The Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and its Center for Technology Commercialization announced the 2009 New Venture Competition winners at the Marcia Israel Awards banquet held in Town & Gown on April 30.
The centers presented a total of $55,000 in prize money to the winners, which included two divisions: graduate and faculty, and undergraduate.
The first-place $20,000 prize in the graduate and faculty division went to Kynna.com, a company created by USC Marshall MBA candidate John Phamvan and MBA alumna Huy Do and Jason Williams. The company produces high-quality lead generation and due diligence for asset-based lenders.
The second place $5,000 prize went to Stroome, created by Tom Grasty and Nonny de la Pena, graduate students at the USC Annenberg School. Stroome is a collaborative online space where individuals and organizations can create relevant and responsive video content.
Moshi, created by USC Marshall undergraduate Jonathon Nostrant, took the first place $20,000 prize in the undergraduate division. The company produces and markets an interactive voice response alarm clock.
USC Marshall undergraduate David Wachtel’s CollegeWeekenders.com took the second place $5,000 prize. The site provides students with affordable weekender trips.
The centers also presented the Arbitech Jumpstart Feasibility Grant, a $5,000 gift by USC Marshall alumnus Torin Pavia to BlackSilver Technologies, created by USC Viterbi undergraduates Stephan Lizcano and Michael Fitzgibbons.
The company has a prototype of a patent-pending intelligent life jacket which continuously monitors the wearer’s location in the water.
In addition to the prize money that will be used to launch their businesses, the first-place winners take away six months of free space in the L.A. Technology Business Center, which has offered internships to entrepreneurial students.
“What was unique about this year’s finalists is that they all achieved proof of concept in some manner, whether it was product sales or a working prototype validated by customers,” said Kathleen Allen, a professor of entrepreneurship in the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and director of the Center for Technology Commercialization.
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