May 29, 2002

Los Angeles — Two of the five finalist teams in the 2002 Knapp Venture Competitions held May 16 took the first-place honors, with each winning team receiving the full $10,000 grand prize. The Knapp Venture Competition is named for supporters Bud and Betsy Knapp, whose $2 million gift to the school partially supports the annual contest and other entrepreneurial initiatives.

One of the top spots this year went to David Vick ('03) and Daniel Hyman for their company, XCOM Wireless Inc., a novel MEMS relay that provides higher performance at a lower cost structure. The MEMS and circuit packages are fabricated using standard techniques with a high level of design and process development in final assembly.

Shoom, Inc., presented by Mark Jaffe ('03), Carrie Friedman ('03) and Bill Freschi, CEO of Shoom, Inc., was also named a first place winner. Shoom, which has been operating for over a year, develops and markets Web-based solutions that substantially alleviate costly inefficiencies within the publishing and advertising industries.

Rather than splitting the grand prize of $10,000, both first place winners received the full amount of $10,000 due to a generous gift made by Marx L. Cazenave, president and CEO of Progress Investment Management Company.

"The feedback we received from the judges made the competition more than worthwhile and really helped us to improve our business plan," said David Vick ('03), member of the XCOM team and Anderson student. "Actually winning the competition was icing on the cake."

Nineteen teams of Anderson MBA students and alumni entered the competition, covering a wide range of industries that include biotechnology, publishing, telecommunications and computer software. Five finalists were chosen to present their plans to a distinguished panel of venture capitalists and angel investors.

Many of the finalists who participated in the competition this year are active companies seeking venture funding. Elaine Hagan, associate director of UCLA Anderson's Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, noted that this year's competition was more about a partnership with the business community, rather than an isolated business plan contest among MBA students.

The MBA students, in preparation for the competition, had the opportunity to interact with advisors, judges, and private equity executives through structured programs throughout the year in order to refine their ideas, Hagan said.

"We're very conscious of the fact that we want this to be a good experience for the students," Hagan said.

Three teams received an Honorable Mention and $500 in prize money: AgaMatrix, a software digital signal processing (DSP) solution that dramatically improves the functionality and performance of biosensor devices; Lark Seeds International, a profitable seed trading company looking to vertically integrate downward into high-margin seed production; and Women in Business, a 100-page, four-color glossy monthly periodical catering to female business professionals.

The Knapp Venture Competition is presented by Anderson's highly ranked Harold Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and the school's student-run Entrepreneur Association.

Media Relations