The UCSB Technology Management Program will host the Finals
for the 14th Annual New Venture Competition, in which teams of
student entrepreneurs showcase inventions and business ventures,
this Wednesday at the Corwin Pavilion. The televised event, which
will run from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., will feature six teams of graduate
and undergraduate UCSB students pitching ideas for a marketable
product or business venture. A panel of professionals selected from
both the academic and business communities will judge the teams,
who will be evaluated and ranked based on written submissions, oral
pitches and other marketing strategies. Finalist teams include Asta
Fluidic Technologies, Gain Changer, Komodo Toys, MyConciergeMobile,
Napses and PolySpectra. All groups will compete to win
judge-selected prizes in addition to an audience-selected People’s
Choice Award, and all prizes offer monetary rewards. Stephen
Cooper, a UCSB alumnus in Information Technology and member of the
NVC Steering Committee, said the competition will include ideas
applicable to the real-life worlds of business and venture
capitalism. “Most of the teams have what we call a minimum viable
product,” Cooper said. “They’ve advanced their ideas much past the
preliminary stage. They’re all at a point where they’re ready for
investors.” NVC 2013 first began with an orientation meeting in
November and participants later underwent a process of business
idea generation throughout the same month. During this period,
competitors created a business case for up to five ideas, shown in
separate two-page summaries with brief verbal pitches. The NVC
Steering Committee selected submissions, which then moved onto the
second stage of the competition, in which teams were formed and the
Technology Management Program provided competitors with semi-weekly
morning seminars and advising sessions. On April 24, selected teams
advanced to the semi-finals and presented at the New Venture Fair.
Last year, these semi-finalists were separated into “Tech Push” and
“Market Pull” categories, distinguishing technology-based ventures
from those with a focus primarily centered on marketing. However,
this distinction is absent from this year’s contest. Another change
from NVC 2012 is that this year’s stage for the competition, which
is used by teams presenting their pitches, was moved to the Corwin
Pavilion building, Cooper said. In light of last year’s contest,
Cooper said he is impressed by the groups set to present on
Wednesday and said he feels the competition has generally improved.
“I’m encouraged by the quality of the products that have been
defined this year, compared to what I saw last year,” Cooper said.
“I think that, overall, there’s a number of excellent candidates
for winning the competition.” Mike Panesis, program manager of the
Technology Management Program, said he looks forward to witnessing
the later accomplishments of individuals competing in NVC, as the
competition teaches participants crucial business and networking
skills and has oftentimes produced successful entrepreneurs. “After
the competition, I’m hoping that the students who were involved
will start businesses and find investors and success,” Panesis
said.       A version of this article
appeared on page 3 of May 21st’s print edition of the Daily