Venture Startup

Ducks Win Big in Thailand!

Venture Startup Team Corrosion Solutions won it all at the Mai Business Plan Competition in Bangkok, Thailand. The team took first place winning US $12,000, admittance to the Bangkok executive entrepreneur training center ($14,000 value), and they received an entry to the MIT sponsored international investment competition in Istanbul in March. As icing on the cake, the team  also won best presentation and most professional team of their opening round groups.

In the words of faculty advisor Chris Cunning, “Awesome performance – couldn’t be prouder!  They really represented the University and the USA exceptionally.”

Often in pitching your venture to secure financing, physical endurance is pushed to the limit. This was especially true for Corrosion Solutions. Just 4 days and 11,000 air miles removed from their last competition, the Spirit of Enterprise Competition in Cincinnati, the team successfully  advanced to the finals. While the team did not advance out of their first round track, they came back in the afternoon to win the wild card round. Start to finish, it was a 14 hour day in a time zone 15 hours ahead of PST.

The final round was televised live on Thailand’s “Money TV” channel, which is the local CNBC affiliate. Harriet Foster, a representative from the US Embassy was in attendance at the competition and tweeted from the event (@THUSCreate).  Another US team (Cornell) also made it to the finals, so the US was well represented. Needless to say, Jake, Brian and Jeff were in top form for the finals. Congratulations guys!

About Corrosion Solutions 
Corrosion Solutions provides a surface treatment that allows lower-grade stainless steel to resist corrosion as effectively as higher-grade stainless steel in high-temperature and high-heat environments. Customers can realize cost savings of 25-30% on steel costs with applications including grills, heat exchangers, turbines and other energy related applications.

Written by UO Business

The UO Lundquist College of Business empowers an engaged community of students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders who create, apply, and disseminate knowledge that contributes significantly to their professions, communities, and society. The college delivers a dynamic learning environment where world-class professors engage and get to know students, where students work on real projects for real companies, and where alumni go on to high-powered jobs worldwide.

Venture Startup: Portland Vetting Session, Round 1

For students in the Innovation & Entrepreneurship track, Venture Startup provides the opportunity to develop a business plan and pitch it to investors. Most groups form and develop their plans during the summer in the Technology Entrepreneurship Program. After TEP, teams continue to refine their ideas during the fall term in New Venture Planning. In the Winter term, teams perfect their presentations for the business plan competition season. By Spring, teams are ready to pitch their businesses to investors.

To help us prepare, a series of vetting sessions are lined up with investors and entrepreneurs. As we found out last week in Portland, these vetting sessions are the real deal. Investors go over our plans and presentations with a fine tooth comb and don’t hesitate to point out the risks, gaps, and weaknesses they see. It’s a bit nerve-wracking, but as a business student, I couldn’t ask for a better experience.

Our day started in the Pearl District at the Ecotrust Building where we met with a group of entrepreneurs, including the CEO and the CFO of a local startup and the manager of a local investment fund. We didn’t bomb the presentation, but it certainly wasn’t our best performance. However, we couldn’t dwell on it for long since we had another vetting session lined up for the afternoon. After a bite to eat and few quick revisions to the presentation, we met with group that included a local angel investor, an accountant with extensive experience working with startups, and a lawyer whose firm has taken a number of local businesses through the startup process. We got over our yips from the morning session and gave a really solid presentation.

Over the course of the day, we received some really valuable feedback and advice. One of the more interesting aspects of the vetting process is that each individual vetter is just that, an individual. It’s not uncommon to get conflicting feedback based on a particular investor’s personal experiences, preferences, and tolerance for risk. While each individual offers unique insight, it’s impossible to be all things to everybody. At the end of the day, it’s up to us to decide the direction our business. A startup can take a million different paths. We have to choose the path that best aligns with the opportunity we have discovered in the market. It’s been a fascinating process and our plan continues to evolve and improve.

The PDX vetting sessions continue next week when we meet with members of the Entrepreneur’s Underground and the managing directors of the Portland Seed Fund. I’m really looking forward to next week’s meetings. Who knows, it just might lead us to our first round of funding!

Tashi Dondup, MBA ’12
Lundquist Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Written by UO Business

The UO Lundquist College of Business empowers an engaged community of students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders who create, apply, and disseminate knowledge that contributes significantly to their professions, communities, and society. The college delivers a dynamic learning environment where world-class professors engage and get to know students, where students work on real projects for real companies, and where alumni go on to high-powered jobs worldwide.

Venture Startup Boot Camp

Winter term is under way and MBA students in VSU (Venture Startup) kicked things off with a two-day boot camp to help teams transition to the next phase of the startup sequence that started with TEP (Technology Entrepreneurship Program) in the summer and NVP (New Venture Planning) in the fall. About half of all students in the IE (Innovation & Entrepreneurship) track elect to go on with Venture Startup while the other half choose to work on a Strategic Planning Project (SPP) for the remaining two terms. VSU boot camp was particularly helpful for teams that reorganized and added new members.

Day 1 of the boot camp kicked off with teams presenting their plans to faculty advisors and mentors. Teams then began an in depth analysis of their plans to identify their most relevant risks and key financial assumptions. Teams also developed org charts for their startups and a Q&A spreadsheet for the questions they might receive from investors when they pitch their business plans. The first half of Day 2 was dedicated to performing an extensive gap analysis to help teams determine where they stand and identify where they need to be before they start pitching their plans to investors. The second half of the day was spent developing 15 and 30 day work plans to close the gaps in our plans.

By the end of boot camp, every team had a clearly defined action plan and an accountability system for achieving the goals we set for ourselves. It was a particularly useful as teams prepare to pitch their plans to investors and participate in business plan competitions. Venture Startup teams will be competing for cash prizes at competitions in Louisville, Cincinnati, Bangkok, Manitoba, San Diego, Oregon and Texas. It’s an exciting opportunity and a great chance to represent the Oregon MBA.

Some Venture Startup statistics:

20% of VSU concepts launched their planned business upon graduation.

22% of VSU participants will either form a company, join a startup, or use their skills as an intrapreneur within 5 years.

100% of all VSU participants build invaluable career skills.

 

Written by UO Business

The UO Lundquist College of Business empowers an engaged community of students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders who create, apply, and disseminate knowledge that contributes significantly to their professions, communities, and society. The college delivers a dynamic learning environment where world-class professors engage and get to know students, where students work on real projects for real companies, and where alumni go on to high-powered jobs worldwide.