service prototypes) which were showcased in early December at a Design Fair at Saunders Hall. They had only seven weeks to develop their prototypes. One participant in the course was a biomedical engineering student at UVA, who teamed up with Darden students to prototype a new medical device. "Next year we hope to include more students from across Grounds," said Professor Chao. Find out one team's innovation to solve root wrap, a problem frequently faced in plant nurseries. Many of the concepts will be refined and entered in the annual Darden Business Plan Competition in the spring.
Company Initially Founded in Darden Incubator Has Received $7.5 Million in VC Backing
A Charlottesville-based company, WellAware Systems, has secured $7.5 million in VC funding from Valhalla Partners and .406 Ventures. WellAware provides wellness monitoring for senior care providers. The firm was originally founded in the Darden Business Incubator, under the name Home Guardian, by Robin Felder, a professor at the University of Virginia.
First UVA Entrepreneurship Cup (2009), Part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, a Huge Success
Held on November 20, the Cup was jointly sponsored by Tom Skalak's office (Tom Skalak is the VP of Research at the University of Virginia) and the Darden School of Business, where Philippe Sommer is the Director of Entrepreneurship Programs. It was underwritten with a $50,000 gift from Third Security, LLC, whose CEO and Chairman is Randal J. Kirk, a member of the U.Va. Board of Visitors.
The winners of the entrepreneurial concept competition, pictured above, included students from the School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, and the McIntire School of Commerce. Darden's Philippe Sommer is also pictured above, second from left.
The Cup trophy (pictured left) was designed by engineering students from the UVA School of Engineering and sculpture students from the UVA McIntire Department of Art. The (blue and black) disk is magnetically suspended and will be given to each school to keep as the trophy changes school.
Here are some news stories about the UVA Entrepreneurship Cup and the winning teams:
- Flotation Belt Creators Buoyed with $20,000 Victory at First U.Va. Entrepreneurship Cup
Nov. 23, 2009 | UVa Today
Includes multimedia slideshow with audio footage & photos from the competition.The Life-Preserving Belt concept out of the UVA School of Engineering won first place.
- Students' Inflatable Idea Wins Contest, $20,000 Start-Up Grant
Nov. 22, 2009 | Charlottesville Daily Progress
Describes the competition and the winning concepts for first, second, and third prize at the UVA Entrepreneurship Cup.
- Students to Compete Nov. 20 for the First U.Va. Entrepreneurship Cup
Nov. 13, 2009 | UVa Today
Six concept teams advance to the finals to compete on Nov. 20. Final teams include Moverang, KaioTeas, RheoLogic, Life-Preserving Belt, Petrohedge, and Cspot and represent six different schools at the University of Virginia (Darden, McIntire, Curry, Law, Medicine, and Engineering).
UVa President Casteen Calls for Increased Entrepreneurship
Cville Charlottesville News and Arts| Issue #21.47| Nov. 24-30, 2009
U.Va's President Casteen was awarded the Paul G. McIntire Citizenship Award by the Charlottesville Chamber of Commerce on November 17. At the event, he called for enhanced regional entrepreneurship and transfer of ideas and technologies (especially, for instance, alternative fuel or green roof technologies) from the university to entrepreneurial businesses in the Charlottesville area. Casteen sees a great chance for the university and the region to play a more significant role on the national stage if progress is made in learning how to solve problems with technology transfer from university labs to entrepreneurial companies.
Shell Foundation Backs Husk Power Systems, Founded by Two Darden Alumni
November 3, 2009 - VC Circle (India) - Husk Power Systems, the company that won the DFJ-Cisco Global Business Plan Competition and $250,000 last summer is back in the news again. Shell Foundation first invested in the venture in November 2008 while Manoj Sinha and Chip Ransler, Husk Power's two co-founders, were still getting their MBAs at Darden. Now Shell Foundation has decided to make a further investment in Husk Power to help extend its operations. So far, Husk Power Systems has managed to provide electricity to 50 villages in rural India, starting in Bihar. The plants, which are owned by Husk Power, become profitable within six months of operation. According to the article, Husk Power aims to bring electricity to a total of 100 villages in 2009, 400 villages by 2010, and 2000 villages by 2012.
Announcing the Winners of Darden's Entrepreneurial Concept Competition for 2009:
The competition took place on Friday November 6. Without further ado, here are the winning concepts and teams:
- 1st place - Kaio Teas: Georgi Yanchev (Class of 2011) - $3,000 & advances to the UVA Cup Finals
- 2nd place - Patton's List: Clark Herndon, Michael Fallon, and Steven Cunningham (all Class of 2011) - $1,500
- 3rd place - Carlo Woods: Carlos Camacho and Jamaica Wood (both Class of 2011)--$500
The finals were well attended this year, so thanks to all who came and supported the entrepreneurs! And the competition was swept by first-years in what may be an all-time first in the history of the Darden concept competition. Those in attendance were able to sample grape seed oil, which turned out to be one of the prize-winning concepts.
Best of luck to Georgi Yanchev (pictured above, center, in 4 Cups of Herbal Tea a Day t-shirt) and his concept for online organic herbal teas as he advances to represent Darden at the UVA Cup finals on Friday, November 20.
We would also like to thank the record number of teams who submitted business concepts, all the finalists who participated, and our judges, Michael del Rosso, Dean Johnson, and Ron Templeton, who all helped make the competition a success.
Charlottesville Makes Top 20 Best Places to Launch:
CNNMoney.com has ranked Charlottesville #19 on its Best Places to Launch list for small metro areas. Charlottesville's "thriving entrepreneurial community" is cited--the article finds a number of contributing factors, including the presence of the University of Virginia, Darden, and the Batten Institute, as well as the stimulus of venture capital in the Charlottesville-DC area.
Darden alumnus Adam Healey, who launched his company (now called Hotelicopter, based in Charlottesville) in the Darden Business Incubator, is quoted in the article; read his story in CNN Money Small Business: Why I Launched Here.
Innovative Company Started in Darden Incubator Gets VC Funds in Tough Times
OpenQ, a fast-growing Charlottesville-based company (founded by two Darden alumni formerly in the Darden Business Incubator), has received $2 million of venture capital backing from Grotech: "OpenQ Secures Investment from Leading Mid-Atlantic Venture Firm." In the press release, Chuck Cullen, general partner at Grotech states: "Grotech is pleased to begin a collaboration with openq to help the company extend their current leadership position as an innovator in life sciences technology and information." The President of OpenQ, Jim Zuffoletti, and his co-founder, Otavio Freire, are both Darden alumni.
New Entrepreneurship Program Videos: Technology Accelerator, Incubator, and Batten Venture Internship:
Check out new videos with Philippe Sommer, Director of Entrepreneurship Programs.
Hotelicopter.com Rising in Recognition
October 2009| Hotelicopter.com, a company founded by two Darden graduates and launched in the Darden Incubator, has been cited by Piper Jaffray as the emerging hotel meta-search site. The new, 90 page Piper Jaffray report, "The Next Leg of Online Travel," prominently features Hotelicopter as an up-and-coming travel site, calling it "one of the easiest-to-use online travel sites." UVA Today Blog does a nice job highlighting the recent accolades for Hotelicopter.
Medical Device Company Founded by Darden Graduate in the News
On September 10, Freedom Meditech, Inc., founded by Darden graduate Craig Misrach, was highlighted in Medical Devices Today: Strategy, Regulatory, Innovation & Investment Coverage from the Industry's Top Publications. The company's President/CEO Craig Misrach, was in the Darden Business Incubator while at Darden. Freedom Meditech is developing non-invasive glucose monitoring systems which it plans to sell directly to consumers as well as an in-office diabetes screening system using light to detect the glucose concentration level in the eye. UVAToday Blog has a great post about these former Darden Incubator entrepreneurs and their work developing these new medical technologies.
New Entrepreneurship Competition, UVA Cup, Coming October/November 2009
Darden Entrepreneurship Program announces the first-ever UVA Cup, a new cross-university entrepreneurship competition with Entrepreneurial Concept Competitions to be hosted at multiple schools all across the University of Virginia. The UVA Cup will incorporate the previously existing Darden Business Concept Competition, to be held at Darden on November 6, 2009. Darden will be one of several participating UVA schools to host its own entrepreneurial concept competition, along with the UVA Law School, the UVA McIntire School of Commerce, and the UVA Schools of Nursing & School of Medicine, and others.
The finals of the UVA Cup will be held on November 20, 2009. For more information about participating schools and how to enter your entrepreneurial business concept in the UVA Cup, contact MJ Toms.
News Archives: Academic Year 2008-09
Easy Ways to Stay in the Loop
- Join Darden's Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club (EVC Club) and the university-wide E*Society! Sign up for their email lists.
- Read about the events on the timeline above and put them and their application deadlines on your calendar. Set up reminders!
- Introduce yourself to Philippe Sommer, Director of Darden's Entrepreneurship Programs.