May 18, 2006

Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship -- Peter Drucker

LOS ANGELES - What does the world’s first self-service bar have to do with new combinations of medicines to fight disease? What does new middle ware for Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) networks have in common with Internet business and marketing consulting. And what does in-vitro fertilization have to do with any of them?

The answer: They are the business ideas and innovations represented by the five finalists in the 2006 Knapp Venture Competition. Now in its 25th year, the student-run competition, hosted by the Harold and Pauline Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and the Entrepreneur Association, is designed to provide UCLA Anderson students with an intensive learning experience in the venture initiation process. The finals of the 2006 Knapp Venture Competition will be held Thursday, May 25, 2006 on the UCLA Anderson campus.

The five final teams represent a vast array of business plans. John Tabis (’06) says his Filling Station team seeks to “empower bar goers through a patent-pending, self-service beer interface – a gas pump at your table that serves beer.” Synergy Therapeutics’ Matt Panuwat (’06) says, “We’re combining approved drugs together into a single formulation.” Precision Reproduction is also in the bio-med field. According to Greg Samson (’07), they’ve “developed, patented and tested a device and procedure for in-vitro fertilization that improves success rates and reduces risks for both mother and child.”

Okoro Technologies is “an Internet consulting business focused on providing high-quality professional services to small and medium businesses in Los Angeles and Orange County,” according to John Okoro (’06). Logic Alloy specializes in easy to use middle ware for Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) networks.

To this point, the process has been impressive. William Benjamin, managing director of The Benjamin Group served as judge during the Knapp semi-finals. He said, “Some of the plans (I saw) were amazingly good. The detail and the thought that went into the preparation was really something that I haven’t seen before and I’ve been looking at business plans for twenty years.” Michael Kerr, president of Bluestone Communities and also a semi-final judge concurred. “I was very impressed with the overall quality of the business plans and the students. It was apparent that their classroom preparation helped them create realistic plans. The finalists were well thought out business concepts that addressed the major issues involved in starting a business, such as domain knowledge combined with ambitious goals; coherent, believable financial projections and clear presentation of key concepts with supporting facts and details.”

Most of the finalist’s plans began as “real-life” business ideas – they weren’t just created to enter into a competition. For example, the Filling Station’s seed germinated when Tabis was an undergraduate student at Notre Dame. “A few friends and I were sick of waiting 15 minutes for a beer while bartenders collected women’s phone numbers. But what makes the plan unique, viable and so profitable is all the work that has gone into it over the past year and a half.“ There is precedence. Numerous businesses have been launched over the years as a result of Knapp entries, including and eFriendsnet. Last year, Knapp winner Auditude licensed its technology to Premiere Radio Networks, the syndication division of Clear Channel Communications (and won $135,450 from additional competitions).

This year’s Knapp competition will award more than $20,000 in prizes, with the distribution left to the discretion of the judges. Among the judges this year are Betsey Wood Knapp, founder and chief executive officer, BigPictures Investors, LLC; Bud Knapp, chairman and chief executive officer, Knapp Foundation; Timothy C. Draper, founder and managing director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson and entrepreneurs Austin Murray of Jamdat, Ruth Owades of Calyx & Corolla, and Louise J. Wannier of myShape.

Visit the Knapp Competition Web site

About UCLA Anderson School of Management
UCLA Anderson School of Management is ranked among the top-tier business schools in the world.  Award-winning faculty renowned for their research and teaching, highly selective admissions, successful alumni and world-class facilities combine to provide an extraordinary learning environment.

The mission of UCLA Anderson School of Management is to be a global leader in management education, research and service. Established in 1935, UCLA Anderson provides management education to more than 1,400 students enrolled in MBA and doctoral programs, and some 2,000 executives and managers enrolled annually in executive education programs. UCLA Anderson alumni number more than 34,000 graduates around the world dedicated to continued networking, professional development and educational activities.

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