Capital One Cross Campus Challenge has some great #student entrepreneurs out there. The idea below is one that one of my students floated a couple years back, she didn’t go after it. Glad to see this team from Hofstra and their Boyfriend’s BestFriend app won the grand prize.
I love when data for my research arrives in my email inbox. Thank you Sramana Mitra, Jeff Nobbs of Extrabux, and USC!:
Sramana: Jeff, let’s start with the beginning of your story. Where are you from? What are the circumstances that led up to the Extrabux story?
Jeff Nobbs: I am from San Diego. I was born in Northern California and spent two months there before I decided it wasn’t for me! I grew up in San Diego and went to college at USC in Los Angeles. While I was at USC, I started Extrabux with my co-founder, Noah, a guy who lived two doors down from me in the dorms. We started it as a side project while we were at school, and it stayed that way for a few years.
Our junior year we entered Extrabux into our university’s business plan competition. We ended up winning the USC business plan competition and we got $25,000. That was the first stamp of credibility that we received and the first bit of money that we got to start building our team.
Received an email the other day about a celebration / competition focusing on business models and customer development. Lots of mentoring and tools will be available for undergraduate participants. Check out the USASBE Launch competition website.
USASBE Launch! is an exciting global student startup competition designed to provoke and reward undergraduate students from any discipline who can
1) design an impactful idea,
2) identify, test and validate business model hypotheses using customer development tools and
3) show traction which measures how well a startup is delivering its business model and how well the target demographic is accepting that business model.
There is no required application process, but students can sign up to receive updates. There are no required fees or purchases, there is no required format or procedures. We will recommend a process and tools, and students can engage as much or as little as they desire. The ultimate goal of student participants should be to start a sustainable business and tell an engaging story . . . plain and simple.
Just catching up on last nights Shark Tank and glad to see another campus entrepreneur doing well. College baseball players Pat and Matt hit hard with their coffee based chewing tobacco replacement. From the blog Shark Tank Success.
The two invented the Get Grinds Coffee Pouches while in college and playing baseball out in San Francisco, California as an alternative to regular chewing tobacco. By making their pouches using flavored coffee grounds and then adding the same ingredients found in energy drinks like Red Bull or the 5 Hour energy, they have essentially married two unrelated product’s in a rather unique form. The Get Grinds Coffee pouches is a perfect alternative to chewing tobacco and gives you an added boost at the same time.
Another unique advantage to the get Grinds Coffee Pouches especially if you already chew tobacco, is you do not need to continually spit. In Fact, it is encouraged not to spit because you gain more of the energy boosting ingredients by swallowing your saliva. No Kidding! You are essentially brewing the flavored coffee in your mouth. The only thing you need to spit out is the pouch when your done.
Love the flavors that these guys are offering. Also wondering if this could become a product that coffee consumers go for whether they trying to stop chewing tobacco or have never tried it. Here is a story on the ball players from Entrepreneur.
In 2008, after wrapping up their amateur season to return to California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, to finish their degrees, the two men took the saying a step further.
One too-hot night while working on an economics project, they decided to skip out on brewing a pot of coffee in favor of doing what comes naturally to baseball players: They stuffed wads of grinds in their mouths.
“The buzz kicked in and we said, ‘Shoot, we might be on to something,'” Canepa says.
That something was Grinds, tiny chewable pouches of flavored coffee grinds. Each pouch contains about as much caffeine as a quarter cup of coffee, as well as a smattering of taurine and B vitamins.
Soon after their discovery, the duo dashed off a business plan that snagged $3,000 in a competition at their school’s business department. Later that year, they won $15,000 in a similar schoolwide contest, and a handful of judges signed on as investors. In June 2009, less than a year after the idea was born, Canepa and Pezet officially launched their company, also named Grinds.
The Global Social Venture Competition is calling for entries. Deadline is 30 January 2013. “The Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) provides aspiring entrepreneurs with mentoring, exposure, and $50,000 in prizes to transform their ideas into businesses that will have positive real world impact. In 2012, GSVC received over 600 entries from 50 countries.”
Here are a few of the eligibility rules.
Submitted ventures should plan to be financially sustainable or profitable; whether it is a commercial business or a tax-exempt organization, your venture must have plans to be self-sufficient on earned revenue.
Submitted ventures must be scalable long term. This criterion will mean different things for each business plan. Scalability will take into account the potential for growth of the business, both financially and in its social impact.
Submitted ventures must have a quantifiable social and/or environmental bottom line incorporated into their mission and practices.
Your team must include a graduate student current or within two years of graduation as of December 31, 2012 from any masters-level or post-graduate higher education program in any area of study in the world; the student must be actively involved in the venture i.e., actively participating in development of the business plan or actively working on the business.
Interesting piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education by Jeffery Young on education technology startups and a recent business plan contest. Glad to see my friends at U of Delaware and their students are working on some cool businesses.
Leaders of 10 education-technology start-ups had eight minutes each to pitch their business plans in front of an audience, get grilled by a panel of venture capitalists, and then face a popular vote online. The big prize: marketing help from Educause and Google.
The start-ups’ chief executives, most of them in their 20s and 30s, talked fast, and when asked by the expert panel what their biggest obstacles were or how they could succeed when others had failed, most answered in slick sound bites that had clearly been rehearsed.
Their mission was to clearly state a problem in higher education they were trying to solve, and then show how their tool would do it.That might sound simple, but one member of the expert panel, John Cammack, of Cammack Associates, said that it’s hard to find a budding entrepreneur who can also make a successful pitch. “It’s one in 50,” he said. He’s also looking for intangibles: “My job is to find companies that have the intellectual skills, the management depth, and really the resolve to take the idea to full realization.”
There is so much going on at Stanford University that its almost impossible to keep track of all of the initiatives. StartX, an accelerator for university students, received a big commitment for additional funding from Kauffman. From the Kauffman Foundation press release:
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation today announced an $800,000 grant to StartX, which runs a startup accelerator for university students, to support expansion and national scaling of the program.
StartX, formerly SSE Labs, was initially launched in 2010 by Stanford students to accelerate the development of the best Stanford student entrepreneurs through experiential education. Kauffman’s grant will help StartX scale its current services and build a model for replication.
“StartX has taken important initial steps to develop an experiential education-based program for founders at the university level,” said Wendy Torrance, Kauffman director of entrepreneurship who leads the Foundation’s curriculum development. “Our grant will help StartX further develop its curriculum and program and identify a model for replication, while bolstering its capacity to gather and analyze data on its work and crucial outcomes.”
StartX, a non-profit organization affiliated with Stanford University that takes no equity from its portfolio companies, has received applications from more than 6 percent of the Stanford student population each year. To date, StartX has supported more than 240 founders and 90 companies in several markets, including clean tech, biotechnology, enterprise, consumer internet/mobile, hardware, healthcare technology and social enterprise. In total, StartX companies have raised more than $70 million in funding.
Will be interested to see how it scales and would like to know how StartX differs from other channels students use to launch firms.