The 2010 Burrill business plan competition was held yesterday at UW. One year ago today, Jesse and I won the students choice award for Entrustet. Writing the plan, talking to the judges and presenting at the competition helped us launch the company. Almost one exactly year later, we had our launch party in Madison and we’ve been featured on Mashable, The Financial Times and tons of other media. It’s amazing what a year of hard work on a cool idea can bring!
I went to the 2010 public exhibition yesterday to check out the new companies and invite participants to join Capital Entrepreneurs. It’s safe to say that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well on campus. There were some really cool ideas this year, with the top prizes going to im-Bed Biosciences ($10k), Sector 67 ($7k), ProPov ($4k) and MycoLogyx LLC ($1k) with Student Spill taking home $1k and free office space in the Metro Innovation Center. Buffalo Shoals took home the Green Credit worth $1k.
I took some pictures of some of the cool new businesses I checked out. I only had my iPhone camera, so the picture quality does not match the business quality. Sorry for that.
Sector 67 – Chris Meyer
Sector67 is a start up TechShop / Hacker space / Makerspace / Collaborative Environment in Madison, WI dedicated to providing members the opportunity to work on tomorrow’s technology; to build, collaborate, learn, and teach about next generation devices. It’s basically a place for engineers and others who are trying to improve products or create new ones to use shared equipment and shared space. Sector 67 is a non-profit and will be an awesome addition to the Madison community. Chris is also one of the original members of Capital Entrepreneurs.
Student Spill – Heidi Allstop
SPILL is “an anonymous network of students who have formed a venting outlet for college problems that everyone seems to go through, but few people want to LISTEN to. We’re an email based support system FOR and OF college students …just to provide a place to spill your guts or console others who need to vent.”
Allstop started Spill as a student organization and has successfully helped students all over campus. She has the potential to expand to other campuses across the country and won $1k plus free office space for a year. Heidi is also a CE member!
ArcherVision Concepts – Raul Correa, Rahul Kamath, Alexander Jacobs, Divya Seethapathy, Sriraman Santhanvaradan
This team has a really cool product. Many bikers use helmet mounted mirrors to see what’s behind them. The team created a prototype that updates this system for the 21st century. They have a camera that goes on the back of the helmet which transmits to a front mounted LCD screen. They are in the early stages, but have a cool prototype. Their goal is to embed the camera and the wiring into the helmet so that it will not hurt you if you crash. Bikers love to spend money on the latest gadget, so if done right, I could see it catching on and becoming profitable.
Flyboy Carnival – Kevin Burgess, Christopher Martinez
Flyboy Carnival is a cool tshirt company based out of the UW business incubator in the Univesity Square building. They have some cool shirts, but my favorite part is their creative packaging. They sell their tshirts in red and white striped popcorn boxes with their tshirts inside. Check out the picture below.
ProPOV – Jon Mumm
Jon has a really interesting backstory. Originally from Milwaukee, he got really good at the first person shooter Counter Strike. He was so good that he was able to turn pro and earns money playing the game on the pro circuit. I know many of you are thinking, “what? turning pro to play video games?” but there is actually a well developed professional video game circuit in the USA and an incredibly popular one in Asia.
Jon always had people asking his for tips on how to get better at the game, so he started a website called JuanSource to help teach counter strike players the tips they would need to get really good at the game. He saved video of him playing the game and commented over the action, helping people get better. Naturally, he charged money for the commentary and started to have a profitable online business.
His new software the he developed, ProPOV, takes in game commentary to the next level, allowing gamers to comment live over the game. ProPOV has a nice niche that could be very profitable as it gets rolled out.
Overall, I was impressed by the quality of this year’s ideas. You can watch all of the presentations in full on the Burrill website. I’ve been involved in the competition as a participant or viewer since 2006, and it seems like the ideas keep getting better each year. 30% of this years entries had at least one female on the team, which I believe is a big improvement over past years. What was even more impressive is that most of the women who entered the competition were doing so outside of fashion, which is a great improvement. Imagine how many more cool companies there would be if women started startups at the same rate that men do?