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Friday, May 2, 2008

BPC: beyond the university

I’m attending a workshop on technology commercialization programs at the Georgia Tech Ti:GER program, funded by the Kauffman foundation.

One of the speakers, from the Arizona’s McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship, mentioned one of their successful startup teams, LenSense. The company has a technology for camera phone zoom lenses that they hope to someday have embedded in 25% of the world’s phones.

What caught my eye was not that they were a mobile phone technology (an area of great personal interest) nor that they met with local angels (apparently as part of the annual business plan competition).

What was interesting was that the team entered a real (i.e. non-university) business competition — and ended up finishing in the top 12 (the only school team to do so). The competition, Mobile Rules! funded by Nokia, awarded a series of prizes in March.

Unfortunately, they didn’t finish high enough to get publicity out of Nokia, and it’s not clear what they won other than the experience. But it seems this is something that all technology entrepreneurship programs should consider — seeking out real world competitions, if nothing else to enable the students to enter such competitions again after they graduate.

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