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Present your start-up company to early stage investors

posted Aug 3, 2010, 10:56 AM by Howard Rhee   [ updated Mar 17, 2011, 12:44 PM by Howie Rhee ]

DukeGEN hosted an event for the entire Duke community during which eight Duke founders of non-enterprise Internet businesses or consumer mobile application services, platforms, or applications presented their business concepts to a distinguished panel of Duke angel investors and early stage venture capitalists.  Our panelists have built and sold companies for a total of $1.4B.  Future DukeGEN events may focus on different industries.

This event was held on Wednesday, May 12th from 6-8:30pm in San Francisco at Dogpatch Labs (Pier 38, The Embarcadero).  See map at the bottom of the page.

The panelists selected the following 8 companies (out of 43 applicants) to present at this event:

YouRock - Sponsorship of events and individuals.  Founder and CEO Jeremy Cotter T '02

FitNet - Empowering healthy living.  Founder and CEO Dr. Jason Langheier M '09

BizeeBee - Small business messaging and scheduling.  Founder and CEO Poornima Vijayashanker E '04

Canvert - Pay per ring lead generation.  Founder and CEO Scott Thomas T '96
CoverHound - Better way to find insurance.  Founder and CEO Basil Enan T '03
RefYo - Referrals on the social Internet.  Co-founder and CEO Ed Spiegel E '99 and co-founder and Director of Technology Kevin Lochner E '99
Social Stir - Dating for social media interactions.  Founder and CEO Allen Vance B '07
Stinky Teddy - Search engine optimized for now.  Founder and CEO David Hardtke T '94

The three winning companies won the opportunity to meet for an hour with the following three "super angels": 
1. Steve AndersonFounder and Managing Partner at Baseline Ventures
2. Manu KumarPartner at K9 Ventures
3. David LeePartner at SV Angel

The investor panel included:
  • Jim Scheinman T '88 of Maven Ventures, his early stage investment fund.  Jim is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and advisor to start-up companies.  He is a pioneer in social networking and engagement marketing, the predominant source of revenue for online social networks.  Jim is best known for his role as employee number one at Bebo, the third largest social network in the world when it was acquired by AOL in early 2008 for $850M.  He was also an early employee at Friendster.  Jim is currently the COO/CMO of PageOnce, the leading smartphone personal information management company.
  • Josh Felser T '86, B '90 of Freestyle Capital, an early stage venture capital fund designed to fill the void between retreating angels and venture capitalists moving into later stage investments.  Josh is best known as a co-founder and the President of Spinner, the first multi-channel Internet radio service which was acquired by AOL for $320M.  He was also a co-founder and the CEO of Grouper/Crackle, one of the first Internet video networks.  Grouper/Crackle was acquired by Sony Pictures for $65M.  In December 2009, Josh and several others launched The Start Project, an incubator.
  • Aaron Patzer E '02, founder and CEO of Mint a free, simple, and secure personal finance web application which consolidates your financial life in one place.  Aaron became the Vice President and General Manager of the Personal Finance Group at Intuit when that company acquired for US$170M in November 2009.  Prior to Mint, Aaron was a Lead Architect at Nascentric and the technical lead of the San Jose office.  Aaron was selected by Fortune Magazine to the Top 40 Entrepreneurs Under 40 in 2009 and Money Magazine named him as one of the top 8 Money Heroes of 2008.  He has twelve patents issued or pending to his name.
  • Ryan Spoon T '03 of Polaris Ventures, a venture capital firm specializing in seed and early stage investments in companies engaged in the information technology and life sciences sectors.  Ryan was the founder of beRecruited, the nation’s No. 1 online networking destination for high school student-athletes seeking recruitment from college coaches and universities.  beRecruited was acquired in 2007.  Ryan worked for four years at eBay where he focused on user acquisition and launched and ran Kijiji (eBay's U.S. classified advertisements site).  He also served as VP of Marketing at Widgetbox, a widget distribution platform.

Dogpatch Labs

Dogpatch Labs is located on the second floor at Pier 38 show above from Google Street View.  Head into the alley, enter by the first door on the right and follow the DukeGEN signs to the top of the stairs to Dogpatch Labs.

Presented by:
History: The original idea for this event came from a conversation between Jim Scheinman and Michael S. Cann Jr. in December 2009.