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Darden School of Business Announces Largest
U.Va. i.Lab Incubator Class
Final startup spot in the program will be offered to the winner of the Tom Tom Founders Festival's Crowdfunded Pitch Night to Be Held 9 April
By Amy Halliday
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia -24 March 2014 - The University of Virginia Darden School of Business Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation today announced the ventures accepted into the 2014 W.L. Lyons Brown III Innovation Laboratory (i.Lab) incubator. The i.Lab is a University-wide initiative, housed at the Darden School, which includes an incubator supporting early-stage business ventures from U.Va. and the Charlottesville community.
The 2014 cohort is the largest in the 14-year history of the incubator program. The 26 ventures in the group, chosen from 47 applications, include 14 founded by Darden students; six started by current U.Va. students, faculty members or recent U.Va. graduates; and six created by members of the local Charlottesville community.
The final spot will go to the winner of the Crowdfunded Pitch Night, which kicks off theTom Tom Founders Festival, a five-day celebration of music, art and innovation in downtown Charlottesville, sponsored by Darden's Batten Institute. At the Pitch Night event to be held 9 April at The Haven, the contestants will have three minutes to sell their business ideas to the crowd, which will then vote on a winner. The deadline to apply for a spot to compete is 24 March, 11:59pm.
The i.Lab incubator provides participating ventures with a $5,000 grant, office space, mentoring support, networking opportunities with local entrepreneurs and investors, and access to legal, accounting and technological expertise. The program consists of a 10-week summer accelerator followed by a one-year residency, during which participants develop and refine their business ideas and participate in a community of fellow entrepreneurs. Kathryne Carr, a venture capitalist and longtime mentor of early-stage businesses, serves as director of the i.Lab incubator.
"The 2014 i.Lab incubator class represents some of the best and brightest ideas from Darden, U.Va. and Charlottesville," said Philippe Sommer, director of Darden's Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and of the i.Lab. "We're excited to bring together such a talented and diverse group of businesses. The i.Lab incubator gives aspiring entrepreneurs the knowledge, support and community they need to take their ventures to the next level, and we're thrilled to provide this program to our students as well as the broader U.Va. and Charlottesville communities."
Participates share the enthusiasm surrounding this opportunity. "We're excited about the expertise of the mentors and alumni associated with the incubator," said Darden Second Year student Ares Manos, whose venture, K2 Dental Arts, was chosen for the 2014 class. "Wisdom on how to grow our business the right way will be invaluable."
Darden has been home to a business incubator since 2000. The i.Lab, established in 2010, was renovated and reintroduced in 2013 as the W. L. Lyons Brown III Innovation Laboratory (i.Lab) - a collaborative endeavor among all 11 schools at U.Va., theProvost's Office and UVA Innovation.
The ventures in the 2014 cohort represent industries such as medicine, technology, fashion, the arts, new media and social entrepreneurship.
Among this year's ventures:
- K2 Dental Arts was founded by Darden Second Year students Philip Kim, Ares Manos and Dwight Emerine and helps dentists adopt the latest digital oral scanning technology for use in the manufacture of crowns and other restorations.
- Revamp Labs was created by Darden First Year student Kris Subhash and provides digital marketing solutions for local businesses. The company's core product is Virginia Vinehopper - a mobile app that serves as a guide to Virginia's wineries, breweries, cideries and distilleries, and offers a mobile marketing platform for those businesses.
- MapLab was founded by community members Madeleine Hawks and Matthew Slaats and offers specialized tools, scientific expertise and research capabilities to help clients create striking visual representations that clarify strategic initiatives, present arguments and publish information for the common good.
- Fluensi was conceived by U.Va. undergraduates, Aakash Shah, John MacLaughlin and Nicole Abba and offers a variety of learning tools, including immersive language-learning software that simulates the experience of living in a foreign country. The company's web, mobile and Google Glass applications will work together to provide a superior learning approach.
Among the many success stories from previous incubator classes are:
- Green Powered Technology was founded by Darden alumnus Phillip Green (MBA `11) and recently honored as a White House Champion of Change. Green Powered Technology provides sustainable, cost-effective energy solutions to governmental, commercial and energy-impoverished clients.
- Husk Power Systems is a venture cofounded by Darden alumni Manoj Sinha (MBA `09) and Chip Ransler (MBA `09) that provides electricity to rural India and was awarded the prestigious 2011 Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy in the International Category. Husk Power Systems designs, installs and operates biomass-based power plants, creating a better quality, cheaper way to provide electricity to over 200,000 people in rural India.
- hotelicopter is a global hotel search and direct connect platform founded by Darden alumni Adam Healey (MBA `05) and Charles Seilheimer (MBA `05),acquired by Room Key in 2011. The hotelicopter platform connected more than 160,000 hotels to hundreds of sites and millions of travelers.
About the i.Lab at the University of Virginia
The i.Lab is a University-wide initiative that creates a nexus for entrepreneurship and innovation education. Its mission is to foster deep cross-collaboration with no boundaries, across disciplines, schools or ways of thinking. The i.Lab provides coaching, courses and incubation to students, faculty and community members innovating the future. The i.Lab is a collaborative effort of 11 schools of the University, the Provost's Office, and UVA Innovation, and is operated by the Batten Institute at the U.Va. Darden School of Business.
About the Darden School of Business
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business is one of the world's leading business schools, offering MBA, Ph.D. and Executive Education programs. The unique Darden experience combines the case study method, top-ranked faculty whose research advances global managerial practice and business education, and a tight-knit learning environment to develop responsible and complete leaders who are ready to make an impact.
About the Batten Institute
The Batten Institute at the Darden School of Business improves the world through entrepreneurship and innovation. The institute's academic research center advances knowledge that addresses real-world challenges and shapes Darden's curriculum, and the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership offers one of the world's top entrepreneurship programs. The Batten Institute was established with gifts now totaling over $100 million from U.Va. alumnus Frank Batten Sr., a media pioneer, visionary and founder of The Weather Channel.
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