By Mark Dwortzan
Gathered in the Photonics Center Colloquium Room on April 20, three teams comprised primarily of graduate students and alumni from the College of Engineering (ENG) and Graduate School of Management (GSM) vied for top honors in the $15K Business Plan Competition, the main attraction at the ninth annual Boston University Technology Entrepreneurship Night. Organized by the Technology Entrepreneurship Club, the evening event drew students from across the campus to explore opportunities to develop businesses that leverage leading-edge technology research at BU.
Sponsored by ENG, GSM’s Institute for Technology Entrepreneurship & Commercialization, the BU Student Association of Graduate Engineers, the intellectual property law firm Sunstein, Kann, Murphy & Timbers LLP, and Dominion Capital, this year’s Technology Entrepreneurship Night featured a panel discussion on life sciences technologies presented by entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, attorneys and other professionals with firsthand expertise on how to develop products and apply technology to target specific needs. The panel discussion was followed by final round presentations of the $15K competition and a networking dinner.
Selected earlier from 109 teams representing every BU school and college, as well as some entrants from MIT and Northeastern University, the three $15K finalists were judged on the quality and feasibility of their engineering designs, marketing plans and teamwork.
The winning team, GreenWake, aims to help firms in the trucking industry to save money on fuel expenses through a rear attachment that promises to significantly improve fuel consumption. GreenWake’s founders, Price Williams, Alex Migel and Adam Taylor—all first-year GSM students with engineering backgrounds—plan to incorporate their company, raise additional funds and grow the idea into a real and profitable business.
The other two finalists were NexGen Arrays (ENG postdocs Carlos Lopez (PhD’07), David Freedman (PhD’10) and Philip Spuhler (PhD’12); and 2013 ENG PhD candidates Sunmin Ahn, Margo Monroe, Alex Reddington and George Daaboul), which is developing protein microarrays to boost the efficiency of clinical diagnostic devices; and TR Aeronautics (Ryan Hunter (CSE’11), Northeastern University alum Brent Sarcone, Dante Leone (SMG’11), Dane Sarcone (Aero’11) and Gozde Guckaya (MS, EE’13)), which plans to develop a “vertical axis” wind turbine that boosts power generation and operates in a wide range of wind conditions.
“The idea behind the $15K Competition and Technology and Entrepreneurship Night is to not only give students an opportunity to get funding and advice to get their idea off the ground, but more importantly to create a framework where they can learn how do it from industry experts and other entrepreneurs,”said Mikhail Gurvich (EE’07, GSM’12), vice president of fundraising for the Technology Entrepreneurship Club (TEC) and the $15K Competition. Founder and CIO of ClickFact Inc., a web security and analytics firm, and co-founder of ZepInvest.com, one of the largest aggregators of paid financial content, Gurvich organized the event with TEC and $15K Competition co-presidents Ghassan Kara (BME ’13) and Stefano Tasso (EE ’13).