Archive for March, 2010

White Paper Basics: the Dos, Don’ts, Whys, Whats, and Hows of White Papers.

Collin Canright, Principal of Canright Communications explains why white papers are written, what they are–and are not–and how to use them to educate an audience and generate leads. Download a copy of his white paper report, “White Paper Basics: the Dos, Don’ts, Whys, Whats, and Hows of White Papers.”

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IIT Teams compete at the Idea2Product Regionals at St.Louis

Missouri/Illinois Regional Idea to Product® Competition, March 26-27, 2010

Thank you all for your time and effort in formulating ideas, advising students, judging, and supporting the Regional Idea to Product® Competition at Saint Louis University’s John Cook School of Business. Once again this year, we were inspired by the innovative thinking and professional presentation skills of these remarkable students.

The results from Saturday’s final presentations are as follows:

First Place $2,500. – Citus Medical. Andrew Naber, Katherine Berit Waskevich, Daniel Knipmeyer, and Jack Holzman, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Second Place $1,500 – UticketIt. Ashton Clark and Ryan Clark, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Third Place $1,000 – Smart Specs. Purvag Patel, Earl Fairall, Noah Spitler, and Jason Stogner, Illinois Institute of Technology.

Fourth Place $750 – H-TUM (Billikenbot). Blanca Ollero, Angel Hernandez, and Carlos Kaiser, Saint Louis University.

The results from judging the regional semi-final presentations were:

Alternate for Finals $500 – The Little Artist Artpad. Noah Spitler and Stephanie Salem, Illinois Institute of Technology.

Track Leaders $500:

Appiquity. Ryan Benton, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Austral Very Light Jet. Keavy Nenninger, Saint Louis University.

DIABLA. Hannah Shay and Gina Montgomery, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Digital Music Companion. Hannah Rafle, Joseph Kirwen, and Genevieve Dunlap, Saint Louis University.

Semi-Finalists – $250:

Hydrogen Production. Gina Montgomery and Adam Campen, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

I.C.E.-In Case of Emergency. Muhammed Fazeel, Emmanuel Marcha, Neil Gupta, and Askshay Vaddagere Naresh Kumar, Illinois Institute of Technology

Profit Drivers. John Schultz, Saint Louis University

SAFE: Smart-kit for Automobile Fuel Efficiency. Tanim taher and Muhammed Fazeel, Illinois Institute of Technology

Sapphyre: Water Backup Early Detection. Comeron Ghobadi, Muhammad Meigooni, Harch Patel, and Stefan Thoranensen, Saint Louis University

Special Needs Stroller. Noah Spitler and Stephanie Salem, Illinois Institute of Technology.

Each team represented its university with vision, creativity and achievement. The judges were very impressed with the high level of effort by all the teams. Congratulations to all!

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So why Lightbank? Why now? Why Chicago?

Eric Lefkofsky argues that Chicago still remains a major center of innovation. Read his post here

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What’s Better: Saving the World or Building Another Facebook app?

What if we challenged these students and Silicon Valley to build businesses that do good for the planet and make a healthy profit doing so? Read Vivek Wadhwa’s post here

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Steve Johns: Building the foundation for his heart’s work

Steve Johns was featured on the September 2009 issue of Soho Magazine. Read his story here. (note, this is a .pdf file)

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Why I Don’t Sign NDAs

Mark Welch tells us why he doesn’t sign NDAs. Read his post here.

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Band booking website wins midVentures25 startup competition

From the official press release

From the 25 startup companies at the inaugural midVentures25 demo day and pitch competition held in Chicago on March 11, innovative music talent site came out on top of the playlist.

The local startup was chosen to receive $16,000 in cash, prizes and professional services by a panel of expert judges drawn from Chicago’s most prominent and successful technology companies. ( is an online community where bands/artists share music and connect with venues and fans. Founded by Brian Sarsany and Jason Weingarten, is fixing the current problems in artist application management for live music venues, saving artists time and money, while creating new revenue streams for member partners.

A crowd of more than 500 prominent entrepreneurs, investors, media and members of the Midwest tech community were drawn to an open, loft-style 12th floor at 200 S. Wacker Drive, to learn about the area’s newest investor-ready companies and meet their founders. See the midVentures25 companies here:

“I was amazed by how the community volunteered and self-organized to make this event possible,” said Geoff Domoracki, co-founder of midVentures25. “What started as a small demo day escalated into Chicago’s largest tech event of the year. Young entrepreneurs want exposure for their innovations, and Chicago wants to know what they’re working on.”

Also among the five finalists chosen by the judges to give 3-minute pitches were:, a website providing a way for music artists to share & track their music on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and smartphones; Genlighten, an online marketplace that helps genealogists find the offline documents they need using a network of skilled local researchers; JoeMetric, a website providing demographically targeted mobile surveys with GPS targeting, pictures and audio; and Watermelon Express, a startup providing test prep apps that work and sync across mobile, web and desktop platforms.

The expert judging panel included Andrew Mason, CEO of Groupon; Chuck Templeton, founder of OpenTable; Jason Heltzer, Principal at OCA Ventures; Biju Kulathakal, CEO of TradingBlock, and co-founder of RedBox; Adam Siegel, CEO of inklingMarkets; and Ted Souder, Head of Regional Industry–Travel at Google.

The 25 startups each received free admission to midVentures25 and were chosen to participate based on merit and the strength of their investor-ready products and services alone.

About midVentures25
Launched in 2010 as a demo day and pitch competition to showcase early-stage innovators within the technology, consumer products and sustainability space, midVentures25 ( was founded by Jonathan Pasky, entrepreneur, patent attorney and Principal at Pasky IP, and Geoff Domoracki and Brian Mayer, co-founders of venture consulting firm midVentures. midVentures25 is supported by corporate and institutional sponsors the Illinois Technology Association, Goldstein Caldwell & Associates, SingleHop, Google, Pathfinder Development, Microsoft, CLEAR, Inventables, ChicagoMicro, the Illinois Institute of Technology Jules F. Knapp Entrepreneurship Center, RemixGalaxy, Peter Wilkins, Obtiva, Train Signal, OCA Ventures, Classic Informatics, TECHcocktail and TheNextWeb US, as well as founding partners midVentures and Pasky IP.

About midVentures
midVentures is a rapid lifecycle innovation and technology services consulting firm. The core service offerings include concept, design, prototyping, and technology development for your next company project. midVentures works with corporations seeking an innovative edge, investors with a new startup idea, or entrepreneurs with a new technology.

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The Biggest Small Business Competitions

Have a dream but starved for start-up capital? Enter one of these 15 university-sponsored contests. Read more..

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March 2010 iPhone Weekend Challenge

Team A at KnappLab Office Team B at ProOnGo office

Saturday 10:30 AM
Both teams are off to a great start. Mohan Vaze of RoundArch is coaching team A at the KnappLab by the IIT Entrepreneurship Center. Phil Leslie is coaching team B up at the ProOnGo office at the IIT Tower. Valerie Scarlata is at the KnappLab, offering her stellar design skills to the students. Our video is currently streaming live from both locations. If for any reason you find that one of the feeds are Offline, call me on 5157716284. I’ll be posting updates here every so often. If you wish to tweet about this event, please use #knapplab

12:00 PM
Just placed an order with Dominos for a LOT of pizza. The teams will be taking a lunch break at 1.00 PM

2:10 PM
Done with lunch and back to coding. Turns out, Team B did quite a bit of coding before they realized that what they were coding was in fact the responsibility of Team A. What remains to be seen is if they will share that code…

3:00 PM
Team B is making progress on its radio show app. A few screenshots

screen2.png screen1.png

5:20 PM
Team A at the KnappLab are still going at it. Team B at ProOnGo are packing up to get some rest before an early day tomorrow.

5:50 PM
Team A is finally packing up after a long day at the KnappLab. Luckily, its nicer outside now than it was in the morning.

Sunday 9:30 AM
Its a breezy day outside, the teams are back in the labs; having breakfast and cranking out code.

11.00 AM
Phil stepped in to the KnappLab office to help Team A coordinate the second portion of the weekend; which will involve stitching together points-of-interest to create meaningful tours. Valerie Scarlata sent in graphics for both teams so that all the apps being created have a consistent look.

2:00 PM
Both teams are taking a lunch break. Potbellys!

2:30 PM
Back to work! Team A at the KnappLab just sent me something interesting..

Team A VS Team B
TeamA.jpg TeamB.jpg

(Yes, there’s always someone watching!)

2:40 PM
Chris Curtis leading Team B at ProOnGo just sent me snapshots of their app.

Picture 2.png Picture 3.png Picture 4.png

3:10 PM
Team A just sent me snapshots of their RadioShow app. Looks like its shaping up! Just a couple of hours to go..


4:00 PM
Its done! Both teams have finished coding their portions and are syncing up right now. We should be having a demo at the KnappLab soon.

Meanwhile, Team A sent me some more snapshots of their ShuttleBus app

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ProOnGo one of the CAP20 companies

The Cluster Acceleration Program (CAP) aims to increase access to critical resources and relationships for entrepreneurs in key Illinois industry clusters, namely alternative energy, consumer products and services, and information technology for the new media, financial services and healthcare markets. Read more about the program here.

“CAP 20″ Circle of High-Growth Entrepreneurial Ventures: The program will provide strategic planning and mentoring assistance to 20 of the most promising ventures in target industries. “CAP 20″ clients gain enhanced access to CEC’s Board and venture development networks, with the aim of achieving better prioritization and management of venture development goals, a widened network of influence, and increased confidence in leadership decisions.

ProOnGo, a Knapp Center client was one of the CAP20 portfolio companies. See a list of the other companies here.

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