SXSW McCombs Entrepreneurship Night Recap

In case you missed it the Texas MSTC program cohosted the annual SXSW McCombs Entrepreneurship night where successful McCombs entrepreneurs from the Texas MSTC Program showcased their startups. It was a great time to reconnect with old friends, make some new ones and check out all the cool things alumni and classmates have been up to. Meet the exceptional Texas MSTC startups that we showcased this SXSW:

Fishviews this startup creates 360-degree HD waterway maps of rivers, coasts and shores that can be delivered to desktop, mobile or VR devices. In other words, it’s similar to Google Street View, except watching a video feels like you’re heading down a river.

Mednoxa is an early stage medical device company bringing effective and affordable oxygen generation and delivery bandages to consumers to accelerate the healing process, reduce pain, and reduce scarring. They are now finalizing a minimum viable product in preparation for production.

Alafair Biosciences is an emerging medical device company developing a novel suite of products based on a non-cell adhesive hydrogel technology that protects and manages advanced wound healing. They just received FDA 510K clearance for VersaWrap™ Tendon Protector in 2016.

Gitty  is simplifying tech recruiting using AI.  Their mobile-first sourcing tool designed to uncover superstars of the software engineering world and is used by recruiters at Fortune 100 companies including Google, Facebook, Greylock Partners, Sequoia Capital and more.

Apptronik offers robotic engineering services as well products that are a result of their innovation. Now anybody from hobbyists to advanced researchers can use the same components used in leading robotic programs.

Texas Free Market Surgery are bundling together all the elements of surgery into one coherent platform and an upfront all-inclusive price making surgery simpler and less costly for patients, purchasers and healthcare providers.

Building a Winning Advisory Board for Your Startup (Part 2)

The following post is written by Garrett Eastham, Co-Founder of Edgecase and Chief Data Scientist.

Step 2: Leverage your advisors correctly and efficiently

Building your advisory board is only half that battle. Once you’ve put together the best set of individuals you can find, you need to learn how to leverage them effectively in order to get the most benefit for your business. For those who have worked within a board of directors dynamic, a key thing to remember is that your advisory board is less like a board and more like an extension of your executive offsites.

  • Schedule meetings far in advance: This is important! Your advisors are likely much, much busier than you – perhaps growing their own businesses to the next phase. Remember to work with their assistants weeks / months in advance so they don’t have to dread your “Can I get some feedback?” text message.
  • Bring them well-structured problems: A benefit of having specific types of advisors is that you can do a lot of work ahead of time to segment specific problems into key areas that your advisors can tackle independently. Not only will your advisors be more effective if you bring them clearly articulated problems and desired objectives to discuss, but you will also find benefit in working to put structure on your business issues as your organization grows.
  • Consider hosting an advisory board meeting: While I do not advise trying to restrict advisory board meetings to a strict schedule; it can be helpful on occasion to get several of your advisors together for a broader, cross-discipline discussion. They also might appreciate the chance to meet and network with the other thought leaders you’ve worked so diligently to assemble.

Step 3: Empower advisors to help you both win

Inherently, your advisors have relatively low incentive to dedicate time to you and your business’ problems. The hour they spend with you undoubtedly has a high opportunity cost as they forego customers issues, sales calls, or product brainstorms to help you break through the mental barrier. Thus, it is absolutely pivotal that you learn how to create incentives that make them excited to get to that hour you’ve scheduled together on a Friday afternoon.

  • Align their incentives with yours (financial and emotional): Aside from providing equity-based incentives (make sure you do proper contracts and everything), many entrepreneurs forget the emotional motivations that most advisors have for wanting to spend time with you. For many of your industry veterans who have already built successful businesses, they will never have the same early experiences building companies again as their networks will already be in place; however, they often love sharing in your emotional ride (think of them like grandparents who get to share in the joy of helping you raise your children). Remember to capitalize on this and make every email, meeting, or text full of energy and excitement – even if it’s not good news – because great entrepreneurs love rising to the occasion and want nothing more than to share in the excitement of overcoming challenges together.
  • Make it easy for advisors to connect you to their network: A lot of what you will ask your advisors for is often email introductions to people within their network on your behalf. While this can sometimes feel like asking for handouts, you can turn this around by thinking of ways to turn the introduction into a chance for your advisor to strengthen that particular connection as well. It doesn’t take more than a strategically crafted email and an understanding of your advisor’s own goals to allow them the chance to kick off an email correspondence with an old former client by introducing them to your business while also creating a new lead / opportunity for his own sales team.

It takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to build a great business; however, I think the old adage “it takes a village” seems more apt to describe the entrepreneurial process. As an entrepreneur, you will always be focused on building the right team around you, and that process can start from day one and zero employees by focusing on building the right advisor support team around your idea.

Building a Winning Advisory Board for Your Startup (Part 1)

The following post is written by Garrett Eastham, Co-Founder of Edgecase and Chief Data Scientist.

When I left my full-time job as a product manager at one of Austin’s fastest growing companies to pursue my life dream of building a successful enterprise marketing technology company, I knew next to nothing about how to go about doing such a thing. I had about twenty grand to my name and a personal runway of less than 10 months to figure it out. In less than a year, I had raised $3.5 million in venture backing, built a team of seasoned ecommerce executives, and signed on our company’s first IR100 client. None of it would have been possible if I hadn’t spent most of that year developing a winning advisory board.

As a new entrepreneur (especially if it is your first venture), the single highest leverage task you can perform with your time is identifying, pitching, and developing key advisors. An advisory board serves several purposes, however, all too often entrepreneurs treat them as names on slides and people to hit up for investor contacts when it’s time to fundraise. The best advisory boards – ones that are carefully crafted and honed – will function as an extension of your executive team (and if done correctly, one you probably could never afford at market rates).

A winning advisory board will serve multiple purposes. They will help you evolve both your business idea and your business model in ways you would have never imagined. They will introduce you to your first cohort of potential customers (who will close at a statistically above average rate). And they will help connect you to that rockstar engineer who otherwise wouldn’t even respond to your tweets. But for this to be possible you must build your advisory board wisely.

Step 1: Seek the right mix of advisors for your problem domain

One of the most common mistakes I see young entrepreneurs make is naively asking the first notable entrepreneurs who take their coffee meeting to join their advisory board. While these folks will most certainly be flattered, the best ones will advise that you first consider the particular skillset and make-up that you want at your table.

Above all, let your problem domain dictate the requirements for your advisory board. All lasting businesses solve real, tangible problems for customers, and much of what you accomplish from building a business comes from learning how to adjust to the needs of a particular market’s response to how you solve these problems. Once you identify the core problems you want to (someday) solve, focus on building a mix of types of advisors.

  • Industry Leaders / Veterans (Ideally Entrepreneurs): Some of your best advisors will be existing successful entrepreneurs within your target industry. At Edgecase, I have had the immense fortune of working with many of the early Bazaarvoice executives – including Brett Hurt, Sam Decker, Michael Osborne, and several others. As a young entrepreneur attempting to build a SaaS company selling to the enterprise ecommerce market, I could not have asked for a better set of minds to debate ideas with and learn the inside secrets from. If you’re concerned about whether a seasoned entrepreneur will take your call, just remember – aside from being boldly persistent – these types of people are typically personally invigorated to meet impassioned entrepreneurs as it can often remind them of their own personal experience in starting their businesses.
  • Technical Experts: Depending on your problem domain, it will likely be necessary to seek particular expertise when building your product or offering. As a business trying to solve a particular market problem, you will need to bring some new insight or IP that does not exist; therefore, you can get significant leverage by seeking out key product managers, designers, developers, or data scientists. You will likely not be able to afford them at the start (or possibly ever) and therefore, landing these types of people can help bring your product into a different competitive landscape. Great examples of this type of leverage are notable scientific advisory boards – like the one that has been built at Helix – where the difference between solving a market problem and successfully selling that solution depends on your ability to convince the market that you are technically capable of pulling it off.
  • Customers (Existing & Potential): Every business founder will engage with customers at some point – ideally every chance they get if they’re doing their job correctly. Adding customers to an advisory board is a great way to get honest feedback that might be held back otherwise in the traditional customer relationship. For those selling into the modern enterprise, it’s great to have high-profile potential customers on your side (such as a key executive for the top brand in in your industry); however, do not think that doing so guarantees that company as a client. In fact, you will most likely not have the big fish customers on board early on – it’s often just too risky for a large enterprise to trust their assets with an unproven enterprise, no matter how strong the executive champion. Don’t worry though, you’ll spend plenty of time courting and closing those big fish while trying to move from Series A to B.
  • Market Thought Leaders: Many entrepreneurs get so focused on customers or product development that they forget there are often extra-market factors that reside outside of that otherwise important interaction. Every industry – whether consumer, small business, or enterprise – has market thought leaders that its constituents respect: analysts, famous bloggers, celebrity Instagrammers, etc. While having these individuals on your advisory board does not guarantee you a place in the next Gartner Magic Quandrant, it can go a long way in showing providing an important 3rd party voice in customer / product interactions.
  • (Possibly) Investors: While it might seem like a straightforward benefit to have folks that could write you a check when the times comes on your advisory board, keep in mind that these individuals are already strapped for time running from one board meeting to another. Also, most investors are spread across different product categories and industries (typically because they invest in patterns of business models versus specific markets); therefore, their impact will not be as significant when you are in the formation phases of determining just how to win at a given market (read – finding product market fit). On the other hand, if part of your problem domain is to figure out how to apply a new business model to a legacy market problem (think Uber / Lyft on consumer transportation), it can be invaluable to find an investor that has a particular passion around certain kind of new / emerging business models – like on-demand, SaaS, PaaS, etc.

(Stay tuned next week for Building a Winning Advisory Board for Your Startup :Part 2)

Winning Weekend for MSTC


MSTC teams Flipped Health and DraftCrunch at the TVLIC

It was quite the winning weekend for the Texas MSTC Program! Our students took home victories in not one but TWO business plan competitions, as well as one second place finish.

Last week 20 teams in five divisions competed in the Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition, including 10 from UT’s MBA programs, six from MSTC, and four from PhD programs. Three MSTC teams were selected to move on to the final round of five teams, with MSTC team Flipped Health taking home the first place win and MSTC team DraftCrunch clutching the runner up position.


MSTC team Colter Durham at the Georgia Bowl Business Plan Competition

Flipped Health will represent The University of Texas at Austin in the Global VLIC in May, incubate at ATI for a year, and receive $5,000. DraftCrunch will receive $3,000 to invest in their venture.

The celebrations don’t stop there! Texas MSTC team Colter Durham claimed a first place victory at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Georgia Bowl Business Plan Competition. They’ll be carrying their $10,000 prize home in their ingenious Stow Cart, and will be joining MSTC team Flipped Health in the 2015 Global VLIC.

Congratulations to all of the Texas MSTC teams that competed this weekend. We’re glowing with pride. Hook ’em!

Four Tips for Start-up Businesses Seeking Private Equity

Originally posted on McCombs Today by Samantha Grasso

Austin skyline (Credit Flickr user: byeagle)

In a rich startup hub like Austin, young entrepreneurs are constantly looking for strategies to logistically shape their company to the competitive business world, and also make their product stand out to consumers. Alan Cline, principal for Vista Equity Partners, echoed this notion when he spoke on how his private equity firm selects their investments.

“The strategy is…find a business that fits our criteria, which is mission critical enterprise, software data, and technology enabled services. Find it with a very strong value proposition that is different from your competitors,” Cline said.

On Oct. 7, Cline was joined by Bill Wood, founder of the venture capital firm Silverton Partners, for the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship speaker series. Moderated by the center’s Laura Kilcrease and co-sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the presentation focused on Wood and Cline’s experiences in the industry. Together, they divulged advice on catching the attention of a venture capital or private equity firm.

  1. Be mindful of size, metrics, and the market  
    When considering a company for venture capital investment, Wood said the first thing he looks at is the company’s market, how their product fits in the market, and initial metrics of the company. Among those details, Wood said he questions if the market is interesting in size, growth rate, and competitive structure, if the product is innovative or proprietary, and what the company’s competitive positioning is like.”Even though [the data] is embryonic and early, we want to see the right things in terms of traffic, emergence, customer acquisition cost, long term value,…[and] monthly growth rate,” Wood said. “We’re kind of looking for indications that, ‘Hey, this is an interesting business.'”
  2. It’s all about “machine-based decision-making”According to Wood, taking advantage of available data can help entrepreneurs make stronger company decisions. If the data doesn’t exist, then develop a method to obtain it. Wood said that under this type of decision-making, marketing for startups is no longer strategized through guessing and estimations, but based on A/B testing.

    “Broadly speaking, I don’t care what you do in your life: Decision-making is dramatically changing, and if it isn’t, you’re behind. You can increasingly make better decisions based on data…If you don’t have the data, you create it,” Wood said. “We’re moving into a phase of machine-based decision-making, and it’s incredibly powerful.”

  3. Take advantage of modern business modelsBusiness models have become more important, real, and predictable. Wood said while business models used to be “people folding out assumptions,” models can now be built mathematically, and tested for reliability.

    “You can look at every assumption, you can test every assumption, and you can know pretty quickly whether you’re on track or not, and then you can start correcting,” Wood said. “They tell you, ‘Will it work?’…’Is it working?’ ‘How do I need to tweak and turn things to make it work?'”

  4. The culture of private equity funding is changingJust because a business is being sold from one equity firm to another, it doesn’t mean the business is failing. Cline said this previous notion has evolved over the last seven years, and he now knows a change of firms happens more often because the fund lifecycle has ended, or the vision of the next firm better fits the company at that point in time.

    “When we’re kind of passing the baton from one firm to another, those are the real great winning situations, because we get involved at a stage where we see opportunity…We take it as far as it makes sense for us to be involved, and then someone else says, ‘Hey, great asset, I love what you’ve done with it, now we’re going to take it global,'” Cline said.

Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Donna Kidwell, MSTC 2007

Dr. Donna Kidwell is a member of the Texas MSTC Class of 2007. We invite you to read on to learn about her experience in the Texas MSTC Program.


Name: Dr. Donna K. Kidwell
Year of MSTC Graduation: 2007
Education Background:
BA History, UT Austin 1992
Doctorate Business Administration, Grenoble Ecole de Management, Grenoble, France, 2012 on the commercialization of science and research out of universities into industry.
Pre-MSTC Job:
Innovation Manager, Keller Williams Realty International
Post-MSTC Job:
Co-founder and President, Webstudent International AS, a Norwegian based startup creating innovative eLearning solutions between universities and industry.
Favorite MSTC Class:
Just one?! Kate Mackie’s Marketing course.
What technology did you work on during the program?
Virtual worlds and virtual world currencies.
How did the Master of Science in Technology Commercialization change your outlook on entrepreneurship and business?
The MSTC gave me systems and processes that I employ daily to develop my business. From learning and validating markets, creating new revenue models to launching international businesses: I use those lessons daily.
What is the most valuable thing you learned in the MSTC program?
There is systemic work behind entrepreneurship. It isn’t magic or happenstance – it’s actual work that you can do: decisions you can make, risks you can analyze, and models you can prove and build.
What advice do you have for prospective MSTC students?
As an MSTC student, you have a unique opportunity to explore areas of interest and open doors. That is much harder to access and create time for later on. In each trimester you have a framework for developing expertise and insight into a technology field you are passionate about. Plunge in and dive deeply!

Building a Better Band-Aid

Originally posted by Andrew Faught on McCombs Today

Every year, nearly 750,000 tendon repair procedures are performed in the United States, most of them without precautions to prevent excessive scar tissue formation, which can cause chronic pain in patients.

John Joyoprayitno, MSTC '13, in suit and tieBut not if John Joyoprayitno, MSTC ’13, has his way. The co-founder and chief operating officer of Austin-based Alafair Biosciences is working to commercialize a natural membrane that could minimize adhesions by acting as an “internal Band-Aid” on surgical wounds.

“You basically cover the wound, let it heal, and then the membrane degrades and resorbs back into the body,” Joyoprayitno says. “It allows the body to do what it’s supposed to do, and it prevents excessive scarring.”

Adhesion-related complications, which can force doctors to re-operate, create a $3.45 billion annual health care burden in the United States, he adds.

Joyoprayitno’s membrane (which hasn’t been given a name yet) was developed at The University of Texas at Austin, which licenses and has part ownership in it. The film, made of naturally occurring sugar molecules, will be submitted for review by the Food and Drug Administration and could be available to doctors in late 2016.

Plans to bring the technology to market for tendon repair took root while Joyoprayitno was a student in the McCombs School of Business’s one-year M.S. in Technology Commercialization (MSTC) program, which targets aspiring entrepreneurs who want to launch new ventures based on emerging technologies. The membrane already has been issued two patents, and it’s received four other provisional patents.

Since it was founded in 2011, Alafair has grabbed the notice of state policymakers. In May, Gov. Rick Perry announced that the company was the recipient of a $2 million award from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund(TETF).

The TETF is a $485 million fund created by the Texas Legislature in 2005 at the governor’s request, and reauthorized in 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013. A 17-member advisory committee of high-tech leaders, entrepreneurs, and research experts reviews potential projects and recommends funding allocations to the governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker of the house.

In the past, too many good ideas were leaving Texas because of a lack of investor savvy, says MSTC director Gary Cadenhead. To date, TETF has allocated more than $250 million in funds to 87 biotech ventures. The impact is palpable: the state reports that in 2009, the biotechnology industry had a $75 billion economic influence in Texas.

The same study found that for every biotechnology job created, 2.3 additional jobs are generated, which fuels the Texas economy.

“It’s one of the really good things that the state of Texas has done — giving money to firms that are in the critical area, when it’s probably a little too early for venture capitalists,” Cadenhead says. “It bridges that gap between what friends and family can put up, before big money comes in.” Continue reading on McCombs Today.

For Joyoprayitno, who once considered enrolling in medical school but instead opted to become an entrepreneur (he’s also co-owner of the Austin Speed Shop, a car restoration business), the TETF grant will allow Alafair to grow and expand its employee base.

The company isn’t the only player in the membrane business. Other products exist, but they’re often made with collagen, which is expensive and has questionable efficacy, Joyoprayitno says. Doctors also have complained that other membranes are difficult to work with because they lack flexibility.

“Our product will have better handling characteristics,” says Joyoprayitno, who notes the Alafair membrane can be changed on demand from a flexible membrane to a mucous-like consistency that causes it to stick to the wound. “It allows the surgeon to place it more accurately.”

For now, all efforts are on successfully commercializing the membrane, which goes well beyond simply having a great idea.

“It takes organization, hard work, and wearing all of the hats,” Joyoprayitno says. “You’ve got to figure out what needs to happen and make it happen. Everybody uses the saying, ‘drinking from a fire hose.’ You really have to be able to handle that.”

Cadenhead, for one, likes Joyoprayitno’s chances for hitting a biotech bonanza: “I think he’s got a winner.”

McCombs Holding Strong in Entrepreneurship

Originally posted by Matt Turner on McCombs Today

RANKINGS_McCombs_PR_entrepreneurship_programs_no_7_4x3_0-300x225McCombs came in 7th in the nation in The Princeton Review’s tally of the top 25 graduate schools for entrepreneurship programs, which it publishes in partnership with Entrepreneur magazine.

The top three spots, in order, went to Michigan, Babson, and Harvard.

This is the fourth year in a row for McCombs to make the top 10 in the ranking, which has been published annually since 2006. Among public schools, McCombs is third, behind Michigan (1) and Virginia (5).

The Princeton Review surveys nearly 2,000 programs across the country and examines entrepreneurship with a wide lens, touching upon faculty, students, and alumni, and including activities both inside and outside the classroom. At McCombs, the survey included entrepreneurship among the MSTC and MBA programs and the host of initiatives and opportunities available to students (see below).

The survey measures programmatic items like scholarships, mentorship programs, and business competitions, but also considers outcomes, such as the number of businesses launched and their survivorship after graduation.

Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s senior vice president of publishing and a nationally recognized expert on college admissions, noted in a press release the high quality of the recognized schools’ faculties, courses, and out-of-class offerings. “Their students have extraordinary opportunities to network with established entrepreneurs, interact on teams…and develop skills to launch their own businesses,” Franek said.

“This is just one more example of why I’m excited for this coming year at McCombs,” says Brett Hurt, who recently joined McCombs’ Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship as entrepreneur-in-residence. “Already, I’ve seen a tremendous response from students, who have an almost insatiable appetite for startup insight. Best of all, they are coming to me with eyes wide open; no dreamy idealists, they want to dig in, work hard, and build companies to last.”

McCombs offers rich opportunities for graduate students interested in all things entrepreneurial. A few examples include:

  • Venture Fellows, which helps MBAs get a leg up in the venture capital arena by offering internships with venture capital and private equity luminaries.
  • Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs, a campus-wide initiative that helps link students to the entrepreneurial, business, technology, and legal resources available on campus and provides mentoring, team-building, business plan validation, and technology commercialization.
  • The Venture Labs Investment Competitions, which is held in Austin each May. Founded in 1984 as Moot Corp, it is the first and longest operating, inter-business-school, new-venture competition in the world.
  • Austin Technology Incubator, which was the first university-based incubator in the country. Established in 1989, it has raised over $1 billion in investor capital and spawned more than 200 companies, including many new ventures created by Texas MBA students.
  • Master of Science in Technology Commercialization (MSTC). Established in 1996, this one-year alternating weekend program is designed for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to identify new technologies with market potential, bring them to market, and create wealth in the process.

MSTC Places at 2013 GVLIC

The Global Venture Labs Investment Competition simulates the real-world process of raising venture capital. It is a unique partnership that brings together graduate students and business leaders. The judges function as an investment group seeking to reach consensus on the business venture they would most likely fund. The quality of the idea, the strength of the management team, the clarity and persuasiveness of the written plan, and oral presentation all influence the judges’ decisions.

Begun as “Moot Corp” at The University of Texas at Austin by MBA students in 1984, the Venture Labs Investment Competition is the oldest new venture competition in the world, and it provides graduate students with a chance to simulate the real-world process of raising venture capital.


Global Venture Labs first runners-up and Texas MSTC team, Beyonic.

Global Venture Labs first runners-up and Texas MSTC team, Beyonic.

The 2013 competition was sponsored by Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs, an interdisciplinary education and research initiative. The Texas Venture Labs promotes new venture creation at The University of Texas at Austin through education and mentoring, market and business plan validation, team-building and networking, and direct links to resources and funding.

The first runners-up of this year’s competition were Dan Kleinbaum and Luke Kyohere, graduate students from the Texas Master of Science in Technology Commercialization program whose startup, Beyonic Technologies, has developed a mobile payment platform for use in the developing world.

Seismos, founded by Texas MSTC students Panos Adamopoulos, Omar Hernandez, Stevan Slusher, and Devin Bedwell won the $20,000 Wells Fargo Clean Energy prize. Seismos provides real-time measurements of oil and gas flows for enhanced oil recovery. The Wells Fargo Clean Energy track was part of the competition for a second year, with enhanced prize money this year thanks to Wells Fargo’s increased commitment and funding to Texas Venture Labs.Seismos wins Wells Fargo Clean Energy Track


MSTC team, Seismos

Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition first-place winners and Texas MSTC team, Seismos

Seismos also won first place in February’s Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition, as well as first-place awards in clean energy and cleantech tracks in the Shell Venture Technologies track at the Rice Business Plan Competition at Rice University in Houston. They continued their winning streak by picking up the clean-tech and energy awards, as well as an overall second-place award, at the University of California Haas School of Business investment competition in Berkeley.

Altogether, Seismos has won more than $45,000 in cash and about $100,000 in services and non-cash awards this competition season, said team member Panos Adamopoulos. “This is all thanks to the MSTC program,” he said. “We thank all the McCombs faculty and people who have been of such great help.”

This year’s GVLIC had an especially strong international presence. Eleven countries were represented, and 40 percent of the competing teams came from schools outside the United States.
“We had a true global final this yeSeismos at 2013 GVLICar, with two of the four teams in the finals coming from outside the U.S.,” said GVLIC Director Robert Warren. “Visolis did an excellent job presenting their venture and responding to the judges’ questions, and we are excited they are the 2013 Venture Labs Investment Competition’s Global Champion.”

MSTC Team wins Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition

Seismos, the 2013 MSTC Team, won the 2013 Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition, and will compete in the Global Venture Labs Investment Competition in May at the ATT Center in Austin, Texas.

TVL connects local start-up companies with talented and entrepreneurial graduate and Ph.D. students from the MBA, Law, Engineering, and Natural Sciences programs to conduct special projects that help move these businesses forward. Teams of four to six students interact closely with the entrepreneur and/or investors to make an immediate impact during their engagement. TVL teams have conducted successful market validation, financial analysis, business model assessment, competitive analysis and due diligence review projects, amongst others.

MSTC- SeismosSeismos was one of five teams that made it to the TVL finals. Seismos competed with two other MSTC Teams, Glutact and Intelligent Menu.

Seismos is a technology-enabled services company that detects and interprets changes in underground oil and gas reservoirs in real-time with unparalleled sensitivity. The Team consists of Devin Bedwell, MSTC ’13, Panos Adamopoulos, MSTC ’13, Stevan Slusher, MSTC ’13 and Omar Hernandez, MSTC ‘13. They received $5000, a year at the Austin Technology Incubator, and the opportunity to represent The University of Texas at Austin at the Global VLIC in May.

MSTC Teams GluTact placed third and won $2,000 and Intelligent Menu placed fourth.