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New World Ventures associate Peter Liu (left), McCormick Tribune Foundation Clinical Professor of Technology Mohan Sawhney and Shasta Ventures senior associate Joydeep Bhattacharyya ’12 judged the Shark Tank competition at the 2013 Kellogg Technology Conference.

2013 Kellogg Technology Conference

2013 Kellogg Technology Conference

Students vied for $16,000 in prize money for startups in 'Shark Tank' competition

By Daniel P. Smith

5/10/2013 -
  2013 Kellogg Tech Conference

The 2013 Kellogg Technology Conference focused on the ever-increasing pace of technological advancement and innovation in the global marketplace.
The conference included:

  • A fireside chat on the challenge of digitalizing hospitals with Lurie Children’s Hospital chief medical officer Mike Kelleher and Kellogg Information Technology chair Shane Greenstein

  • Keynotes from Cisco chief technology and strategy officer Padmasree Warrior as well as RocketSpace founder Duncan Logan

  • A coding workshop led by the Starter League’s Jeff Cohen

  • Panels on managing innovation, advances in transportation and trends in startup funding featuring representatives from Redbox, Tesla Motors, Zipcar, TechStars Chicago, RocketHub, the Kellogg Innovation Network and more
At the 2013 Kellogg Technology Conference on April 27, three upstart tech ventures entered the Shark Tank.

Two left with portions of the $16,000 prize.

Sponsored by the Kellogg School of Management’s Center for Research in Technology & Innovation (CRTI), the second annual, television-inspired Shark Tank competition featured more than 30 teams from Kellogg, Northwestern University and the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. Ten semifinalist teams presented at the conference’s product showcase before the votes of conference attendees identified the three finalists that entered the live Shark Tank pitch session.

Team 1
The Pitch: An energy management software platform that puts smart meters to work and doubles as a customer loyalty program for residential consumers.

What the Sharks said: The Sharks applauded the team’s efforts to reward people for energy-efficient behavior, but questioned the financial numbers and practical application.

“You guys are thinking forward … but are you ahead of your time?” Shasta Ventures senior associate Joydeep Bhattacharyya ’12 asked.

Team 2
The Pitch: A next-generation, bluetooth-controlled bike lock that offers enhanced security and convenience.

What the Sharks said: Kellogg’s CRTI director and McCormick Tribune Foundation Clinical Professor of Technology Mohan Sawhney suggested a move from hardware to software to services and urged the team to think about portable security, not just bike locks.

New World Ventures associate Peter Liu agreed, adding: “There’s huge potential here if you can integrate this into other devices.”

Team 3
The Pitch: A zany online polling platform that allows users to receive feedback on their own arguments and vote on others’ disputes.

What the Sharks said: The Sharks agreed that the proposal was a crazy idea with some holes, but credited the team with building a wide-ranging platform.

“If you build a brand, the money will follow,” Sawhney said, calling mobile build-up necessary to capitalize on the spontaneity that will drive content and usage.

And the winner is …

Each Shark had $5,333 in prize money to divide among the three finalist teams. Collectively, the Sharks awarded $9,066 to Team 3 for their zany polling platform, and $6,933 to Team 2 for their bluetooth bike lock.

Team 3 member Daniel Schonfeld ’13 said the win has given his team the confidence and motivation to build a mobile app and begin incorporating Twitter and Facebook to encourage users to tell their friends about it. He added that the Shark Tank event proved to be a rewarding experience beyond the cash prize.

“Because we pitched to so many classmates, professors, VCs and others, we were given a ton of feedback and good ideas that got us thinking about how we can make [the platform] bigger and better,” Schonfeld said.

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