ATI Announces 2011 Summer SEAL Participants

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3rd Annual Kick-off for Student Entrepreneurs

The Austin Technology Incubator (ATI), a nonprofit unit of The University of Texas at Austin, announced the kick-off of the 3rd annual Student Entrepreneur Acceleration and Launch (SEAL) program today to follow-up on the successes with previous participating startups Mutual Mobile, Solavicta, Wibole, Ordoro and SpectraPhase.

In both 2009 and 2010, five startups participated and several went on to be successful startups. Mutual Mobile has garnered millions of dollars of revenue, Solavicta won MOOT Corp 2010, Wibole and SpectraPhase are spinning out UT Austin IP and are members of ATI, and Ordoro is also a new member of ATI and has ramping revenue.

This summer’s SEAL program includes the following early-stage ventures:

Azotergon delivers a novel waste treatment process that generates high-value nitrogen compounds. MedMa has a SaaS solution to help nursing homes prevent medication errors.
The Body Browser offers a 3D body surface scanning technology initially targeted at fitness tracking in health clubs. Vectralux provides an optical transceiver vendor that enhances signal performance over multimode fiber. Virtegrity is a novel security software startup tackling the difficult virtualization market.

Kyle Cox, the new ATI - On Campus Assistant Director, said “this 2011 SEAL class is extraordinary in terms of their technical sophistication and focus on solving specific, well-defined problems with technology-based breakthroughs.”

Recently at UT Austin, there has been increased interest in entrepreneurship spurred on by several new programs like the Idea to Product Competition (I2P), the Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition, 3 Day Startup and the Hatchery Class. Courses, competitions, student organizations and UT departments serve students as they progress through the first three stages of a startup: develop innovation, light-touch market validation and business validity. However, as a student progresses through the entrepreneurial process, the last step of making the decision to significantly invest in the new business does not have institutional support at UT Austin, but ATI’s SEAL program does just that.

Each summer, ATI hosts the SEAL program, a two month accelerator for five select UT Austin student-led startups, sourced from other student entrepreneur programs at UT, to make the “Go / No-Go” decision. In order to determine whether their business can develop into a successful startup and to look at the possible roadblocks, the five SEAL teams participate in multiple strategy sessions, interview prospective customers and partners, create financial models, write a high-level pitch, and develop leadership and organizational skills along the way. At the end of the program, each team delivers their ‘Decision Day’ pitch to an audience of potential angel investors, venture capitalists, UT Austin faculty and members of the Austin startup community.

This year’s Decision Day is set for August 2, 2011 at ATI, located at the West Pickle Research (WPR) Building, 3925 West Braker Lane, Austin, Texas 78759. ATI is currently looking for mentors and sponsors for the event.

Bart Bohn, ATI IT/Wireless Director and Founding Director of the SEAL program said, “the continuing evolution of the SEAL program is critical to sustaining the momentum of student-led innovation and entrepreneurship.”

SEAL program partners include 3 Day Startup and the Hatchery Class.

3 Day Startup (3DS) is a program to help students start a technology company over the course of three days. Students from numerous backgrounds - MBAs, computer science, design, engineering, neuroscience, law, etc. are given guidance through the early stages of the startup experience. Over one intense weekend, 3DS participants brainstorm ideas, conduct market validation, devise business models, build prototypes, create branding, and pitch to investors and successful entrepreneurs. The result is an experience that challenges participants to innovate, build and launch real companies.

Some SEAL participants have taken the “From Innovation to Entrepreneurship” class or “Hatchery Class”, supervised by Engineering Professor Sriram Vishnawanth. The class helps establish the commercial potential and patentability of graduate student research. The class teams law students, business students, and engineers/scientists, who work together to define a commercialization plan and draft patent application for student-generated science and engineering innovation at UT Austin. The class offers lectures about patent writing by a partner from a leading Austin IP law firm and lectures by industry veterans addressing topics including market validation, potential consumer acquisition, channel determination, and fund raising.

About the Austin Technology Incubator
The Austin Technology Incubator is a nonprofit unit of The University of Texas at Austin that harnesses business, government and academic resources to provide strategic counsel, operational guidance and infrastructure support to its member companies to help them transition from early stage ventures to successful technology businesses. Since its founding in 1989, ATI has worked with over 200 companies, helping raise close to $750 million in investor capital. ATI is a key program of the IC2 Institute at UT Austin. For more information, visit http://www.ati.utexas.edu.

About Student Entrepreneur Acceleration and Launch (SEAL) Program
As part of the ATI On Campus portfolio, the Student Entrepreneur Acceleration and Launch (SEAL) program assists students in addressing the last major decision to go all in with a new business. The SEAL program provides facilitated contact with the industry by delivering coaching and mentoring by ATI directors and advisors, structured problem solving with an ATI senior associate and an enforced timeline and clear deliverables. The student teams breakdown business issues into specific analyses, perform primary research through facilitated introductions with industry and technology experts by ATI leadership and relevant industry advisors, as well as vet conclusions and recommendations with industry insiders and members of the ATI team.

Contact:
Kyle Cox
ATI - On Campus
kcox(at)ati(dot)utexas(dot)edu
(512) 305-0011

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Kirsten Frazee
The Austin Technology Incubator
(817) 773-4148
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