GVC 2010 Draws Record 15 Venture Capitalists
Venture capitalists play an important role in the annual Global Venture Challenge (GVC) competition. They serve as judges for the graduate students’ team business competition, offering real-world perspectives on the challenges the teams will face as they form companies and begin to enter the marketplace with their ideas.
The investors are treated as special guests at the competition. During GVC 2010 a private waterfront dinner was held in Oak Ridge the night before the event, and the Partnerships Directorate organized a Venture Showcase so the venture firms better understand ORNL's research capabilities in solar energy, carbon fiber and composites, and energy storage.
The investors heard presentations from four companies with links to the lab: NellOne Therapeutics, Aldis, Confluence Solar, and TransSecurity Systems.
At this year’s event ORNL hosted a record 15 venture capitalists from across the country. A number of these investors represented new companies funded by TNInvestco, six new early-stage venture funds established this year by legislation passed by the Tennessee General Assembly to increase the flow of capital to innovative new companies in Tennessee. One of the TNInvestco principals, Joe Cook, Jr., of the Limestone Fund, wrote to Tom Rogers, director of industrial partnerships and economic development at ORNL, "Bringing together funding sources with innovators is a great tool for solving many of the major ills facing our society today. We all know the value of dreaming big, but such dreams often start from frugal beginnings. Connecting sources of funds with users early on can bring needed efficiency in the development process and ultimately more ideas to society. We are pleased to be working with you and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in this important arena."
Each of the six TNInvestco funds was represented at GVC, and Partnerships is scheduling follow-up visits to the lab to explore specific early-stage investment opportunities, both with relationships to ORNL and other young companies in the Innovation Valley.
"One of the missions of the Department of Energy is technology transfer: transitioning the research it conducts into commercial application to help strengthen America’s economy and competitiveness," said Rogers. "GVC works to identify entrepreneurially minded students and to give them inspiration, advice, and connections to help them become successful entrepreneurs of the future."
Left, LESA kit: software, solvent reservoirs, sample plate, lightbox, TriVersa NanoMate. Right, tissue
surface sampling with LESA, TriVersa NanoMate.