Four of NC State’s Fast 15 New Ventures have Poole College Jenkins MBA Roots
Friday, Jun 29, 2012
Four of the first group of Fast 15 award recipients selected through NC State’s Springboard Initiative got their start with a bit of help from students in the Poole College of Management’s Jenkins MBA program.
Those four are Oryx Bio, Polymer Braille, VaporPulse, and Xanofi. View the complete list of this first group of Fast 15 recipients, awarded in fall 2012, and the application process for 2013 candidates, on NC State’s Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) website.
Fast 15 is an NC State initiative focused on launching and supporting new ventures that present the most compelling business opportunities based on faculty and student research discoveries and creativity. It is one of the resources available through OTT’s New Venture Services as it works to increase the number of NC State-based start-up companies.
Industry leaders and entrepreneurs assist the university community in selecting projects for the NC State Fast 15, which then helps recipients reach their full potential by providing mentoring by experienced entrepreneurs, business launch planning, executive searches, and visibility to help attract interest from investors and prospective early stage stakeholders, said Russell Thomas, New Venture Services director.
Before the new technologies reach the Fast 15 selection committee, though, they need a plan for turning the technology into a new business venture. “Applicants should have a validated business case and a team that strongly desires to make their venture a success,” Thomas said. (See the application website.)
Thomas and other OTT staff work with several entrepreneurship-focused units at NC State: the Engineering Entrepreneurship Program, the Entrepreneurship Initiative and its Garage and eGames, The Entrepreneurship Collaborative based in Poole College, the NC State Incubator, and others.
Four of the inaugural Fast 15 recipients came through the Jenkins MBA program’s technology entrepreneurship and commercialization concentration – HiTEC for short. In this concentration, MBA and NC State graduate students in science and engineering assess new technologies developed at NC State, other University of North Carolina system universities, and other institutions. By the end of this three-course sequence, the students will have written business plans and developed pitches and presentations for the technologies with the greatest likelihood of success as new business start-ups.
The HiTEC concentration – and its connections with the VC and entrepreneurial community – is one part of The Entrepreneurship Collaborative (TEC) in Poole College, which recently launched a new website showcasing its entrepreneurship education, engagement and research activities.
Read more about the Fast 15 ventures with Poole College HiTEC roots.
- Oryx Bio got it start as the Ligamar HiTEC team in 2008. Oryx Bio has developed a unique combination of compounds and filtration devices that provide faster, cheaper and better ways to separate and purify protein therapeutics, including monoclonal antibodies and vaccines. CEO Joe Magno joined the team in 2011 and led the asset acquisition of Ligamar in 2012, including the bundling of new intellectual property and establishment of new management team. Oryx is seeking early stage investment to manufacture and market its first commercial product. The team is currently in negotiations with co-development partners.
- Polymer Braille is developing a tablet e-reader for the blind using a new tactile display generated from a combination of micro-robotics and electroactive polymers. This new device will offer a tremendous advancement in Braille readers, including the creation of multi-line performance capabilities and eventually enabling tactile mapping capabilities for greater mobility. Jenkins MBA alumnus Will Mears was on the HiTEC team that worked with this technology and is continuing his involvement with this start-up. See related story on the Jenkins MBA website.
- VaporPulse is commercializing a platform technology for applying nanocoatings to products in a variety of markets including healthcare, energy, defense, textiles, and packaging. This technology was chosen for an award from the Chancellors Innovation Fund in 2011. From this funding the research team successfully achieved a proof of concept with a potential strategic partner that demonstrated a greater than 5X performance improvement in UV protection on products used in outdoor environments. Jenkins MBA alumnus Chris Oldham was on the HiTEC team working with this technology and is continuing his involvement with this start-up.
- Xanofi produces nanofibers in a unique, liquid-based process that holds great potential for numerous markets. Their proprietary technology – called XanoShear – enables a significant production advantage over current electrospinning and meltblowing methods. Xanofi has multiple commercial customers and are growing rapidly. Jenkins MBA alumni continuing their involvement with the company are Pete Geiser, serving as vice president of product development, and Tanveer Kahn, Adam Loftin and Moss Withers. Their board members include Roger Debo, TEC director; Raj Narayan, associate director of NC State’s Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology, and Science and a HiTEC alumnus; and Miles Wright, TEC executive in residence and Xanofi chief executive officer.