DFJ Gotham Ventures and Draper Fisher Jurvetson Award $250,000 to Widetronix at Second Annual DFJ East Coast Venture Challenge
Cornell’s Widetronix Beats 8 Other Teams with New, Longer-lasting Pacemaker Power Supply
May 15, 2008 | New York, NY
Leading early-stage venture firms DFJ Gotham Ventures and Draper Fisher Jurvetson announced today that Widetronix from Cornell secured first place at the second annual DFJ East Coast Venture Challenge at Columbia Business School yesterday. Widetronix’s plan to market a pacemaker power supply with a 25-year life span won the competition’s prize of $250,000 in seed funding, the largest purse of any student business plan competition in the country.
Teams participating in the challenge came from Columbia, Cornell, NYU, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Brown, Carnegie Mellon, and Harvard. Culled from the ranks of the best submissions to their schools’ respective business plan competitions, finalists other than Widetronix at the competition included:
– Electro-Epi, a Brown team that has developed a lower cost and more effective single crystal substrate for solar cells
– JetEye, a Yale team that has designed a new performance monitoring system for jet-engines
– Yan Engines, a Columbia team that is working on a more efficient Differential-Stroke Cycle (D-Cycle) internal combustion engine
“All of the teams’ business plans demonstrated a tremendous amount of thought, effort, creativity and energy,” said Ross Goldstein, Managing Director of DFJ Gotham Ventures. “However, we felt the Cornell team’s idea for a long-lasting pacemaker power supply was the best investment opportunity presented, and deserving of the winner-take-all prize.”
The Cornell team consists of Dr. Michael G. Spencer, Dr. MVS Chandrashekhar, Mr. Jonathan Greene and Mr. Christopher I. Thomas.
“Winning the DFJ East Coast Venture Challenge is extremely gratifying,” said Widetronix CEO and President, Jonathan Greene. “The $250,000 in financing is obviously important, but we’re also very excited to join the portfolios of DFJ Gotham and DFJ and enjoy all the advantages that entails.”
An Educational and Inspiring Experience
Before the award ceremony, the teams heard AlwaysOn Director & Columnist Noah Gellman, interview Michael Dwork, founder of last year’s winner, VerTerra, a developer of environmentally friendly disposable dinnerware.
At a cocktail reception following the event, members of all the participating teams had the opportunity to network with leading investors, entrepreneurs and representatives from event sponsors, including the law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Merrill Datasite, First Republic Bank, Silicon Valley Bank, Aon Consulting, AlwaysOn and the Horn Group.
“This competition has been an educational and inspiring experience,” said Holger Witte, co-founder of Intrabid, one of the Colombia teams at the competition. “Not only were we able to present our campus-based auction system to some of the nation’s leading venture investors and hear their feedback, but we also learned from a previous winner’s experience, and met some of the top entrepreneurs and investors in the industry.”
In addition to the teams mentioned above, other teams that participated in the competition included Ecovolve (Princeton), Solixia (The University of Pennsylvania), Socialbomb (NYU), Scrimple (Cornell), Tropical Health Systems (Carnegie Mellon), and ClickDiagnostics (Harvard).
About DFJ Gotham Ventures
DFJ Gotham is a venture capital firm based in New York City focused on early-stage technology companies. The firm’s first investment was made in 2000, and since then it has backed over 25 ventures spanning a wide array of technology-related sectors.
The firm partners with extraordinary teams of entrepreneurs to build category-leading businesses that make a huge impact in their industries. Investments have included Massive (acquired by Microsoft), XOsoft (acquired by Computer Associates), Mimeo and ContextWeb. Visit http://www.dfjgotham.com/
About Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ)
Draper Fisher Jurvetson is a leader in seed and early stage venture capital, typically serving startup’s first outside source of financing. Founded in 1985, DFJ has created a network of offices in major technology centers around the world with approximately $4 billion in capital commitments. The DFJ Network has invested in hundreds of companies, including Hotmail (acquired by Microsoft), Baidu (BIDU), Skype (acquired by Ebay), United Online (UNTD), Overture (acquired by Yahoo!), Interwoven (IWOV), 411 (acquired by Yahoo!), Parametric (PMTC), and Digidesign (acquired by Avid). The network has proven expertise in identifying and helping extraordinary entrepreneurs who want to change the world. Visit http://www.dfj.com/
About Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati is the premier legal advisor to technology and growth enterprises worldwide, as well as the investment banks and venture capital firms that finance them. Over the past four decades, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati has established its reputation by having an unmatched knowledge of its clients’ industries and deep and long-standing contacts throughout the technology sector. The firm has more experienced attorneys focused on representing start-up companies seeking venture capital financing than any other law firm, and the deepest knowledge negotiating such transactions. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati currently represents over 100 venture capital and other private equity firms, and more venture capital-backed companies than any other law firm in the U.S. www.wsgr.com.
About Horn Group, Inc.
Horn Group is a strategic communications firm specializing in PR and digital marketing. The agency represents technology companies at every stage of growth to help them tell their stories to the people that matter in print, in person and on the web. Services include brand and message development, creative design, media strategy, public relations, and web development. The agency has been awarded the Web Marketing Association’s 2006 and 2007 WebAward and the 2006 Bell Ringer Award for media relations. Horn Group was ranked best-mid sized agency in PRSourceCode 2005 and 2006 survey of reporters and the firm continues to be noted as a Best Agency to Work For in the Holmes Report. The company was founded in 1991 and is based in San Francisco, New York and Boston. Visit www.horngroup.com.
About Columbia Business School
Led by Dean R. Glenn Hubbard, the Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and Economics, Columbia Business School is at the forefront of management education for a rapidly changing world. The school?s cutting-edge curriculum bridges academic theory and practice, equipping students with an entrepreneurial mindset to recognize and capture opportunity in a competitive business environment. Beyond academic rigor and teaching excellence, the school offers programs that are designed to give students practical experience making decisions in real-world environments. The school offers MBA and Executive MBA (EMBA) degrees, as well as non-degree Executive Education programs. For more information, visit www.gsb.columbia.edu.