UVA's Darden School of Business and Batten Institute Announce Emerging Ventures in 2011 Business Incubator

- Incubator ventures taking an 'effectual' approach to start-up practices -

- Multiple new programs, including a Legal Clinic, complement $13K support per venture -

Jun 22, 2011, 09:00 ET from Batten Institute

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., June 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Darden School of Business and its Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at the Batten Institute today announced the latest entrepreneurship ventures participating in the Darden Business Incubator, Darden's on campus program to support its MBA students developing promising early-stage business ventures.

The Darden Business Incubator is unique in that it supplies each incoming venture with more than $13,000 to support their development and cover expenses.  New in this year's program is a series of pre-Incubator workshops including a Legal Clinic, developed through a partnership with the UVA School of Law and the Woods Rogers law firm to provide free legal services to new ventures.  

"This year's group of twelve companies admitted to the Incubator is one of the strongest groups to date both in the novelty of concepts being advanced and the commitment to taking an 'effectual' approach to starting businesses," said Philippe Sommer, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. "There have been a number of highly successful companies that have emerged from our Incubator and by working closely with this year's terrific group of participants on the process of new venture development we'll continue to improve their potential for future entrepreneurial success."

The Incubator also provides additional critical resources, such as physical office space and expert advice from the legal, marketing and technology communities, as well as assistance in finding third-party investment support – all within the framework of a community of fellow entrepreneurs over the course of a year.

Among the many success stories from previous years in the Darden Business Incubator, Husk Power Systems (HPS), a venture co-founded by Darden alumni Chip Ransler (MBA'09) and Manoj Sinha (MBA'09) which provides electricity to rural India, was awarded the prestigious 2011 Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy in the International Category.

While each venture must involve a Darden student or recent graduate, the Incubator is also open to members of the wider University of Virginia community who are interested in pursuing an entrepreneurial business idea. Projects are selected for the commitment of the student(s), the persuasiveness of the business concept and the research behind it.

New programs added this year included a series of pre-Incubator workshops:

- Legal Clinic: Through a partnership with the UVA School of Law and the Woods Rogers law firm, the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership initiated a series of programs to provide free legal services to new ventures.  UVA Law students are partnered with Incubator students under the supervision of a practicing attorney.  

- E*Tech Mash-up: Aspiring entrepreneurs presented their ventures before technical experts and received advice concerning the practicality, requirements, scope, difficulty, and implementation of their ideas.   Quick pitches were followed by the opportunity to breakout into smaller groups at this event organized by the Charlottesville Business Innovation Council and the Neon Guild.

- Internet Start-up Workshop: Incubator students developed their technical knowledge and learned about the powerful tools that are available to build websites from current and former Darden students with technical expertise.

- Incubator Pitch for Help Session: Incubator students pitched their ventures to alumni to ask for non-monetary support such as customer contacts, strategic partnerships, key personnel and expertise.

Among the dozen participants in this year's ventures are:

  • Abt Labs, founded by Darden Second Year student Kevin Abt, will create a revolutionary line of "smart" sporting goods and apparel that measure athletic performance.  The initial line of products will comprise sensors embedded into sporting equipment, and accompanying software to accurately measure and analyze speed, movement, trajectory, and rotation. The product is intended as a training tool to help athletes, coaches, and evaluators accurately capture, analyze, and catalog performance through a flexible set of metrics applicable to the specific sport.
  • DealStage, created by Darden Second Year student Greg Herrington, is a software productivity tool for law firms to assist them with closing deals between multiple law firms and client firms in a more transparent and less costly manner.  www.dealstage.com/
  • NOMUDA Games, winner of the 2011 Darden Business Plan Competition, is pioneering story-based episodic game content for mobile platforms. Founder Joe Chard (MBA'11) employs vivid, imaginative environments to explore and addictive, touch-based puzzles embedded in the environment to pace the storytelling experience.  http://www.nomudagames.com
  • SynkMonkey, founded by Hunter Murchison (MBA'11) and Jay Subhash (MBA'11), is a mobile app that allows users to easily schedule meetings and appointments via rich text messages with integrated date/time and mapping technology, while auto-populating a calendar with the meeting details.  SynkMonkey will collect data about what user's future plans are, thus enabling the company to deliver highly targeted and relevant ads, coupons, or other services. www.synkmonkey.com

About the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership

The University of Virginia's Darden School of Business provides an extensive array of resources for MBA students interested in entrepreneurship. These resources, which collectively comprise the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at the Batten Institute, include a top-ranked entrepreneurship faculty, dozens of rigorous entrepreneurship courses, full-time internships with start-up firms, business plan and concept competitions, workshops, scholarships, networking, and a host of hands-on learning opportunities.

Embedded within the University's robust entrepreneurial ecosystem, students can benefit from the experiences available through the programs at the Center. Whether a student intends to start a new venture or become a catalyst for innovation within an established firm, the Center provides a platform for developing the skills and experiences necessary for innovative, entrepreneurial leadership.


About the Batten Institute

The Batten Institute creates value and transforms society through entrepreneurship and innovation. The Institute's leading 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 an extraordinary gift from UVA alumnus Frank Batten, Sr., a media pioneer, visionary, and founder of The Weather Channel. www.batteninstitute.org

About the Darden School of Business

Founded in 1954, the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business improves society by developing principled leaders in the world of practical affairs. For questions or information, contact communication@darden.virginia.edu.  

SOURCE Batten Institute