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Namib Beetle Design Wins BCVC Pitch Competition

For The Heights

Published: Thursday, April 12, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

VC 4/12

Daniel Lee / Heights Editor

Namib Beetle Design, a startup company dedicated to finding a way to collect water sustainably, won the Boston College Venture Competition (BCVC) last night. The startup received $10,000 to invest in their business.

The company based their design on the namib desert beetle, which lives in arid climates and collects water on its back to drink.

Green Lightning Surf, a company that produces eco-friendly surf boards, won the second place prize of $3,000. The third place team, Maji Bottles, a company that sells water bottles to help end the world’s water crisis, won $2,000.

BCVC is an annual business plan competition, currently in its sixth year. The competition is designed to promote entrepreneurship among students at BC and foster constructive competition. Students work to develop as leaders in the business world throughout the year. Other programs that occur during the academic year include the first two month accelerator program, in which each of the top five teams was given $1,000 dollars and legal, accounting, and one-on-one mentoring by people from the industry in order to realize a business goal. Throughout the year, over 40 teams participated and 25 final submissions were received.

The final competition, which took place yesterday in the Fulton Honors Library, featured five finalist teams, who were each given 20 minutes to present their ideas in front of a panel of six judges, consisting of members of the business community. CJ Reim, CSOM ’13, chairman of BCVC, said, “One thing that’s important to touch on is the judges who have come in today. They are very prominent in the Boston area, and it speaks to how important this competition is.”

The six judges were Greg Dracon, Principal .406 Ventures; Hugh Crean, BC ’93, EIR, General Catalyst Partners; Lee Hower, Partner, NextView Ventures; David Orfao, Managing Director, General Catalyst Partners; Dan Nova, BC ’83, Partner, Highland Capital Partners; and professor Mike Naughton, Physics Department Chair and Co-founder of Solasta, Inc.

These judges were given opportunities for question-and-answer sessions with each of the groups, and then selected the winners. The top three teams were awarded cash prizes. The finalist teams consisted of the projects Neurotone, Namib Beetle Design, Maji Bottles, Per Diem Connect, and Green Lightning Surf.

Although the focus is business, any undergraduate student from any of BC’s schools can participate in BCVC. “People often think you have to be in CSOM to be in it, but we want to change that. Everyone can be a part,” said Rich Rines, CSOM ’13, a member of the BCVC Team.

BCVC receives support from faculty and entrepreneurs in the community, many of whom are Boston College alumni. “Everyone is so willing to help out,” said Mateusz Kaliski, CSOM ’13, also a member of the BCVC Team. “We have lots of alumni who come in to give advice to students throughout the year.”

The BCVC competition has grown incredibly since its first year. “Our first year here was two kids and a PowerPoint at the final competition. Now we have multiple teams, and they’ve probably pitched these ideas 10 times,” Reim said. “These teams have been working all year to be the best they can be.” The initial number of 13 teams seen in the first year has grown to the over 40 who participated this year.

“It’s the best,” Rines said. “You learn so much, and you meet so many great people.”

Last year, the first place winners and recipients of the $10,000 prize were Jebbit and My Savvy Shoes. Moglo Apps took second place with the cash prize of $3,000.


David Cote, News Editor, contributed to this report.

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