With the holidays fast approaching and the UC Berkeley community heading off on winter break, now is the time to finalize your team and get the idea wheel churning. The UC Berkeley Startup Competition (Bplan) and Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) are accepting executive summaries in late January. Bplan and GSVC have been working hard the past couple of months to get the word out about the Competitions and help like-minded entrepreneurs connect and form teams.
GSVC is a truly global competition that accepts applicants from all over the world. Teams from the Americas wishing to enter the Competition must submit a three-page executive summary no later than Wednesday, January 30, 2013. Each GSVC team must include at least one graduate-level student of any discipline, from any university (either a current student or one who graduated within the past two years). Detailed information on rules and submission criteria can be found on the Competition website (www.gsvc.org).
Celebrating its 15th year, Bplan promotes entrepreneurial aspirations a little closer to home. Teams are required to have at least one member affiliated with either UC Berkeley or UC San Francisco (i.e., current student, alumna, faculty or staff). The Bplan submission requirements were updated last year to better reflect the current realities of the startup world and provide even more support for promising entrepreneurs. For the executive summary round, each entering team must submit a one-page overview of the business, a one-page team description and two versions of a business model canvas. Materials are due on Thursday, January 31, 2013. Competition rules and details can be found on the Bplan website.
Bplan and GSVC are exciting endeavors for anyone interested in launching a company, as they provide a valuable opportunity to develop your business idea, flesh out the key elements of your venture, and hone a successful pitch to deliver in front of venture capital judges. One of the most consistent pieces of positive feedback we receive each year is the opportunity for mentorship by successful entrepreneurs and business leaders in the teams’ given industry.
Congratulations to the Spill team on their first place GSVC 2012 win
Back to the Roots won the Bplan 2012 Products and Services Track Award and the People's Choice Award
We wish all of the teams the best of luck with their executive summaries and look forward to receiving them next month. If you have any questions about the executive summary guidelines, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Lester Center is excited to announce four newly admitted startups to the UC Berkeley Startup Accelerator at Skydeck. Skydeck is focused on helping startups that have at least a usable product prototype and have done some testing with customers to help accelerate them to scalability.
Companies were selected by a panel of angel investors and venture capitalists to join Skydeck. The recent Pitch Day was hosted by Andre Marquis, Executive Director of the Lester Center, Jeff Burton, Executive Director of Skydeck, and the MBA full-time Haas Venture Fellows team. The group was joined by over a dozen top angels and venture capitalists from the Bay Area, including Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), Mohr Davidow Ventures (MDV), and Opus Capital, among others.
The Haas Venture Fellows narrowed the initial applicant pool down from over 40 companies to the final ten who pitched for a spot at Skydeck. At the end of the Pitch Day, the VCs and angels selected four new startups to enter into the Skydeck Accelerator in February 2013. Entrepreneurs hailed from across UC Berkeley including the School of Information, Bioengineering, and the Haas School of Business, representing industries spanning from digital commerce, energy, and wine making.
The new class includes:
The new companies join 14 current Skydeck inhabitants who were selected in two prior rounds over the last year. These include: Berkeley Energy Sciences Corporation (BESC), Building Robotics, Ensighta, Healthy Labs, GoMake.It, Go Overseas, Intelligent Obstetrics, Intellivents, Kloudless, Picatcha, Wallit, and 1947 Partition Archive.
Skydeck offers premium, fully equipped office space in the heart of downtown Berkeley, with excellent transit options and close proximity to campus. There is ample conference, meeting, and event space, not to mention stunning 360° views of the Bay and Hills. By offering shared space to diverse teams, Skydeck is a new and powerful startup ecosystem with cross campus institutional support.
The Lester Center extends a warm welcome and congratulations to these new admits!
Lester Center Faculty Member Peter Molloy is quite busy these days. Not only does he have to contend with his teaching duties here at Haas, but last month he became President of La Terra Fina, a leading dip and quiche manufacturer in Union City.
Offering an innovative twist on the dips and spreads category, the company has taken antioxidant rich vegetables and mixed them with high fiber lentils and beans to create the next generation of flavorful dips with better-for-the-consumer nutritional profiles.
Peter brings a wealth of industry experience and knowledge to his new role. Formerly, he was President and principal owner of the Farmhouse Foods Company, a rice and pasta foods company, based in Union City. He bought the company from Nestle in 1991 and sold it to General Mills in 1999. In 2006, as a consultant, he led the sale of another food company, Mozzarella Fresca to a large cheese company in France.
Peter’s new role is not only exciting for him, but will provide great benefit to the undergraduate students in his Entrepreneurship class. "I believe running a small entrepreneurial company will give my students a better understanding of real world tools used in today's business environment," he reflects. Having taught at Haas since 1999, Peter has been on the Lester Center faculty team since 2008. He
is also on the Advisory Board of the Young Entrepreneurs at Haas (YEAH) program where he has served as a judge at their business plan presentations several times.
Founded in 1983, La Terra Fina, meaning “the good earth” in Italian, produces a wide range of all-natural, ready-to-eat refrigerated quiches and dips rich in flavor and high in quality. Its products are sold in supermarkets, club stores, and specialty grocery retailers nationwide. Check them out at www.LaTerraFina.com or www.facebook.com/LaTerraFina.
We recently had a chance to catch-up with Steve Hahn, Research Fellow at Dow Chemical Company, and Chair of the International Committee on the Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) Advisory Board. This interview was conducted by fellow Advisory Board member Jennifer Walske, who also serves as the Faculty Director of the GSVC through December of this year.
Q: Steve – you are involved with quite a few activities at UC Berkeley. Why Berkeley?
A: UC Berkeley is unique in its depth and breadth. This includes both technical competencies, in the area of chemistry and energy, as well as commercialization competencies through such centers as the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship, within Haas, and the Product Development Program with Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.
Q: Dow Chemical Company is one of America’s oldest companies. How does a company like Dow continue to innovate?
A: Within Dow, what we do best is improve on innovation, delivering superior customer focused solutions. The Ventures and Business Development unit, which I belong to, seeks out disruptive innovation housed by young companies, which Dow will subsequently partner with or acquire.
Q: How has being a scientist made your role within Dow both easier, and more difficult?
A: Being a scientist helps in assessing the technology presented by young entrepreneurs. As a fellow scientist, I can fairly quickly grasp the first pass of the due diligence process, which is based on the technology itself. Where I continue to increase my knowledge is in building better business models. That’s where partnerships with centers like the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship are really helpful.
Q: You recently became the chair of GSVC’s International Committee, within the Advisory Board for the GSVC. What made you decide to assume this role? And what are the challenges for the GSVC in the area of internationalization?
A: A real benefit of our association with the GSVC has been engaging employees within Dow, with those leading the competitions in China, Northern Europe, and of course, the Americas. As it turns out, business plan competitions are very helpful in identifying innovative solutions out of emerging markets, which we might not recognize from a North American or Western European vantage point. Given that a key differentiator of the GSVC is its high level of international engagement from social entrepreneurs, my goal is to ensure that our international stakeholders feel like valued partners.
Q: Within the Lester Center, you support both the Bplan Competition and the GSVC. What does each of these competitions bring to Dow?
A: Bplan has more developed ideas, especially given the advanced medical solutions from UCSF, and the new technology coming from PhD programs across U.C. Berkeley. The GSVC focuses more keenly on social impact but typically has less developed businesses and ideas. Both stages of companies benefit Dow.
Thank you Steve – we are very fortunate to have both your and Dow’s support of our many programs across campus. Here’s to a great 2013 competition season!
Steve Hahn (center) is pictured with Tony Kingsbury, former Executive-In-Residence in the Center for Responsible Business and Bev Alexander, Co-Director of the CleanTech to Market Initiative, also within Haas. The Dow table is joined by entrants in last year’s GSVC Global Finals from China and students leaders with the GSVC at Haas.
While Berkeley-Haas may be best known for its technology startups, it also has a deep portfolio of apparel entrepreneurs. Earlier this month, students, alumni and faculty came together to get a jump on their holiday shopping at the First Annual Haas Holiday Trunk Show.
The idea for a one-stop shopping event came about when Melissa Millan (MBA 13), Founder of Androgyny and Shilpa Shah (MBA 12), Co-Founder of Cuyana met last year in Mark Coppersmith’s Workshop for Startups class. Shilpa was working on growing Cuyana – an innovative e-commerce company designing one-of-a-kind accessory collections, one country at a time. Melissa was working on launching Androgyny – a fit-focused e-tailor offering premium button-up shirts to professional women.
In class, Shilpa and Melissa shared the challenges their businesses faced and the lessons they had learned along the way. One of the major opportunities they identified was gaining greater awareness within the Berkeley-Haas community. They dreamed of having a collaborative selling event where all the apparel entrepreneurs could showcase their offerings. This winter they made their vision a reality.
While Shilpa and Melissa’s brands had the women covered, they needed some help serving the men’s needs. Therefore, they reached out to Albert Shyy (MBA 12), Co-Founder of AlbertMing and Parag Jhaveri (MBA 14), Co-Founder of Hucklebury, to participate. AlbertMing is creating a new custom menswear experience for the modern professional while Hucklebury offers better fitting, high quality clothes for men.
On December 2nd, the four brands joined forces to deliver a delightful one-stop shopping experience to the Berkeley-Haas community. Bagels and mimosas were served high up in the Oakland Hills as students, alumni and faculty came together to support their Berkeley-Haas entrepreneurs while getting a head start on their holiday shopping.
L-R: Sherry Chen (MBA 13 and satisfied customer) poses with Melissa Millan (MBA 13 and Founder of Androgyny) and Shilpa Shah (MBA 12 and Co-Founder of Cuyana) at the Haas Holiday Trunk Show.
Overall, the event was a great success. “Out of every 10 people that walked in, we sold to 7 or 8,” said Parag of Hucklebury. This is only the first of many events to come and we look forward to seeing all of you at an event in the future. In the meantime, we urge you to continue the support of our apparel entrepreneurs by “Gifting Haas” this holiday season!
Get involved with Entrepreneurship and Innovation! The Lester Center's programs offer the inside track on entrepreneurship by bringing entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and other industry leaders to the Haas School and provide opportunities for interaction and the development of entrepreneurial ideas. Please check out the The Lester Center's website to view the wide variety of opportunities.