Record 4,500 Submissions to U-Michigan 1,000 Pitches

1000pitchesThe 5th annual University of Michigan drew a record 4,500 submissions to its 1,000 Pitches Competition. Organizers announced winners in each of the nine categories. The competition, led by campus organization M-Powered, invites undergrad and grad students to submit 3-minute videos of their technology or business pitch online.

From the organization’s website, the competition was conceived in 2007 by two U-M students and MPowered’s founders, Ashwin L. and Israel V., when they were attending a conference in Silicon Valley. They realized the lack of entrepreneurial passion within their university compared to those in the Bay Area and knew quick changes were needed if Michigan was to keep up. The competition has had the quite the impact. Says Jeremy Klaben, “the 1,000 Pitches competition generates lots of buzz and excitement about entrepreneurship at U-Mich.” We should think so given the entire student body is 45,000 in enrollment!

To read more about this year’s results, visit the U-Mich website. To see the video submissions, go to the 1,000 Pitches website.

~ Humera Fasihuddin, Manager of Student Programming, T: @ihumera

Biomedical Innovation at the University of Southern California

Here at USC, technology innovation and inter-departmental collaboration is a big priority.  Recently, the Coulter foundation granted $5M to USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering, Keck School of Medicine, and Stevens Institute for Innovation as part of their Coulter Translational Research Partnership Program.  As far as I can tell, a large chunk of this money is going to go towards developing devices aimed at problems in pediatric medicine.  Of worthy note is the fetal pacemaker being developed by USC’s Medical Device Development Facility, which has potential to assuage symptoms related to several structural defects while still in utero.

Perhaps influenced by these recent developments, there is a palpable call to action in the air around Viterbi and Keck.  I recently met with a group of bright, young undergraduate BME’s working on a much improved chest drain device, of which they plan on submitting to the BMEStart competition and E-team grants.  Students within Viterbi and Keck’s nascent Health, Technology, and Engineering program are working hard to seek out real-world problems and design solutions with the market in mind.  The NCIIA is sure to see a lot of action from that group over the next few years.

There is a lot of new collaboration happening between Viterbi and Keck, and many of these new relationships will result in impactful technology.  The NCIIA can count on many of these new technologies appearing in their competitions.

University of Tennessee Health Science Center- Making Memphis a Hotbed for Entrepreneurial Success

When you think about entrepreneurship, technology, start-up companies, and venture capital, there are several areas in the United States that come to mind: West coast cities such as San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, San Diego; east coast cities such as Boston, New York, Washington DC. Rarely, and certainly only within the past few years, would a city such as Memphis, Tennessee, ever be considered.

Recently, The Wall Street Journal published its interactive map showcasing the areas that have gained venture capital within the first six months of 2011. I was excited and pleased to see that Memphis had a dot on the map. While this might not seem like a big deal, since moving to Memphis, I have seen and learned that many people and organizations have poured their time and resources into making Memphis a viable community for start-up companies.

While procuring funds is an important part of a region’s entrepreneurial success, it is only a small part of the whole. To build a practical network for new company expansion, Memphis will need inspiration from universities, cooperation from companies, and successful mentors that are willing to dedicate their time and knowledge.

Everyone in the community, from student researchers to venture capitalists, has applied themselves diligently to create a space for new companies to grow and succeed. I believe it is imperative to the future of our local economy to pool our resources and continue the hard work. Being placed on The Wall Street Journal Map is an achievement in which Memphis should be proud.

~Dee Helton, Student Ambassador at UT Health Science Center


Upcoming Events for Memphis:

Business Model Bootcamp- September 24, 2011; 8:30am – 3:30pm

More information:

Tech Cocktails- September 28, 2011; 5:30pm-8pm

Location: Bhan Thai

Memphis Research and Innovation Expo- October 6, 2011; 9am – 4pm

More information:

Redefining the University & Entrepreneur’s Definition of Innovation.

When you google innovation, the definition pops up as “the introduction of something new” or “a new idea, method, or device.” Sure. But I see the NCIIA as able to challenge students to truly innovate. To take their freedom at academia and imagine the non-existing, mess around and see what happens, or apply two polar opposites in the same thought.

Today, we’re seeing lots of new products and ideas- but many are combinations of preexisting ideas with a twist or an existing application tried in a new environment.

As an Ambassador, my NCIIA Invention to Venture event will have an opening night called NYU Ambition. I’m out to reawaken and engage dreamers- students with ideas that society might make them feel are unrealistic or too hard to accomplish.

My goal this year is to ignite discussion and better understanding of the definition of innovation and how our University is faring from all angles…while simultaneously providing students the resources to take action and get rolling.

Vivek Wadhma recently tweeted something I agree with…

So how about we start considering innovation as the unknown- and allow ourselves to reach for it? I will be contemplating and working to initiate more ways for schools, governments, and businesses to provide more fertile grounds for innovation.

And if you’re still worried about Silicon Valley having it all, this chunk from Fred Wilson’s blog should ease your worries and inspire you:

“The entire world is now a rival to Silicon Valley. No country, state, region, nor city has a lock on innovation in technology anymore. The Internet has made this so and there’s no going back. We will see Apples and Facebooks get build in China, India, Brazil, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and plenty of other places.”

But please, spread the word that technology is not limited to internet startups,  that Universities are the place to experiment and start research or a company because of the freedom, support and resources available, and lastly- that you don’t need to be in or near a “hub-” you can start your own overnight!

Samantha Smith

Columbia University – Resources for Inventors and Innovators

Photo via Jonathan Bell/flickr. Original photo at

So you’re a student with an idea for a start-up or invention. What do you do next?  The technology transfer office at your university will be one of your most valuable resources. At Columbia University, Tech Ventures helps launch an average of 10-12 start-up companies each year and can provide students and faculty with entrepreneurial resources. They can answer specific questions about your proposed idea or work with you to brainstorm about a potential business model. The Columbia Technology Ventures office ( will help you get started and will connect you to a wide array of resources at Columbia and in New York City. For more information about Tech Ventures at Columbia University, visit

What do you do after that? Get involved in local networking and entrepreneurial events to exchange ideas and potentially meet future investors.

Upcoming entrepreneurial events in New York City and Columbia University:

NYC Department of Defense (DoD) SBIR/STTR funding proposal workshop | Friday, September 9, 2011 | 8:30AM – 3:30PM | Levin Institute, 116 East 55th Street

Riverside chats: Anthony “Tony” Coyle, Pfizer Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of the Centers for Therapeutic Innovation (CTI) | Tuesday, September 13, 2011 | 6:00PM – 7:30PM | Location will be provided upon registration

Columbia networking night for entrepreneurs | Thursday, September 15, 2011 | 6:30PM – 8:30PM | Columbia University Club of New York, 15 West 43rd Street, New York City

Patents 101: Everything you always wanted to know about patents | Wednesday, September 21, 2011 | 12:30PM – 1:30PM | Columbia University, Morningside Campus, Uris 333

~ Dmitriy Timerman, Student Ambassador at Columbia University
Read more