Entrepreneurship@BU Newsletter: March 2012

View From The Trenches

Meet the 4 Finalists in the $50K Competition

Written by James Newton, GSM ’12

This whole process has given me time to focus on my idea with incredibly helpful feedback from my mentors. While winning the money would be extremely helpful, this entire experience, win or lose, has been an incredible one. I am entrepreneurship major looking to make an impact in the startup scene and eventually the venture capital world. To get help through the process of fine-tuning an idea into plan ready to be executed has been an invaluable experience. 

$50K Finalist Daniel Gnecco 
KontrolTV, SMG ’12

city fuel company

City Fuel Company – Diego Torres-Palma, PEMBA ’13

Diego Torres-Palma, PEMBA ’13, and Matthew Pearlson, MIT ’11, are no strangers to starting a business. Shortly after finishing their undergraduate degrees, the two launched a line of bow ties under the company OoOTie Boston Bow Ties. A favorite of Kenn Elmore, Dean of Students, OoOties was the beginning of a long-standing business partnership that now has led to their establishment City Fuel Company.

City Fuel Company is small scale fuel production technology that tries to eliminate some of the problems in the bio fuel area by combining proven technologies with the right production facilities to match local feed stock resources. The company aims to put Massachusetts at the leading edge of renewable energy and transportation technology, while creating jobs and reducing the state’s dependence on foreign sources of fuel. In forming the company, Diego and Matthew brought two very unique and distinct skillsets to the business which has facilitated their launch of the product. Diego’s background in engineering and construction has allowed him to develop the initial design. Meanwhile, Matthew is a chemical engineer who has been working on renewable fuels since 2002 and is currently with a research group specializing in energy efficiency. Continued


kontroltvKontrolTV – Daniel Gnecco, SMG ’12

Daniel Gnecco (SMG ’12) may be the youngest among the four finalists in this April’s New Venture Competition, but he is most certainly not going to be intimidated. No matter how critical the panelists questions may be, the experience will not be nearly as tense as when he pitched his business to billionaire media mogul and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban. For Daniel, he knew he could not let this opportunity go to waste.

“About the time I was applying for the competition, I went to an entrepreneurship conference in Boston where Mark was speaking,” Gnecco recalls. “I pursued him afterwards and pitched him KontrolTV. He was intrigued, kept in touch, and a few weeks ago we completed our first round of financing for KontrolTV’s parent-company, MOVL, and he is now onboard as an investor/advisor.” Continued…


nexgen arraysNeXGen Arrays – Sunmin Ahn, ENG ’12

Microarrays are thousands of tiny little spots on a glass slide that allow researchers to conduct experiments on thousands of samples at once. The process has accelerated research and in the ten years since the human genome has been sequenced, the devices have been instrumental in gathering a wealth of new information and insight on gene expression analysis, disease diagnosis, infectious agents screening. But despite their ability to facilitate these monumental discoveries, protein microarrays have seen little advancements in design and structure over the years-an area that ITEC Finalist NexXGen Arrays seeks to improve.

“One of the biggest hurdles in the advancement of protein microrarrays integrated into the clinical settings as molecular diagnostics is the poor quality control, and the variability of the devices that do not meet the standards of the FDA,” says Sunmin Ahn (ENG ’12). “We have developed a product that will give researchers the ability to give more control of assessing quality and reduce the variability. Our design permits fabrication at a fraction of the cost of readers currently on the market without compromising on performance.” Continued…

stabiliz orthopaedicsStabiliz Orthopaedics – Michael Adelizzi, ENG ’02

To be eligible for the 2012 $50K New Venture Business Plan Competition, entrants must be either a current BU student or have graduated from a BU school within the past 10 years. For Michael Adelizzi (ENG ’02), this was his last opportunity.

“I was too late to enter into the competition last year,” he recalls. “And now, to be among the four finalists in my final year of eligibility, ten years after I graduated, is incredible. I’m thrilled that we have made it this far.”

Michael is one of the co-founders of Stabiliz Orthopaedics-a company that focuses on developing orthopaedic medical devices for the treatment of traumatic bone fractures. The company’s primary product is a hybrid metallic-resorbable plate and screw system. The product not only allows surgeons to customize the healing process, it also eliminates the need for future surgeries and reduces overall healthcare costs. Continued…

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