Archive for November, 2012

U.Va. Hosts Kickoff to Startup Virginia Tour

Aneesh Chopra, former U.S. Chief Technology Officer, addresses the audience at the Startup Virginia kickoff event

On Monday, the University teamed up with Charlottesville business leaders and the Startup America Partnership to kick off Startup Virginia’s six-stop tour around the state. The event featured remarks from former U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, U.Va. Vice President for Research Tom Skalak, U.Va. Innovation’s Mark Crowell and Donna Harris, managing director of Startup Regions for the Startup America Partnership.

In addition to the featured speakers and panel of local entrepreneurs, the event also featured student business concept presentations from the two of the top teams from the U.Va. Entrepreneurship Cup: winner “PhageFlag” and honorable mention “Virginia Toastie.”

In her address, Harris stated that Startup America has “amassed literally billions of dollars of resources, for you, for free,” and that entrepreneurs should not be discouraged by the challenge of finding startup capital and investors.

Startup Virginia was founded by the Startup America Partnership in early 2012 to promote startup ventures across Virginia and connect entrepreneurs with the resources they need to succeed. The remaining stops along the statewide tour include Blacksburg, Roanoke, Richmond, Norfolk, and Arlington.

Want to see more photos? Click here to see our photo album!

Additional media coverage of the event:

Click here for more information about Startup Virginia and the Startup America Partnership.

Student Perspective: The Power of Startup Weekend

We asked Kyle Bye, a third-year student in U.Va.’s McIntire School of Commerce and president of the Entrepreneurship Group at McIntire, to write a guest blog on his experience at Charlottesville’s Startup Weekend Oct. 26-28. Read on for his take on the power of Startup Charlottesville.

Startup Charlottesville

Team leaders selected on Friday night pitch to potential team members for the weekend hackathon. Photo courtesy of Kyle Bye.

Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event that brings developers, designers and business enthusiasts together to try and form businesses in a weekend. It is an exciting initiative adding another leg to the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem here in Charlottesville.

How does it work?

Friday evening, individuals line up to pitch their concepts. Teams form around the best ideas (pictured). Saturday is filled with seemingly endless work sessions, and then teams prep for Sunday’s presentations to a panel of esteemed judges and industry leaders.

Entrepreneurs are salespeople at heart, with an unyielding sense of pride and determination for their ideas. From the initial pitch on Friday to recruiting those top-notch team members and even when presenting to potential customers for feedback, it is clear that success at a Startup Weekend event can be attributed to how well you can sell yourself and your idea.

The weekend’s events are all about experiential learning.

Local Charlottesville mentors are always floating around the room to coach you on specific topics, such as UX/UI design, user validation and the business model canvas.

One of the most useful aspects for students is that you can apply skills learned in the classroom. For instance, in my Project Management class the week before the event, we were discussing the differences between the traditional waterfall method and agile methodologies. Who knew that a few days later I would be working on a team with a professional agile coach?

Kanban, scrum, stand-ups and sprints are no longer theoretical terms buried in a textbook. I am now able to fully appreciate their real-world applications as productivity drivers in software development teams.

Following these streamlined, iterative approaches led our team to focus on a minimum viable product, share ideas efficiently among our team’s diverse functional areas and build a working prototype by the end of the weekend. My team’s concept, called Spur, provides viral fundraising for charitable organizations by harnessing the power of social media.

I also had the opportunity to lead a team during Charlottesville’s first ever Startup Weekend last March. As a second-year student, I remember walking into the tech incubator downtown overwhelmed with the energy and technical talent in the room. Sure enough, I pitched my idea of an online volunteering platform called Flash Karma, selected as a finalist, and was able to receive invaluable feedback over the weekend.

One of the most amazing feelings as an entrepreneur is having a vision for a concept and then watching others connect with your vision as you work together to bring it to life. That’s the power of Startup Weekend.

Reach Kyle at kdb2hz@virginia.edu.

U.Va. Researchers Develop Online ADHD Assessment

Attention Point, a U.Va. start-up dedicated to improving the diagnosis of neurobehavioral health disorders, recently launched DefiniPoint, the first online ADHD assessment system in the U.S. Sam English, founder and CEO of Attention Point, made the announcement at last week’s Virginia Psychological Association Fall Convention.

DefiniPoint is based on the work of U.Va. researchers Kim Penberthy, Boris Kovatchev and Daniel Cox and collaborators. The product uses patented Bayesian algorithms developed at U.Va. to integrate the results from multiple rating scales and multiple informants, such as parents and teachers, to create a single, more accurate probability rating for ADHD. Traditional ADHD assessments use paper-based rating scales that are difficult to customize and often lead to an incomplete assessment of the child’s ADHD symptoms.

The Center for Disease Control reports that 9.4 percent of all children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with ADHD. Attention Point hopes that this new system will vastly improve the accuracy of ADHD classification and treatment plan for millions of individual children.

Attention Point offered free use of the DefiniPoint system to all Virginia Psychological Association members for three months and expects to launch the product nationally in early 2013.

See the full story here.