And the Winner is…ClearBrook Imaging! (Release)

ClearBrook Imaging is $25,000 closer to launching its medical venture after winning the 20th annual New Venture Championship, a business plan competition held by the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship of the University of Oregon.

Sixteen teams of graduate students from universities around the world, including Hong Kong and Thailand, competed in Portland in the three-day competition.  The New Venture Championship, a Forbes magazine top 15 graduate business plan competition, concluded Saturday, April 9.

ClearBrook Imaging

ClearBrook Imaging; Photo by Chelsea Jennings

ClearBrook Imaging is a specialty medical device company that developed intravascular photoacoustic cardiac catheterization imaging technology. ClearBrook’s revolutionary imaging technology can provide cardiologists with the necessary information needed to properly diagnose atherosclerosis and plaque vulnerability.

David Mortellaro, member of ClearBrook, commented about NVC. “It was a fierce competition, and the amount of feedback was almost overwhelming. The interaction between teams and judges was very personal.”

The winner of the New Venture Championship receives an automatic entry to the 2011 Venture Labs Investment Competition, a business plan contest held at The University of Texas at Austin.

The second-place team, aQuainnova from SASIN Institute of Technology at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, received $10,000. aQuainnova has developed tools to detect common viruses in aquaculture. Two runner-up teams, Hemova Medical from Johns Hopkins University and VisiRay from University of Oregon each received $2,500.

NVC Students Relaxing

NVC students enjoying downtime; Photo by Chelsea Jennings

Hemova Medical also won $1,000 for first place in the Tektronix Elevator Pitch competition and CAIR Technologies from University of Manitoba was awarded $1,000 for first place in the Tektronix Trade Show Competition.

Fork in the Road from Portland State University won $1,000 for Best Written Business Plan Award.

In the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN) Lightning Round each of the following won $1,500: Fork In The Road from Portland State University, Kalood from Brigham Young University, Enzium from Carnegie Mellon University and CAIR Technologies from University of Manitoba.

The OEN Lightning Round is a brief, intensive one-on-one session in which competitors must make a “quick” pitch without the help of visual aides. All other OEN Lightning Round competitors received $500.


NVC Model Unlike Others

In January, more than one hundred teams yearned to participate in the 20th annual New Venture Championship. Only 16 teams were chosen to venture to Portland for the Semifinal round in this highly competitive competition, held each April.

Each team in the Semifinal round formally presents their venture plan to an esteemed panel of judges that includes venture capitalists, seasoned business executives and experienced entrepreneurs. Presentations are followed by a hard-hitting question-and-answer session. At the end of the round each team is briefed individually and receives extensive feedback from the judges’ panel, a key element of the New Venture Championship (NVC) learning model.NVC Setup

Only four teams whose ideas and plans stand up to rigorous questioning and scrutiny by the judges will rise to the top. Teams must convince investors and executives that the team’s business plan represents a solid, viable investment opportunity.

While other competitions place restrictions or limitations regarding prize money, NVC awards teams with what they need: cash. The winning team also receives automatic berths to 2011 MOOT CORP competition and 2012 New Venture Championship.

Second place receives $10,000; third place receives $2,500; runner-up team receives $2,000.

The twelve teams not chosen as finalists still have an opportunity to win prize money in the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN) Lightning Round. Here, the quality of their teamwork and ability to adapt is pushed to the limit. Without the use of props or visual aides, the teams make a “quick” pitch to a new panel of judges. The panel identifies strengths and deficiencies within each plan to leverage the strengths and fix the deficiencies. Teams must meet the challenge of doing it all in fifteen minutes.

No PowerPoint, props, charts, or other support materials can be used in the presentation. During the fifteen-minute adjustment period teams may access research information, related materials, laptop computers and other reference items. Teams have access to napkins and pencils in order to illustrate their points.

When asked about the Lightning Round, AE Solutions from Hong Kong, said, “You better be good at drawing.”

Most teams need hundreds of thousands of dollars in capital in order to take their venture to the next level. While $25,000 may seem relatively small, teams value the opportunity to present their ventures to angel investors, entrepreneurs and top executives, who comprise the judging panel and audience members. Not only could your team exit Portland with $25,000, you may find the person or group willing to invest in your venture.

This opportunity is tremendous and this experience is invaluable.

Written by: Nic Corpora

Some Trade Show Contestants

Hors d’œuvres await the teams, faculty members, and attendees of the Tradeshow at the opening night of the NVC competition. From miniature hamburgers, to hummus and cheese cubes, a small bar serving house wine and cocktails, and plenty of competitors awaiting to talk about their products, tonight’s expo is both delicious and informative. Here are a couple of ventures I learned about while walking around the White Stag annex:


Cuddle Clones digitally reproduces pets into a custom-made stuffed animals that distinctly match the detailed features of your pet. Customizing everything from small markings to eye and paw color, Cuddle Clones allows you to bring a stuffed animal looking identical to your real pet anywhere you wish!


An affordable, franchisable grocer on wheels! Fork in the Road works directly with independent wholesalers to reach market space that is currently neglected.




Many more blogs to come about this year’s New Venture Championship! Stay tuned.



Written by: Hannah Moore

Are You Ready For The Next Step?

Teams have submitted their Intents to Compete/Qualifying Executive Summaries and are anxiously waiting to hear if they were one of 20 teams chosen to advance to the semifinal round. On March 10, Oregon NVC will announce the teams selected for the semifinals.

Each plan selected for the semifinal round is evaluated and rated according to the judges’ criteria on the NVC web page. Semifinal plans are then seeded into five tracks with a goal of achieving balanced tracks across all teams. For more information visit the NVC website and FAQ page.

Once teams are chosen for the semifinals, each team is required to submit its business plan by March 24.

As your team waits to hear whether you will advance to the semifinal round, ask yourself, “What steps are we taking to prepare for the round?” Here are some self-evaluation questions for your group to ponder:

  • Are you ready for the next step if selected for the semifinals?
  • What are the areas in which you can most improve?
  • How fluid is your pitch? Would everyday people understand your idea?
  • Is your business plan compelling but thorough?
  • Does your slideshow look appealing and provide judges with the best information?

Always follow the guidelines and requirements posted on the Oregon NVC website.

Written By Nic Corpora

Sponsor Spotlight

At New Venture Championship, sponsors make all the difference between a small-scale competition and the production that we are able to put on. Columbia Sportswear, the title sponsor of NVC, recently displayed its dedication to the competition and educating the students who run it. 

Allen Hall Public Relations and Allen Hall Advertising, student-run agencies based out of the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication, are given an opportunity like no other through NVC. The competition provides students in each of these agencies the chance to gain hands-on experience in the public relations and advertising worlds. Both agencies assemble teams of students to manage NVC’s brand across the media.

A few weeks ago, students on the NVC accounts at AHPR and AHA were granted yet another opportunity to step up to the plate—they were asked to present the competition’s budget to Tim Boyle, CEO of our title sponsor, Columbia Sportswear.

While presenting to Mr. Boyle, it became clear to us that the graduate students who participate in NVC must set aside hours of careful planning for their presentations to the judges. After speaking in front of Mr. Boyle and a room full of peers, I can confidently say that we took away several helpful tips:

  1. 1. Preparation is key. We only had one week to pull together a respectable presentation for Mr. Boyle, so we felt the heat. I can only imagine what NVC hopefuls feel as the anticipation for the competition builds. By outlining a list of talking points and filling in the blanks with your own knowledge of your business plan, you will not sound rehearsed or robotic.
  2. 2. Be mindful of your audience. Presenting to a sponsor of NVC was very similar to what the actual contestants will be doing. Be aware of who you are speaking to, be sure to make plenty of eye contact and allow for questions. Proper annunciation and a steady pace are key, and it is important to avoid commercial-y, sing-song tones.
  3. 3. Anticipate. This point is aimed at the question-and-answer portion of a presentation. At the end of our allotted time, Tim Boyle had several in-depth, thoughtful questions for us about the budget for NVC and where certain funds were going. Although we had not prepared for his level of interest in what we were saying, we knew the account well enough to field any fly balls. For those presenting at NVC, it is crucial to brainstorm ahead of time about what might be asked of you and your idea so you can prepare the best possible response.

In addition to Columbia, other NVC’s other sponsors are Tektronix, Blue Star Gas, Kryptiq and Oregon Entrepreneurs Network. Each sponsor is affiliated with a particular round of the competition, and its employees and executives are encouraged to attend each event. NVC looks forward to future partnerships with these sponsors, and is excited about potential opportunities for new companies to join the team!

Written By Nicole Hyslop

Q&A With Mark Wall, Adjunct Professor at University of Oregon School of Business

Before Mark Wall became a professor at U of O, he was an MBA student trying to take his career to the next level. In his first year, Wall joined Aqua Essence, a team competing in the New Venture Championship whose product used nano-molecules to strip arsenic out of drinking water.

Q: What events led to your decision to pursue your MBA?

I was an environmental consultant for 13 years: five years as a private consultant and eight years as an environmental manager with Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB).  I wanted a career change in 2001 and faced a tough job market. I couldn’t compete for jobs against others who had an MBA. I lived in Eugene and it was an opportunity to improve my employability.

Q: Why did you decide to enter the New Venture Championship?

My experience was unique. I was a first-year MBA student with experience in the water industry. Aqua Essence was looking for fresh eyes to take their business plan to the next level.  I had management experience as a consultant but not senior management. Part of management and entrepreneurship is bringing everything together. I’m a learn-by-doing type of person. Competing in a business plan competition provided context and understanding to what I learned in the classroom. The New Venture Championship provided a real-life application of bringing all the elements of business together.

Q: How successful was your team?

Aqua Essence placed second at NVC and qualified for the MOOT CORP competition at University of Texas at Austin, where we placed fourth.  The caliber of teams at both competitions was impeccable. We were prepared for MOOT CORP because of the quality of education and success of the Oregon program.

Q: What value did you receive from the competition?

It certainly gave me a competitive edge. I had tangible applications to use later in job interviews to demonstrate overcoming problems and creating success. An MBA with experience is more desirable than an MBA without experience. Most MBA students are engaged in the concept of business, but not the reality. The New Venture Championship provided that reality. As an educator, that real-life experience provides the context from which I teach.

Q: What did you think of the quality of judges?

The judges are business professionals who bring a level of expertise and insight that you can’t get elsewhere. The opportunity to engage in dialogue with CEOs and top management from international companies greatly contributed to our success at MOOT CORP. The feedback and questions from judges gave us insight into how they look at the world and hearing why those questions were asked took NVC to the next level. Many of the judges look at business plans professionally and bring their passion and expertise to the competition.

Q: What would you tell someone who is considering NVC?

The process is smooth, clean and clear. The caliber of judges is phenomenal. The prizes and opportunities are meaningful, especially for someone who wants to be in the Northwest. From a global trade perspective, the Northwest is the gateway to the Pacific. The interaction with judges and peers provides touch points to your career that are invaluable. I still keep NVC on my resume. The best use of my time as an MBA student was spent doing the New Venture Championship.


Written By Nic Corpora

The Value of NVC

Graduate students have a diverse selection of business plan competitions in which to enter. Some offer large cash prizes to jump-start your business, while others offer an opportunity to receive invaluable feedback directly from the judges. Regardless of the incentives, entering a business plan competition provides an opportunity to expose your business to potential investors who have the resources to take your business to the next level.

For the past 20 years, New Venture Championship (NVC) has provided participants with unparalleled value as they work to make their business plans a reality. Because of its intense academic focus and guaranteed feedback from judges for all competitors, NVC is internationally recognized as one of the top three business plan competition in the world.

Graduate students have chosen NVC over other competitions because it provides an unmatched experience for a start-up venture team. The NVC experience boasts a structured competition, acclaimed judges, and plentiful feedback, all in the heart of Portland, Oregon.

Value of Competition Structure:

This competition has a prize pool of $60,000, with $25,000 awarded to the team champion. At NVC, every group leaves with a cash prize to aid its entrepreneurial endeavors. Out of 20 teams, five are chosen to compete in the final round. The other 15 teams compete in the Lightning Round, where the quality of their teamwork and adaptability is tested in a 15-minute presentation to the judges. Since every team is sure to leave the competition with a financial investment, NVC provides promise to any start-up business.

Keith Larson of Intel Capital, a semifinal judge in 2006, spoke of the prestigious competition, calling it ″one of the top international business plan competitions. The New Venture Championship is a great place to source real deal opportunities.”

Value of Judges:

Many of the competition sponsors are also well-established community members and entrepreneurs who comprise the judging panels. Not only do they provide generous financial support to NVC, but they also offer professional support by allowing members of their executive management teams to participate as judges. Some judges are presidents or CEOs of respected companies, which include Columbia Sportswear, Intel Capital, and Tektronix. The expertise and wisdom they provide to participants is what past participants have called “the most valuable aspect of the competition.”

After winning the 2009 New Venture Championship, Reed Quinn, a student at Brigham Young University, was very pleased with the quality of the competition. “The NVC was by far the best competition that we participated in. The caliber of the judges was phenomenal. We had judges in the first round of judging that purchased our product, tried it, used it, and had feedback on the product and packaging itself.”

Quinn continued, “Judges were much more prepared and knowledgeable about our business than other competitions. They were matched very well with our company. We had judges that had the product experience as opposed to lawyers or real estate experience.”

Jesse Thomas, a participant from the University of Oregon in 2009, said, “The judging was our least and most favorite part of the competition. They are intelligent and ask really good questions. They really challenged us.”

Value of Feedback:

The mission of NVC is to develop skilled and knowledgeable entrepreneurial leaders who are prepared to confront the flux of the business world with creative solutions. This competition is conducive to that goal by empowering judges to provide teams with feedback after each phase of the competition.

Robert Warren, team adviser from the University of Manitoba, is convinced. “This is one competition we attend every year because of the quality of the competition’s structure and the judge’s feedback,” Warren said.

Paul Daily, a participant from Washington State University in 2006, recognizes the value of the NVC. “The feedback we received will enable us to vastly reduce the risk and time to market our venture. Every would-be business leader should compete at NVC.”

Jim Jindrick, a faculty advisor from the University of Arizona in 2006, was pleased with the experience. “NVC is so well-organized. The judges provide excellent feedback — they do a great job of looking at the entire plan not just the technology. NVC for us is the premier competition in the country.”

From former participants to judges and professors, people believe NVC is the premier business plan competition because the quality of judges and the value of their feedback are simply unmatched.

Value of Experience:

NVC is committed to providing an educational atmosphere where students grasp an understanding of the entrepreneurship process and establish ideas about detail orientation crucial to entrepreneurship’s creative side. Each phase of the competition, from its structure to its judges, is engineered to foster the future success of its participants. Previous participants, judges, and sponsors all agree: NVC will benefit your start-up venture — whether you take the grand prize or not.

James Stefanakos, a participant in 2006 from Georgia Institute of Technology, agrees. “The value of the experience I have gained from the NVC is immense. The feedback from the judges was insightful and very helpful for us to achieve our final goal: launching our company.”

Joel Adams, a participant in 2007 from the University of Louisville, felt the same after the competition. “The NVC provided the best judges, the greatest incentives, and the most inspiring community of entrepreneurs that I have yet experienced,” he said. “The feedback and the intensity of the experience are unmatched; the result is a stronger team as we move forward with our venture.”

International students are equally pleased with their experience. Apisek Tewinpagti, a student at Mahidol University in Thailand, left NVC asserting, “Great competition. Learned a lot. Feel like a winner by just being here.”

Judges and business leaders respect the real-life application of this competition. Luis Machuca of Kryptiq Corporation and a finals judge in 2005, said, “NVC is as close to a real-world experience as you can give your students. The preparation required, the pressure and scrutiny from the judges makes it very real.”

John B. Dimmer of FIRS Management, LCC and NVC judge in 2002 and 2004, is confident of the value this competition has to offer. “I have no doubt that these are the business leaders of tomorrow,” he said. “I would like to think that, years from now when we read about them in the business journals, the New Venture Championship played some part in helping them achieve their success.”


Written By Nic Corpora