Spring 2017: Capstone Presentations
The MBS aims to empower students with the expertise to take scientific knowledge beyond academia and into the world of business. The capstone course is equivalent to a thesis; and puts into practice the students’ ability to utilize business practices to highlight the application and benefits of science in the real world.
Led by Prof. Tom Bryant, the course involves students teaming up to take up an existing intellectual property that may/may not have entered the market and form a company centering on this very IP. The teams then presents at the end of the semester to a panel of “investors” and the audience. The investor panel entails a number of experts, all pioneers in their field, to be a part in the presentations and provide valuable guidance and feedback to the students. The presentations are a delight to witness every semester, with the students raising the bar higher each time.
The companies are very real, and based on a solid foundation of courses student have taken in Finance and Accounting, Marketing, Communication and Leadership, Project Management, Fundamentals of Intellectual Property, Fundamentals of Regulatory Affairs, etc.
This year, I was also a part of one of the presenting teams. There were a variety of interesting technologies that came to the fore this semester: wearable technology that can count calories, tea extracts that relieve muscle soreness, edible and biodegradable cutlery, sports accessories that can track cognition and protect against concussions, wearable drug injectors for migraines, to name a few. All the presentations were very well done, based on solid research and planning, with support from the faculty as well as resource persons, such as the inventors of the technology. The teams came up with not only the company structure, business plan and governance, but also marketing strategies, five year growth plans, financing rounds as well as the name and logos for the brand.
The presentations were a daylong affair broken up into three sessions. The first session saw the companies Starbuds Wellness, Commit Analytics, DAYLuge, Just Endurance and CalPal take the stage and impress investors with their technology as well as their strategies for taking over the market. This was followed by the second session that saw companies FitSol, SayneTech, Resoftec, Loki Scientific, LaundroLock and RxCessory present their innovations and garner support for their companies. EdiBuild, RareDetect, Edison Grid, FAD5 and Pangolin spoke about their companies and concluded the presentation part of the evening. There was an interesting mix of companies in each session, with technology ranging from analytics and medical devices to silicone foam for oil absorption, edible cutlery, and a smart grid for sustainable power generation.
Some of the most notable things, was the energy that all the teams had, the finesse of the presentations, and most importantly, the way each company handled the questions from investors with tact and teamwork. The audience had a great time, listening to every company tell it’s story in 10 minutes. Each investor (panel and audience members) was provided with an investor screen prototype that they could customize to evaluate the companies, with $100,000 that they could each split up to invest in different companies as their first, second or third choice. The format also gave every company member a chance to invest in other companies using the same amount. The companies with the most funding were RxCessory, LaundroLock and EdiBuild. The company that was the first choice for majority of the investors was RxCessory. The investors also individually recognized companies for great presentation quality and the most business potential from each session.
In all, this was a great end to the semester, as well as to the MBS program. A true culmination of all the knowledge we had learned so far put into professional grade presentations and business plans. The capstone, as Professor Bryant said, “Just the teaser to what the actual process looks like.” I am sure that just like me, all the students of capstone would like to express their sincere gratitude to Professor Bryant, Professor Bob Dailey, as well as the entire MBS team for providing us with a platform that bolsters such immense learning. Here’s too many more and even greater capstone presentations next semester!