2015 VTKW Sponsor Showcase: City of Roanoke, Virginia

The City of Roanoke, Virginia is rich in history, community spirit, and natural beauty. With a population of almost 99,000, you will find an incomparable mix of urban sophistication and down-home charm in our city. A six-time All-America City and the largest city on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Roanoke has an impressive array of arts, outdoor opportunities, and cultural amenities as well as an aggressive economic strategy to attract business development.

City of Roanoke, Virginia

Thank you, City of Roanoke, Virginia, for sponsoring VT KnowledgeWorks including the 2015 Global Partnership Week!

The VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership Week offers university students and faculty from all over the world a chance to collaborate, form partnerships, build their global networks, and congregate in Blacksburg and Roanoke, Virginia, USA. The Global Partnership is an ongoing cooperative association of regions building permanent social and academic relationships with each other, for mutual long-term advantage. Members of the partnership gather annually during a week-long Global Partnership event hosted by VT KnowledgeWorks, Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Virginia Tech, and citizens and businesses of the Roanoke-Blacksburg region.

2014 Winners: The grand prize went to Team feelSpace of the University of Trento. Read more about the winning teams! Watch the 2014 Global Partnership Week video and read about the event publicity.

For more information about getting involved in the Global Partnership Week, please contact Lindsey Eversole, Outreach Manager, leversole@vtknowledgeworks.com.

Keep in the know about VT KnowledgeWorks through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

VT KnowledgeWorks

VT KnowledgeWorks encourages and enables creative entrepreneurship world-wide, through innovative curriculum, local business resource centers, and a global network of cooperating regions, all focused on three essential contributors to success: clear understanding of fundamental business principles; access to timely, relevant information; and meaningful personal and corporate relationships. It is a subsidiary of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, supported by the continuing confidence and enthusiasm of its clients, sponsors and friends, both corporate and individual. Its world headquarters are in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.

VT KnowledgeWorks Sponsors

Automation Creations, Inc., BAE Systems, BB&T, The Branch Group, Inc., Brown, Edwards & Company, LLP, CIT GAP Funds, City of Roanoke, Fox 21/27, G.J. Hopkins, Inc., Interactive Achievement, Inc., Meridium, Montgomery County, Virginia Economic Development Department, National Bank, New River Valley Intellectual Property Law, Plastics One Inc., Rackspace, Shentel, SimulTV, SunTrust Bank , TechLab, Third Security, Town of Blacksburg, Town of Christiansburg, Union First Market Bank, UXB International, Inc., Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Virginia Tech’s Outreach and International Affairs, VPT, Inc, Wordsprint

Testimonial about the Global Student Entrepreneurship Challenge

CARmunity VTKW Global Partnership winner 2012
Team CARmunity from the 2012 Global Student Entrepreneurship Challenge.

Hear from Alice Batts, a student of UTS: BUiLD (Beyond UTS International Leadership Development) at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia, regarding her experiences at the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Student Entrepreneurship Challenge.  Alice’s team, CARmunity, received one of the $5,000 runner-up prizes at the 2012 Global Student Entrepreneurship Challenge. The business concept they presented at the Challenge was a revolutionary smart phone app that aimed to create an environmentally focused culture by helping to reduce carbon emissions caused by vehicles and to save its users money by sharing the cost of commuting.

The video was produced and provided by UTS: BUiLD (Beyond UTS International Leadership Development).

The VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership Week offers university students and faculty from all over the world a chance to collaborate, form partnerships, build their global networks, and congregate in Blacksburg and Roanoke, Virginia, USA. The Global Partnership is an ongoing cooperative association of regions building permanent social and academic relationships with each other, for mutual long-term advantage. Members of the partnership gather annually during a week-long Global Partnership event hosted by VT KnowledgeWorks, Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Virginia Tech, and citizens and businesses of the Roanoke-Blacksburg region.

2014 Winners: The grand prize went to Team feelSpace of the University of Trento. Read more about the winning teams! Watch the 2014 Global Partnership Week video and read about the event publicity.

For more information about getting involved in the Global Partnership Week, please contact Lindsey Eversole, Outreach Manager, leversole@vtknowledgeworks.com.

Keep in the know about VT KnowledgeWorks through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

VT KnowledgeWorks

VT KnowledgeWorks encourages and enables creative entrepreneurship world-wide, through innovative curriculum, local business resource centers, and a global network of cooperating regions, all focused on three essential contributors to success: clear understanding of fundamental business principles; access to timely, relevant information; and meaningful personal and corporate relationships. It is a subsidiary of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, supported by the continuing confidence and enthusiasm of its clients, sponsors and friends, both corporate and individual. Its world headquarters are in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.

VT KnowledgeWorks Sponsors

Automation Creations, Inc., BAE Systems, BB&T, The Branch Group, Inc., Brown, Edwards & Company, LLP, CIT GAP Funds, City of Roanoke, Fox 21/27, G.J. Hopkins, Inc., Interactive Achievement, Inc., Meridium, Montgomery County, Virginia Economic Development Department, National Bank, New River Valley Intellectual Property Law, Plastics One Inc., Rackspace, Shentel, SimulTV, SunTrust Bank , TechLab, Third Security, Town of Blacksburg, Town of Christiansburg, Union First Market Bank, UXB International, Inc., Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Virginia Tech’s Outreach and International Affairs, VPT, Inc, Wordsprint

Announcing the Spring 2015 Game Changers Challenge

VT KnowledgeWorks is pleased to announce the Game Changers Challenge, an opportunity for one entrepreneur or entrepreneurial team to qualify for a $25,000 “Running Start” loan plus a package of free startup assistance services.  Solid runners-up may also qualify for free startup assistance.

VTKW Game Changers Challenge

Any aspiring entrepreneur or entrepreneurial team may enter.  The challenge is open to all who meet the following criteria:

  • The product or service to be provided by the venture must either be consumed (not simply re-marketed) by another business, or be integrated into a more complex end-product for downstream sale.
  • The targeted buyers must constitute a relatively narrow demographic niche that can be addressed with limited resources.
  • The proposed product or service must powerfully address some widely acknowledged niche need.
  • High leverage must be obtained by the $25,000 (not just the first $25,000 out of a $1M needed for launch, for instance).
  • The entrepreneurial team must be able to fill the technology leadership roles in the proposed venture.
  • The team must be committed to locating business operations in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center.
  • Any intellectual property related to the enterprise must be appropriately owned or licensed by the enterprise.

Finalists will be selected by VT KnowledgeWorks staff, and will then be invited to make a 15-minute presentation to the Running Start Committee on their proposed new ventures.  There will be no public events, nor will competing teams be allowed to attend each other’s presentations.  In the absence of a solid applicant, no loan will be made.  This is a qualifying process, not a contest.

Proposals must be submitted in accordance with the guidelines available on the VT KnowledgeWorks website www.vtknowledgeworks.com.  The deadline for the spring 2015 application submissions is May 8, 2015.  Applications should be submitted to info@vtknowledgeworks.com. The selection committee will review applications and VT KnowledgeWorks will communicate with applicants shortly thereafter.  Awards will be announced in June.

For more information contact Jim Flowers, Executive Director of VT KnowledgeWorks, at 540-443-9100, extension 1 or at jim.flowers@vtknowledgeworks.com.

Keep in the know about VT KnowledgeWorks through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

VT KnowledgeWorks

VT KnowledgeWorks encourages and enables creative entrepreneurship world-wide, through innovative curriculum, local business resource centers, and a global network of cooperating regions, all focused on three essential contributors to success: clear understanding of fundamental business principles; access to timely, relevant information; and meaningful personal and corporate relationships. It is a subsidiary of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, supported by the continuing confidence and enthusiasm of its clients, sponsors and friends, both corporate and individual. Its world headquarters are in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.

VT KnowledgeWorks Sponsors

Automation Creations, Inc., BAE Systems, BB&T, The Branch Group, Inc., Brown, Edwards & Company, LLP, CIT GAP Funds, City of Roanoke, Fox 21/27, G.J. Hopkins, Inc., Interactive Achievement, Inc., Meridium, Montgomery County, Virginia Economic Development Department, National Bank, New River Valley Intellectual Property Law, Plastics One Inc., Rackspace, Shentel, SimulTV, SunTrust Bank , TechLab, Third Security, Town of Blacksburg, Town of Christiansburg, Union First Market Bank, UXB International, Inc., Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Virginia Tech’s Outreach and International Affairs, VPT, Inc, Wordsprint

VTKW Global Entrepreneurship Challenge Semifinals Winners Announced

VT KnowledgeWorks hosted its seventh annual Global Entrepreneurship Challenge Semifinals at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center on April 8.  The Challenge provided a unique opportunity for student teams from Virginia Tech to present their business concepts before a panel of local business leaders.

The Challenge began with welcoming remarks by Dr. Joe Meredith, president of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center (VTCRC).  The VTCRC develops a growing, prestigious research park for high-technology companies.  In collaboration with Virginia Tech, the VTCRC advances the research, educational and technology transfer missions of the university.

Calbico

Left to right: Jeremy Boone and Ben Newman

The grand prize of $15,000 in scholarships was awarded to Calbico, which included team members Ben Newman and Jeremy Boone.  Their prize package included the $10,000 Plastics One Advanced Manufacturing Award for the most outstanding tangible product.  In addition to that, they were awarded another $5,000 in scholarship assistance and summer workspace at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center.  The Calbico Channel Cleaning Tool is designed for cleaning hard to reach areas in semi-automatic rifles and pistols.  Calbico will also advance to the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Student Entrepreneurship Challenge on August 20, 2015, where they will compete on a world stage as teams pitch their business ideas for a $25,000 grand prize.

Beyond Reality

Left to right: Jordan White and Ojas Mhetar

The $10,000 VT KnowledgeWorks Information Technology Award for the most outstanding intangible product or service went to Beyond Reality, represented by Ojas Mhetar and Jordan White.  Beyond Reality is a cloud based platform to host and deliver lag free, high quality virtual reality content via the Internet to the end user.

Flow

Left to right: Megan Lorey, Kevin Aviles, Joselyn Martinez, Ryan Klavan, Joaquin Bur, and Gabriella Jacobsen

Audience members selected their favorite student team to win the People’s Choice award of $5,000 in scholarships, generously sponsored by the Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business.  The winning team of the People’s Choice award was Flow, which included team members Kelvin Aviles, Joaquin Bur, Gabriella Jacobsen, Megan Lorey, Joselyn Martinez, and Ryan Klavan.  Flow, the modern sanitary product dispenser aimed at alleviating stress from needing emergency sanitary products.

Other teams that competed in the Global Entrepreneurship Challenge Semifinals included Advanc3D Materials, Formy Interfaces, Orb, Ryde, and XSprintCT.

RDA

Team RDA: Peter Athanas, Ali Sohanghpurwala, Ryan Marlow, and Krzysztof Kepa

The 2015 Tech Transfer Challenge winner was formally announced at the Global Entrepreneurship Challenge Semifinals networking reception and awards presentation.  The team of Ryan Marlow, Krzysztof Kepa, Ali Sohanghpurwala, and Peter Athanas was selected as the 2015 winner of the Tech Transfer Challenge.  They are developing the Rapid Design Assembly (RDA) technology to assist hardware engineers who target Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) in electronic designs.  They are currently part of the Configurable Computing Laboratory at Virginia Tech, within the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.  FPGAs are integrated circuits designed to be configured and reconfigured by the designer after manufacture; they are used extensively in networking, communications, automotive, and aerospace applications.  The current FPGA configuration process is both complicated and time consuming, and their tool, RDA, provides a solution to both of these issues.

RDA receives $100,000 worth of mentorship and business support services over a two-year period, including assistance in developing the overall business strategy as well as the presentations and plan documents needed for investor discussions and product launch.

The Tech Transfer Challenge provides an opportunity for Virginia Tech faculty, staff, students and/or alumni proposing to establish a new venture in Blacksburg, a chance to accelerate their innovative technology transfer from the university to the private sector.

“Congratulations to our winners.  They have exciting prospects, both personally and professionally.  But, just as important, the overall competition was outstanding.  According to our judges, and based on follow-up inquiries by local investors and entrepreneurs, we have possibly identified as many as half a dozen viable startups for our region.” – Jim Flowers, Executive Director, VT KnowledgeWorks

For more information contact Jim Flowers, Executive Director of VT KnowledgeWorks, at 540-443-9100, extension 1 or at jim.flowers@vtknowledgeworks.com.

VT KnowledgeWorks wants to thank our generous sponsors of the Global Entrepreneurship Challenge Semifinals including Plastics One Inc., Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, and Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business.

Keep in the know about VT KnowledgeWorks through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

VT KnowledgeWorks

VT KnowledgeWorks encourages and enables creative entrepreneurship world-wide, through innovative curriculum, local business resource centers, and a global network of cooperating regions, all focused on three essential contributors to success: clear understanding of fundamental business principles; access to timely, relevant information; and meaningful personal and corporate relationships. It is a subsidiary of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, supported by the continuing confidence and enthusiasm of its clients, sponsors and friends, both corporate and individual. Its world headquarters are in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.

VT KnowledgeWorks Sponsors

Automation Creations, Inc., BAE Systems, BB&T, The Branch Group, Inc., Brown, Edwards & Company, LLP, CIT GAP Funds, City of Roanoke, Fox 21/27, G.J. Hopkins, Inc., Interactive Achievement, Inc., Meridium, Montgomery County, Virginia Economic Development Department, National Bank, New River Valley Intellectual Property Law, Plastics One Inc., Rackspace, Shentel, SimulTV, SunTrust Bank , TechLab, Third Security, Town of Blacksburg, Town of Christiansburg, Union First Market Bank, UXB International, Inc., Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Virginia Tech’s Outreach and International Affairs, VPT, Inc, Wordsprint

2015 VTKW Sponsor Showcase: G.J. Hopkins, Inc.


G.J. Hopkins, Inc.
is a 100% employee-owned mechanical, electrical, plumbing and service contracting firm in Roanoke, Virginia. We take in pride in providing our customers with consistent top quality service by using the latest equipment, techniques and technology.

Thank you, G.J. Hopkins, Inc., for sponsoring VT KnowledgeWorks including the 2015 Global Partnership Week!

The VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership Week offers university students and faculty from all over the world a chance to collaborate, form partnerships, build their global networks, and congregate in Blacksburg and Roanoke, Virginia, USA. The Global Partnership is an ongoing cooperative association of regions building permanent social and academic relationships with each other, for mutual long-term advantage. Members of the partnership gather annually during a week-long Global Partnership event hosted by VT KnowledgeWorks, Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Virginia Tech, and citizens and businesses of the Roanoke-Blacksburg region.

2014 Winners: The grand prize went to Team feelSpace of the University of Trento. Read more about the winning teams! Watch the 2014 Global Partnership Week video and read about the event publicity.

For more information about getting involved in the Global Partnership Week, please contact Lindsey Eversole, Outreach Manager, leversole@vtknowledgeworks.com.

Keep in the know about VT KnowledgeWorks through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

VT KnowledgeWorks

VT KnowledgeWorks encourages and enables creative entrepreneurship world-wide, through innovative curriculum, local business resource centers, and a global network of cooperating regions, all focused on three essential contributors to success: clear understanding of fundamental business principles; access to timely, relevant information; and meaningful personal and corporate relationships. It is a subsidiary of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, supported by the continuing confidence and enthusiasm of its clients, sponsors and friends, both corporate and individual. Its world headquarters are in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.

VT KnowledgeWorks Sponsors

Automation Creations, Inc., BAE Systems, BB&T, The Branch Group, Inc., Brown, Edwards & Company, LLP, CIT GAP Funds, City of Roanoke, Fox 21/27, G.J. Hopkins, Inc., Interactive Achievement, Inc., Meridium, Montgomery County, Virginia Economic Development Department, National Bank, New River Valley Intellectual Property Law, Plastics One Inc., Rackspace, Shentel, SimulTV, SunTrust Bank , TechLab, Third Security, Town of Blacksburg, Town of Christiansburg, Union First Market Bank, UXB International, Inc., Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Virginia Tech’s Outreach and International Affairs, VPT, Inc, Wordsprint

Register by Friday to Attend the VTKW Global Entrepreneurship Challenge Semifinals

2014 VTKW E-Challenge Step Up To The ChallengeRegistration ends Friday, April 3, for the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Challenge Semifinals.

Register for free today!

register

The Semifinals take place at The Inn at Virginia Tech & Skelton Conference Center in Blacksburg on Wednesday, April 8, 2015.

Agenda:

12:30: Registration

1:00: Welcoming Remarks by Joe Meredith, President of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center.

1:15: Orb (Cody Short): Orb integrates water flavor enhancers into the lid of a reusable water bottle helping its users develop a healthier life by altering their drinking habits.

1:37: Flow (Kelvin Aviles, Joaquin Bur, Gabriella Jacobsen, Megan Lorey, Joselyn Martinez, and Ryan Klavan): Flow, the modern sanitary product dispenser aimed at alleviating stress from needing emergency sanitary products. Designed with the consumer in mind, Flow will contain a higher quality product to make the dispensers profitable, and offer a better customer service.

1:59: XSprintCT (Hao Gong): A carbon-nanotube (CNT) based multi-source micro-focus computed tomography (micro-CT) is proposed for low-radiation-dose and high-quality preclinical imaging. This next-generation micro-CT technology will enable longitudinal, non-invasive, and three-dimensional small animal studies for preclinical researchers.

2:21: Ryde (Blake Duncan and Neil Hartman): Ryde is a mobile application that facilitates college fraternities in delivering their designated driver service.

2:43: Break

3:00: Formy Interfaces (Sky Van Iderstine, Bruce Ayliff, Walker Sensabaugh, Jared Deane, Giancarlo Di Biase, and Tyler Campbell): Formy Interfaces is using additive manufacturing to create custom grips for hand-operated products that enable customers to personalize their most prized possessions in a way that was impossible until now.

3:22: Beyond Reality (Ojas Mhetar and Jordan White): A cloud based platform to host and deliver lag free, high quality virtual reality content via the Internet to the end user.

3:44: Calbico (Ben Newman and Jeremy Boone): The Calbico Channel Cleaning Tool is designed for cleaning hard to reach areas in semi-automatic rifles and pistols. Our cleaning tool cuts down on waste, provides a more thorough clean, and decreases the average cleaning time by forty percent.

4:06: Advanc3D Materials (Nicholas A. Chartrain, Alison R. Schultz, and Justin M. Sirrine): The development of new materials for Additive Manufacturing is required for the successful fabrication of customized orthotic inserts. Advanc3D Materials offers new photo-curable polyurethanes in order to comfortably balance strength and flexibility for each individual’s orthotic need.

4:30: Networking Reception and Awards Presentation

This year’s prizes include:

  • $10,000 – Plastics One Advanced Manufacturing Award for the outstanding tangible product
  • $10,000 – VT KnowledgeWorks Information Technology Award for the outstanding intangible product or service
  • $5,000 – An additional grand prize for one of the two teams that receive the Advanced Manufacturing Award or the Information Technology Award
  • $5,000 – People’s Choice Award sponsored by Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business

Win a Kindle Fire!  All attendees will be entered into the raffle contest.  Must be present to win.  Raffle prize donated by Holiday Inn University Blacksburg.

For more details about this event, visit our website at www.vtknowledgeworks.com or contact Christine Spalding at 540-443-9100 ext. 3 or via email at christine.spalding@vtknowledgeworks.com.

VT KnowledgeWorks wants to thank our generous sponsors of the Global Entrepreneurship Challenge Semifinals including Plastics One Inc., Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, and Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business.

Keep in the know about VT KnowledgeWorks through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

VT KnowledgeWorks

VT KnowledgeWorks encourages and enables creative entrepreneurship world-wide, through innovative curriculum, local business resource centers, and a global network of cooperating regions, all focused on three essential contributors to success: clear understanding of fundamental business principles; access to timely, relevant information; and meaningful personal and corporate relationships. It is a subsidiary of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, supported by the continuing confidence and enthusiasm of its clients, sponsors and friends, both corporate and individual. Its world headquarters are in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.

VT KnowledgeWorks Sponsors

Automation Creations, Inc., BAE Systems, BB&T, The Branch Group, Inc., Brown, Edwards & Company, LLP, CIT GAP Funds, City of Roanoke, Fox 21/27, G.J. Hopkins, Inc., Interactive Achievement, Inc., Meridium, Montgomery County, Virginia Economic Development Department, National Bank, New River Valley Intellectual Property Law, Plastics One Inc., Rackspace, Shentel, SimulTV, SunTrust Bank , TechLab, Third Security, Town of Blacksburg, Town of Christiansburg, Union First Market Bank, UXB International, Inc., Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Virginia Tech’s Outreach and International Affairs, VPT, Inc, Wordsprint

2015 VTKW Sponsor Showcase: New River Valley Intellectual Property Law, PC

NRV IP LAW_Michele L  Mayberry EsqMichele L. Mayberry, Esq.

nrviplawlogoIntellectual Property (IP) Law is All We Do.

New River Valley IP Law, PC provides intellectual property procurement services for clients seeking to protect their innovations, minimize risk associated with using those innovations, and maximize revenue generated from commercial embodiments of their patent-pending or patented processes and products.

Legal and industry experience as well as quality credentials are important, and we have both, but our internal collegiality and teamwork makes us unique.

Our legal team capitalizes on our individual strengths to provide each of our clients the highest level of service in an individualized and dependable manner.

New River Valley Intellectual Property Law, PC is located at 1750 Kraft Drive, Suite 2200, Blacksburg, VA 24060.

Contact them at (540)605-8070 or visit their website at http://nrviplaw.com/.

Thank you, New River Valley Intellectual Property Law, PC, for sponsoring VT KnowledgeWorks including the 2015 Global Partnership Week!

The VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership Week offers university students and faculty from all over the world a chance to collaborate, form partnerships, build their global networks, and congregate in Blacksburg and Roanoke, Virginia, USA. The Global Partnership is an ongoing cooperative association of regions building permanent social and academic relationships with each other, for mutual long-term advantage. Members of the partnership gather annually during a week-long Global Partnership event hosted by VT KnowledgeWorks, Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Virginia Tech, and citizens and businesses of the Roanoke-Blacksburg region.

2014 Winners: The grand prize went to Team feelSpace of the University of Trento. Read more about the winning teams! Watch the 2014 Global Partnership Week video and read about the event publicity.

For more information about getting involved in the Global Partnership Week, please contact Lindsey Eversole, Outreach Manager, leversole@vtknowledgeworks.com.

Keep in the know about VT KnowledgeWorks through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

VT KnowledgeWorks

VT KnowledgeWorks encourages and enables creative entrepreneurship world-wide, through innovative curriculum, local business resource centers, and a global network of cooperating regions, all focused on three essential contributors to success: clear understanding of fundamental business principles; access to timely, relevant information; and meaningful personal and corporate relationships. It is a subsidiary of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, supported by the continuing confidence and enthusiasm of its clients, sponsors and friends, both corporate and individual. Its world headquarters are in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.

VT KnowledgeWorks Sponsors

Automation Creations, Inc., BAE Systems, BB&T, The Branch Group, Inc., Brown, Edwards & Company, LLP, CIT GAP Funds, City of Roanoke, Fox 21/27, G.J. Hopkins, Inc., Interactive Achievement, Inc., Meridium, Montgomery County, Virginia Economic Development Department, National Bank, New River Valley Intellectual Property Law, Plastics One Inc., Rackspace, Shentel, SimulTV, SunTrust Bank , TechLab, Third Security, Town of Blacksburg, Town of Christiansburg, Union First Market Bank, UXB International, Inc., Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Virginia Tech’s Outreach and International Affairs, VPT, Inc, Wordsprint

VTKW Global Entrepreneurship Challenge Semifinals Finalists Announced

VT KnowledgeWorks is pleased to announce the finalist teams chosen to present their business concepts at this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Challenge Semifinals, taking place on Wednesday, April 8, at 1:00 p.m. at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center, Blacksburg, Virginia.

VTKW Global Challenge Semifinals

The eight Virginia Tech student teams competing for the grand prize include:

  • Advanc3D Materials
    Nicholas A. Chartrain, Alison R. Schultz, and Justin M. Sirrine

    The development of new materials for Additive Manufacturing is required for the successful fabrication of customized orthotic inserts. Advanc3D Materials offers new photo-curable polyurethanes in order to comfortably balance strength and flexibility for each individual’s orthotic need.

  • Beyond Reality
    Ojas Mhetar and Jordan White

    A cloud based platform to host and deliver lag free, high quality virtual reality content via the Internet to the end user.

  • Calbico
    Ben Newman and Jeremy Boone

    The Calbico Channel Cleaning Tool is designed for cleaning hard to reach areas in semi-automatic rifles and pistols. Our cleaning tool cuts down on waste, provides a more thorough clean, and decreases the average cleaning time by forty percent.

  • Flow
    Kelvin Aviles, Joaquin Bur, Gabriella Jacobsen, Megan Lorey, Joselyn Martinez, and Ryan Klavan

    Flow, the modern sanitary product dispenser aimed at alleviating stress from needing emergency sanitary products. Designed with the consumer in mind, Flow will contain a higher quality product to make the dispensers profitable, and offer a better customer service.

  • Formy Interfaces
    Sky Van Iderstine, Bruce Ayliff, Walker Sensabaugh, Jared Deane, Giancarlo Di Biase, and Tyler Campbell

    Formy Interfaces is using additive manufacturing to create custom grips for hand-operated products that enable customers to personalize their most prized possessions in a way that was impossible until now.

  • Orb
    Cody Short

    Orb integrates water flavor enhancers into the lid of a reusable water bottle helping its users develop a healthier life by altering their drinking habits.

  • Ryde
    Blake Duncan and Neil Hartman

    Ryde is a mobile application that facilitates college fraternities in delivering their designated driver service.

  • XSprintCT
    Hao Gong

    A carbon-nanotube (CNT) based multi-source micro-focus computed tomography (micro-CT) is proposed for low-radiation-dose and high-quality preclinical imaging. This next-generation micro-CT technology will enable longitudinal, non-invasive, and three-dimensional small animal studies for preclinical researchers.

This year’s prizes include:

  • $10,000 – Plastics One Advanced Manufacturing Award for the outstanding tangible product
  • $10,000 – VT KnowledgeWorks Information Technology Award for the outstanding intangible product or service
  • $5,000 – An additional grand prize for one of the two teams that receive the Advanced Manufacturing Award or the Information Technology Award
  • $5,000 – People’s Choice Award sponsored by Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business

For more details about this event, visit our website at www.vtknowledgeworks.com or contact Christine Spalding at 540-443-9100 ext. 3 or via email at christine.spalding@vtknowledgeworks.com.

VT KnowledgeWorks wants to thank our generous sponsors of the Global Entrepreneurship Challenge Semifinals including Plastics One Inc., Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, and Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business.

Keep in the know about VT KnowledgeWorks through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

VT KnowledgeWorks

VT KnowledgeWorks encourages and enables creative entrepreneurship world-wide, through innovative curriculum, local business resource centers, and a global network of cooperating regions, all focused on three essential contributors to success: clear understanding of fundamental business principles; access to timely, relevant information; and meaningful personal and corporate relationships. It is a subsidiary of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, supported by the continuing confidence and enthusiasm of its clients, sponsors and friends, both corporate and individual. Its world headquarters are in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.

VT KnowledgeWorks Sponsors

Automation Creations, Inc., BAE Systems, BB&T, The Branch Group, Inc., Brown, Edwards & Company, LLP, CIT GAP Funds, City of Roanoke, Fox 21/27, G.J. Hopkins, Inc., Interactive Achievement, Inc., Meridium, Montgomery County, Virginia Economic Development Department, National Bank, New River Valley Intellectual Property Law, Plastics One Inc., Rackspace, Shentel, SimulTV, SunTrust Bank , TechLab, Third Security, Town of Blacksburg, Town of Christiansburg, Union First Market Bank, UXB International, Inc., Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Virginia Tech’s Outreach and International Affairs, VPT, Inc, Wordsprint

Jim Flowers Interviewed by DCInno

jim_flowersThis interview, by Ethan Bukoweic, originally appeared in DCInno on March 9, 2015.

So, you want to launch a startup?

Of course you’ve got a disruptive idea and a solid business plan that’s going to lead to success — and hopefully some money. But have you thought about what type of people you want to build a team with, where you’re going to base your operations, or how to pursue outside investment?

Where do you go to find all of these answers? You go to the experts.

Virginia Tech has displayed a dedication to startup success over the years, and VT KnowledgeWorks, a subsidiary of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, is one of the many initiatives the university has put in place to promote entrepreneurship.

The incubator/accelerator combines innovative curriculum, local business resource centers, a global network of cooperating regions and expert business minds to help navigate ventures from a startup launch to ongoing growth.

With 40 years of experience as a senior executive and consultant for tech companies, Jim Flowers currently screens new companies for admission to the VT KnowledgeWorks program and is the principal counselor for member companies as they plan and execute their launch.

It’s safe to say he is a good authority on what it takes to build a company from the ground up.

DC Inno was able to catch up with Flowers and pick his brain regarding what it takes to launch a successful startup. The advice is so good we thought about keeping it to ourselves, but that wouldn’t be fair.

Here’s Flowers’ take on the importance of alignment, the benefits of becoming a member at an incubator/accelerator, and the pitfalls of putting on your “moxie goggles.”

Ethan Bukowiec: How does a potential startup recognize its market value and what can it do to capitalize on a business opportunity?

Jim Flowers: You need to start by asking, “What is a market?” A market is a population with a situation. And if you want something that is high value and easy to exploit, it’s really handy if the population is bounded (you know who’s in and who’s out), addressable (once you know who’s in you can talk to them somehow), and growing. Now on the other side of that, the situation that applies to a population is a big deal because you have been handed the “easy button” if the situation is compelling.

If you have to convince the population that they have a situation, then you have two sales to make. First, you have to convince them that they have a problem and then you have to solve it for them.

What you really want to do is find a place in the market where you can put your fist through the drywall. You can put your fist through the drywall and then rip away at it until you can fit through.

Once you have got a population, the next thing you need to do is come up with a magical way to make them choose you and make a profit out of it. You have to have a sustainable, profitable competitive advantage that you can then exploit.

EB: What should be taken into consideration when building your team in preparation for a launch?

JF: There are some really important things to consider here. One is you have to decide whether you are going to have partners or employees — or some combination — because they are radically different relationships. A partner is yours forever unless you pay them a whole lot of money to go away. You have to make that decision as part of the question, “Why am I doing this and what are my own personal aspirations?”

Once you’ve decided that, then the second thing is that you assemble a team of people with complementary skillsets and points of view. Having complementary skillsets and points of view are necessary to avoid silly mistakes, and you can leverage each person’s strengths.

The next thing you have got to do is look at your team’s alignment with your overall objectives. Everyone needs to be reasonably aligned as to your image of success so that anything done on an individual level benefits the whole team. Team chemistry is obviously also a big deal, but nonetheless people hire resumes instead of people and then they have to fire the person.

The idea is generally accepted that the odds of success go up as you add people to the startup team, up to about 5 people. After that they don’t go up because you really don’t have a small team anymore – you’ve got an organization. This brings organizational challenges right at the beginning, which is tough.

EB: What advice can you give to early-stage company executives as they pursue outside investment?

JF: As soon as you take one dollar of someone else’s money, your job is to sell the company. When you take out an investment, you are selling a part of the company at that moment and you need to understand that you are now positioning yourself and your shareholders for an exit. People who put any serious money in do not love you; they see you as a path to profits.

If your purposes for starting a company are not aligned with your investors’ desires, then you’re going to have big problems with each other along the way. A lot of startup execs think of investment as a donation to their own personal aspirations, rather than realizing their goal is to make the investors rich. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s something you need to be aware of.

EB: What are the key factors to consider when deciding where to base your company’s operations?

JF: The most interesting thing about this goes back to the founders’ aspirations for starting the company. You need to be able to answer the question, “Why are you doing this?” For example, if you’ve got a dream of living at the seashore and you think you will be involved with a venture for a long time; you better locate your company at the seashore. That may cause you some other problems. There may not be labor force at the seashore. Does your labor force need to be near you? From a pure geographic standpoint, if part of your personal aspiration is geographically constrained, that’s OK, but it means that some other constraints will be in place as a consequence, and you have to take that into consideration.

If you are not geographically constrained, you obviously want to locate yourself where it’s easiest to get the resources you need to build the company or to get to the clients you are trying to sell to. We all need accessibility and strategic resources. If you need a whole bunch of programmers and you want to talk to them every day, then you better locate yourself somewhere you can hire programmers.

Make sure that you are not out of line with your personal aspirations. The largest single risk factor in small-scale startups is the startup team. If you don’t acknowledge what you want, you will do a lot of confusing things, and the same is true of your team. I like to say that self-awareness is a very big deal for startup teams. What are you really trying to do?

EB: How should startups approach an exit or acquisition?

JF: When you are trying to exit, the other guy has to see a value that he can extract downstream or he won’t pay you for it. You are probably going to get more money from someone who sees your company as a strategic building block to something larger than from somebody who just wants to milk it as a cash cow. Understanding why somebody would want to buy your product has a great deal to do with your valuation expectations and your ability to negotiate. It’s also really good to have more than one suitor.

Remember, there are also different things that happen to you when you exit. Some exits will lock you up for a while. Some exits want you to go away and never come by again. Some exits have to do with the acquirer just shutting down your company because you are a pain to his ventures.

It helps to broaden your network to include people with acquisition experience who can tell you their war stories. Smart people do smart stuff if they have the right information.

EB: What are the mistakes you see companies make as they expand after early success?

JF: The classic one is that the startup management team doesn’t know how to behave as a growth management team — they just don’t have the skillset. There’s really a difference between entrepreneurship and management. A whole lot of entrepreneurs get in trouble when they try to behave the same way they’ve been behaving even though the company is 10 times bigger. Some companies do a really good job of transitioning to growth, but most of them should really handoff management duties to somebody else. What often happens is that when you dilute the core team you end up with a quality drop-off. And you can only lose your reputation once.

EB: What are the benefits of becoming involved with a startup incubator/accelerator?

JF: There’s the old saying that, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” But I read a blog one time that said, “Who you know IS what you know.” Your network gives you access to information that you would not otherwise have, and it’s filtered by a human and not by Google.

Google is a perfectly good way of getting a lot of information, but Google never had to perform in that market space the way a human did. And so you get filtered stories.

It’s not networking to find people to tell you what to do or not do; it’s networking to find people who have information that will permit you to make a better decision. You get perspective out of that network. The networks allow you to make better decisions and, particularly accelerators, often have access to a network that will help you sell your product. The ability to get beyond yourself with a well-structured network is a big, big deal.

Incubators in the classic sense were started out of economic development — a community incubator to help promote businesses in a town. Accelerators are specifically profit based. It’s different from an incubator trying to create jobs for XYZ, Va. There’s a different motivation. There’s a different mindset. There’s a different team on board. An incubator usually has a manager and they’ve got some local mentors around, but those people could be running tire stores. Some of the things that incubators used to cluster together in terms of logistics just don’t matter anymore.

EB: What is the one piece of advice all startups/early-stage businesses should live by?

JF: The market is always right. And the competition is not stupid. There are people who are so in love with what they’ve invented that they cannot be convinced that not everyone is going to want it. There are still people that think the market is stupid but will come around to their idea, and they think the competition won’t respond when they show up in the marketplace. They think, “We can beat these guys on price, so we’ll do that.” But when the competitor cuts the price, what are you going to do?

A common mistake is what I call “moxie goggles” — it’s kind of like tunnel vision. You’re so excited about your stuff that you refuse to see information that does not conform to your preferred view of the universe. The simple one is the market is always right. Never forget that.

Image via Jim Flowers

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VT KnowledgeWorks

VT KnowledgeWorks encourages and enables creative entrepreneurship world-wide, through innovative curriculum, local business resource centers, and a global network of cooperating regions, all focused on three essential contributors to success: clear understanding of fundamental business principles; access to timely, relevant information; and meaningful personal and corporate relationships. It is a subsidiary of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, supported by the continuing confidence and enthusiasm of its clients, sponsors and friends, both corporate and individual. Its world headquarters are in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.

VT KnowledgeWorks Sponsors

Automation Creations, Inc., BAE Systems, BB&T, The Branch Group, Inc., Brown, Edwards & Company, LLP, CIT GAP Funds, City of Roanoke, Fox 21/27, G.J. Hopkins, Inc., Interactive Achievement, Inc., Meridium, Montgomery County, Virginia Economic Development Department, National Bank, New River Valley Intellectual Property Law, Phoenix Packaging Operations, Plastics One Inc., Rackspace, Shentel, SunTrust Bank , TechLab, Third Security, Town of Blacksburg, Town of Christiansburg, Union First Market Bank, UXB International, Inc., Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Virginia Tech’s Outreach and International Affairs, VPT, Inc, Wordsprint

Announcing the 2015 Big Launch Challenge

The Launch Place, an established entrepreneurial development organization headquartered in Danville, Virginia, and First Flight Venture Center, the largest technology incubator in the Research Triangle, North Carolina, have come together once again to host a contest with two awards totaling up to $20,000 for first place and up to $10,000 for second.

The Big Launch Challenge is open to early-stage Virginia-based and North Carolina-based companies

This year’s challenge will feature a total of two elimination rounds with the live final pitch event to be held on May 19, 2015, starting at 1p.m., at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville, Virginia.

The Big Launch Challenge is open to these industries:

  • Nano Technology
  • Green Technology
  • Alternative Energy
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Advanced Materials
  • Medical Devices
  • Information Technology

Participants must also:

  • Have fewer than 10 employees
  • Have a physical product to develop
  • A willigness to locate a part of the operations/manufacturing for this business in Danville, VA
  • A willingness to receive mentorship and guidance from The Launch Place and First Flight Venture Center teams

In its second year, The Big Launch Challenge provides entrepreneurs with the best possible resources – including education, networking, team creation, mentorship, early-stage prototyping, and potential follow-on seed financing – to help turn innovative ideas into real business.

“This competition promotes creative technology-related ideas and helps entrepreneurs gain both experience and exposure for taking their business ideas forward,” said Larry Dickinson, 3F LLC, the winner of the first Big Launch Challenge.

The registration deadline is March 31, 2015.

Register now for The Big Launch

Keep in the know about VT KnowledgeWorks through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

VT KnowledgeWorks

VT KnowledgeWorks encourages and enables creative entrepreneurship world-wide, through innovative curriculum, local business resource centers, and a global network of cooperating regions, all focused on three essential contributors to success: clear understanding of fundamental business principles; access to timely, relevant information; and meaningful personal and corporate relationships. It is a subsidiary of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, supported by the continuing confidence and enthusiasm of its clients, sponsors and friends, both corporate and individual. Its world headquarters are in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.

VT KnowledgeWorks Sponsors

Automation Creations, Inc., BAE Systems, BB&T, The Branch Group, Inc., Brown, Edwards & Company, LLP, CIT GAP Funds, City of Roanoke, Fox 21/27, G.J. Hopkins, Inc., Interactive Achievement, Inc., Meridium, Montgomery County, Virginia Economic Development Department, National Bank, New River Valley Intellectual Property Law, Phoenix Packaging Operations, Plastics One Inc., Rackspace, Shentel, SunTrust Bank , TechLab, Third Security, Town of Blacksburg, Town of Christiansburg, Union First Market Bank, UXB International, Inc., Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Virginia Tech’s Outreach and International Affairs, VPT, Inc, Wordsprint