Four UA teams qualify in Venture Labs event

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 75 views 

The University of Arkansas is the first institution to have four teams win a qualifying competition for the Venture Labs Investment Competition.

In 2012, the UA was the first school to have three teams qualify.

Venture Labs organizers bill the event as the “Super Bowl of business competitions.”

“I thought that record was unlikely to be broken,” said Carol Reeves, associate vice provost for entrepreneurship and a professor in the department of management at the Sam M. Walton College of Business. “This is a tremendous accomplishment for our students. We are extremely grateful to the numerous individuals who have made this possible, in particular the former students and community entrepreneurs who give extraordinary amounts of their time to prepare these teams for competition.”

The four qualifying UA teams, in alphabetical order, are:
• EverClean Coating Solutions LLC, which has created a self-cleaning coating technology for solar panels that improves efficiency. The team won the Walmart Better Living Business Plan Challenge regional competition in March. The regional winners advanced to the final rounds, scheduled for April 18-19 at the company’s home office in Bentonville.

• HomeDx, which is working to develop the first over-the-counter influenza test that will be distributed through large retail channels. The team took first place in the graduate division at the Global New Venture Competition the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

• ParadigMed LLC, which manufactures a cost-effective device for adult male circumcision in an outpatient setting, which addresses challenges associated with reducing the heterosexual transmission rate of HIV globally, primarily in Africa. ParadigMed advanced to the finals at two competitions this year: the Spirit of Enterprise Graduate Business Competition at the University of Cincinnati and the IBK Capital-Ivey Business Plan Competition at the University of Western Ontario in Canada.

• Picasolar, which has developed a patent-pending process to improve the efficiency of solar cells. Picasolar took the $20,000 grand prize at the IBK Capital-Ivey Business Plan Competition and finished third at the Stu Clark Investment Competition, hosted by the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.

The teams formed in the New Venture Development graduate course taught by Reeves, holder of the Cecil and Gwendolyn Cupp Applied Professorship in Entrepreneurship in the Walton College.

The University of Arkansas has fielded competitive graduate student teams at state, regional, national, and international business plan competitions since 2002. During the past decade, students have almost won $1.4 million in cash at these competitions.

In the 2010 Venture Labs competition, U of A teams BiologicsMD and Silicon Solar Solutions finished first and second runner-up, respectively. In 2009, the university’s Tears for Life team placed second runner-up.

Now in its 30th year, Venture Labs — formerly known as Moot Corp — was the first business plan competition when it began in 1984. Forty teams of student entrepreneurs from around the world will pitch their “investor-ready” ideas to local entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts.

They are competing for prizes that include: a total cash prize of $78,000; an invitation to close the NASDAQ OMX Stock Market on June 11; hosting and cloud services worth $24,000; and an Austin Technology Incubator Launch Package valued at $25,000.