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Announcing the Winners of the 2012 Venture Creation Competition

The Virginia Commonwealth University da Vinci Center for Innovation hosted the 2012 VCU Venture Creation Competition (VCC) and winners of the inaugural campus-wide competition were announced Friday, April 27, as part of VCU Student Research Week.

The competition began earlier this semester with 40 student teams submitting executive summaries of ideas, concepts and/or technologies for a business venture. These teams represented 87 individuals across nine of VCU’s schools. A panel of esteemed judges evaluated the summaries and selected 12 semifinalist teams, which then submitted business plans. Following another round of judging, five finalist teams gave 20-minute presentations to the judges on Friday.

The Quinn-Tyrell Corporation, comprising of VCU Brandcenter students Katie Acosta, Brian Jang, Jerry Roback and Mena Xiong, won $4,000 as the first place finisher in the 2012 competition. Their venture aims to elevate the in-home ice cream eating experience by introducing uniquely flavored ice cream cones.

CycleStay won $3,000 as the second place finisher. VCU School of Business students Austin Callwood, Justin Kauszler and Joshua Newton introduced a publicly accessible bicycle rack system with integrated locking, mobile communication and security features.

Fourpoint Art was the third place finisher winning $2,000. Led by a VCU School of the Arts graduate student, Owen Duffy introduced a virtual space and internet marketplace to help emerging artists showcase their work and connect with consumers worldwide.

Two other teams were awarded $1,000 each as finalists in the competition. Control, comprising of Brandcenter students Matt Fischer, Rajikumar Kuppuswamy, Anthony DiMarco, Jacqueline Rogers and School of Medicine student Jesse Swift, introduced a software and hardware system for helping asthmatics enjoy a more normal life. Gryffindor, comprising of School of the Arts students Angela Melito and Moria Pruefer, proposed a 24-hour art supply and print services store venture.

“The response to our inaugural VCU Venture Creation Competition has been very strong,” said Kenneth Kahn, director of VCU’s da Vinci Center and professor of Marketing. “It shows that there is truly an innovation and entrepreneurship spirit here in the VCU community. We aim to make the 2012 Competition the first of many annual VCU Venture Creation Competitions.”

Judges for the competition included the following individuals: Karen Adams, Chief Executive Officer of Hot Technology Holdings; Frank Ball, Managing Partner, New Dominion Angels; William Daughtrey, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Dominion Resources GreenTech Incubator; David Gallagher, Chief Executive Officer, Dominion Payroll Services; Darrell Jervey, Chief Executive Officer, Worth Products Group; Robert Lynch, President, Practice Management Associates; Mike McGinley, Managing Partner, New Dominion Angels; Dick Menendez, Chief Operating Officer, Motley’s Richmond Auto Auction; Tonya Mallory, Chief Executive Officer and President, Health Diagnostic Laboratory; Erik Milch, Partner, Cooley LLP; John Mills, Associate, Cooley LLP; Matt Rutherford, Associate Professor of Management, Virginia Commonwealth University; Brent Smith, Associate Professor of Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate, Virginia Commonwealth University; and Scott Tolleson, Head of Cable and Media Industries, Ericsson.

Premier sponsors for the event were the VCU Office of Research, VCU School of Business, MWV Foundation, and Motley’s Richmond Auto Auction.

VCU’s da Vinci Center for Innovation is a collaboration of VCU Schools of the Arts, Business, Engineering and Humanities and Sciences. Through its programs such as the undergraduate Certificate in Product Innovation and the Master of Product Innovation launching in fall 2012, the center catalyzes interdisciplinary innovation and entrepreneurship as it prepares students for the 21st Century workforce and supports development initiatives for partner organizations.

For more information, contact Kenneth Kahn at