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Five Teams Remain In BCVC Competition


Published: Sunday, March 18, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

Students participating in the annual Boston College Venture Competition (BCVC) have been refining their startups since first submitting their business models in October.

Out of the 20 teams who initially pitched their ideas, five are now left standing: the “2012 Accelerator Teams.” They have been awarded $1,000 in seed money and given two months to further develop their businesses in hopes of turning the $1,000 into $10,000.

BCVC, a university-wide business plan competition, seeks to promote and support entrepreneurship at the undergraduate level at BC. In past years, the entire competition has taken just two weeks, beginning with teams submitting their business plans and ending with a final event in front of a panel of judges.

This year, after a semi-final event in mid-February, the number of teams was narrowed down from 10 to five, with the top five teams moving on to the accelerated program to work with with mentors and advisors.

CJ Reim, chair of BCVC, and Mateusz Kaliski, who is in charge of all mentor / mentee relationships for the competition, both CSOM ’13, explained that each of the final teams has been given access to free financial service and legal advice, as well as being flooded with a number of events that focus on topics including the best ways to pitch your company.

“There is now more coaching involved,” Kaliski said, mentioning that each team meets and Skypes with professionals every week. The teams are given personal feedback rather than just presenting their startup to an open audience.

The five BCVC finalists are: Maji, Green Lightning, Namib Beetle Design, Per Diem Connect, and Neuro Tone.

Maji is a water bottle company working to help solve the world’s water crisis. In Swahili, Maji means “water.” For every five Maji bottles sold, the team pledges to provide someone access to clean drinking water for life.

“We are extremely grateful for the $1,000 that we received as finalists in BCVC,” said Paul Veiga, chief financial officer for Maji and CSOM ’12. “So far, a portion of the money has gone into ordering new products that will help strengthen our brand.”

The teams, including Maji, have found the accelerated program to be extremely beneficial. “We have had the opportunity to meet with different business professionals on campus about our financial outlook and business strategy,” Veiga said. “The BCVC team has also connected us with professionals outside of BC to help us tighten our business plan and expand our brand.”

Green Lightning provides the eco-friendliest wave-riding experience by handcrafting custom surfboards from recycled materials. They offer a unique product and service through tailor-fit customization and co-creation. Beyond construction, the team incorporates 14 principles to build a truly innovative business model that is designed for financial, social, and environmental sustainability.

The Namib Beetle Design (NBD) is a biomimicry-inspired product based on the namib desert beetle. The team uses nanotechnology to trap water from condensation to produce a sustainable method of collecting clean drinking water.

“So far the accelerator program has been great,” said Miguel Galvez, chief operating officer for NBD and A&S ’12. “We’ve picked up a couple of great mentors. One of which is really going out of his way to help us out and connecting us to people in the industry.”

“The $1,000 has been great to cover up some really early expenses that can go a long way as we try to build our business,” Galvez said.

Per Diem Connect is a hybrid application that empowers users with a transparent and efficient networking ecosystem that is controlled for quality by other business travelers. Strong search, targeting, and mobile concierge services unite the major event groups on one communication platform and generate multiple revenue channels.

Drew Beaurline, a founder and managing partner for Per Diem Connect, and CSOM ’13, said his team started to develop ideas in October, establishing a network of mentors, including some BC professors. “As we entered into the accelerated stage, we gained further great mentors that have helped us with some of the more micro aspects of our company,” Beaurline said.

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