Tag Archives: new technology

THIS AIN’T NO LEMONADE STAND

20160402_143634-JAJ TLoop Lonagan—Verbatim

What if y’could combat starvation by producin’ yer own meat ‘n potatoes—and do it right at da local food bank? Hey, I’m lookin’ at a real working prototype here. What about a solution to student debt? Or, maybe fer yer next birthday party, ever’body plays laser tag with drones? Or learns music real fast? Or gets a little help rememberin’ stuff. I can use summa that.

This ain’t no lemonade stand—I’m talkin’ serious business ventures here. One of ‘em launched her company this year and raised $250K in revenue already. Yeah, you heard right—a quarter million bucks. IMG_6636And she’s a high school sophomore! They’s ALL high school students! This is POWER PITCH, ‘n’ we’re at IMSA—the Illinois Math ‘n’ Science Academy. Real smart kids go here. I never seen nothin’ like it—all I remember about high school is gettin’ in trouble all da time.

I sure hope John’s cleanin’ up my language before he prints this stuff.

Editor’s Note—This is a verbatim transcript. It is the policy of this journal to do each writer justice. I might point out that Lonagan doesn’t give himself enough credit. He graduated the University of Chicago with a Masters in Finance.

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We got almost 40 teams pitchin’ here, and they’s all real professional-like. One o’ da mentors flew in all the way from Silicon Valley ‘n’ spent days ‘n’ days coachin-up deeze kids. They musta worked their little tails off. DSC_0055Another thing I notice—seems like nowadays, kids wanna do somethin’ good fer da world, insteada da usual greed ‘n’ avarice.

They’s buildin’ a whole wing o’ da school—exclusive fer startups. And today’s winners get thousands in prize money.

Jonelis invited a couple o’ the judges ‘n’ I don’t know why he picked me but I’m glad he did. I mean, c’mon—how can a guy pass up somethin’ like this?

DSC_0052Sixteen of us is tryin’ t’ pick da best o’ da best. Alotta these judges is big-time professional investors I know personal-like, ‘n’ I hear ‘em sayin’ stuff like, “Deeze pitches here is better den downtown.” Sheesh, I feel like a kid in a candy store. I mean, yer lookin’ at da hope o’ tomorrow! And it happens every year!

Just take a glimpse at summa deeze startups. I put ‘em in alphabetic’ order I think. And lemme say thanks t’ Carl Heine who runs dis thing. And Jim Gerry who’s retired but can’t stay away. And Britta McKenna who’s da Chief Innovation Officer. Naturally they’s all PhDs.

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Tech Ventures

  • Drone Wars—Having fun with flying laser robots—Max Orr
  • FlashFun—The Personalized Concierge in the palm of your hand—Palak Agarwal
  • Flock—A free and efficient social media platform for easily getting together with your friends—Ben Maher, Timur Javid, Michael Dow, Shrey Patel
  • HeadsUp—A projectable HUD purposed to prevent distracted driving-based accidents by keeping drivers’ eyes up and on the road—Sneha Pathuri, Ian Anderson, Andriy Sheptunov, Xinyu Guan
  • Icosadeck—Icosadeck reinvents the flashcard, making it multi-sided and adding other features to let students note more information, with more organization, and more efficiency—Gunwati Agrawal
  • NoteHub—A Website where students can buy and sell their school notes—Katreena Subramanian, Devan Grover
  • Peanut Butter—Peanut Butter motivates Millennial employees by offering a unique benefit that reduces their student debt—Aneesh Kudaravalli, Tyler StockIMG_6631
  • RemindMe—You shouldn’t have to remind yourself to remember – RemindMe is a smart phone app that uses proven techniques in memory research to help you retain information longer and retrieve it faster—Ahana Narayanan
  • Right Glow—Right Glow is a silicone bathmat that when stepped on glows red, providing the user with a light source that does not cause the temporary blinding sensation associated with turning on a light late at night—Luke Morrical
  • Snowflake—An Automatic, not manual, fridge inventory keeper and recipe recommender—Xinyu Guan, Andriy Sheptunov
  • Vestal—Social platform where you interact with other in Virtual Reality using just a smart phone and a viewer—Isabel Lee
  • XYZone—Improve your pitching accuracy with the only 3D Strike Zone—Hector Correa

Social Ventures

  • AquaFood—A permaculture company proposing aquaponics as a biotechnological solution to combat starvation and environmental problems in your own neighborhood and in the world—Erol IkizIMG_6659
  • Blabl—A mobile application that engages speech impaired children in conversation with a virtual pen-pal—Ayan Agarwal
  • HydroHero—Generate water for the people—George Moe
  • Pass Your Plate—Pass Your Plate helps businesses by taking their waste food and donating it to shelters in the area—Aneesh Kudaravalli, Tyler Stock, Shana Farhang
  • SelfHealth—SelfHealth is a system that puts you in control of your own medical information—Alex Orlov
  • SirenAlert—SirenAlert, is developing a Bluetooth app and signal monitoring hardware to help emergency vehicles avoid traffic collisions and improve response time by alerting even the most distracted drivers, saving lives—John Valin
  • SocialGood—SocialGood translates social media activity into charitable donations utilizing social media activity—Vainius NormantasIMG_6637
  • Thinkubator—Thinkubator is a co-curricular program that challenges students to think & solve pressing community issues, for graduation-required service hours—Sivam Bhatt and Nabeel Rashee
  • The Muzic Academy—It will only take a minuet to learn, but what you learn will last a lifetime—Abinaya Ramakrishnan

Other Ventures

  • AlertIsabella Ginnett, Ashritha Karuturi, Priya Kumar
  • Ask Me 101Rishi Modi, AJ Federici
  • CirclesJulian Litvak
  • FunkyPlantsAkshay Verma
  • InspireEsther Mathew, Amahlia SuDSC_0036
  • LinguLucy Liu and Rebecca Xun
  • LoopNicholas Rodriguez, Isaac Adorno
  • LynxAllAnkit Agarwal, Sweta Kotha
  • MusiWebMaya Wlodarczyk
  • OmNoteClaudia Zhu
  • PoweritForwardShriya Chennuru, Harshita Degala
  • SlipTieSushil Upadhyayula, Pranav Upadhyayula
  • Spatio StationMarc Peczka
  • SugarSmart!Aimee van den Berg, Kate Rabideau, Pranav Narayanan, Abhay Gupta
  • The CommunityMadison Mack

Also read – RAW TALENT

Contact IMSA’s Britta McKenna at bmckenna@imsa.edu

Photo credits – IMSA & John Jonelis

Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link. This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not our fault if you lose money.

.Copyright © 2016 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

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RAW TALENT

Sharks Tby John Jonelis

Ever want to be a Shark on the popular reality TV show? Wish you controlled a billion dollar investment account? Wonder what it’s like? I’m here at Chicago’s 1871 incubator doing it. Emotions run high. Hey, mine are running away with me. That guy on the end keeps grabbing all the deals!

Most of these teams are looking for $100K or so for maybe 15% of the company, but the Sharks seem to want more control than that. Offers meet counter-offers. Investors make hardnosed bids—they team up—steal deals—the usual shenanigans seen on TV.

Negotiations get heated and sometimes abstract. Lance Pressl works a convoluted deal structure in the next room.  No problem—both sides seem on track with it.  But I’m out.  In the long run, any of these companies might produce hockey stick growth or go belly-up.

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Dangerous Waters

Now I’m hearing a pitch from a company called Water Power. I want this one in the worst way. I know the industry. It’s a hugely exciting company with a highly attractive energy product, easily scalable, and a terrific business model.

They’re asking $200K for 20% of the company—a $1M valuation. It’s low. Way low. I tell them they’re undercapitalized and immediately boost the offer for a controlling stake. They counter. Another shark joins me. Meanwhile, that guy on the end is dickering with a completely different set of parameters that sound pretty good.

Ah, but I notice these teams value a strategic investor, so I mention my experience in the industry and that seals the deal. Satisfaction! Victory! Hooray!

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Merchandise Mart

Who Gets to Play

Did I mention these are Junior High Students? Not just any young punks—these are highly gifted, highly precocious, and highly competitive young people. Their pitches rival those seen on TV. Some of these kids are hopefuls for enrollment at the prestigious Illinois State High School for the gifted, the Illinois Math and Science Academy—IMSA.

This entire program is put on by IMSA TALENT. It pits the best and the brightest junior high school students against experienced investors and CEOs at an event that reproduces the popular reality TV show, Shark Tank. Hey, this is a blast!

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Pitch

How it Works

  • IMSA TALENT puts these kids through a fast-paced deep-immersion experience. The school maintains space at 1871, the enormous incubator in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, so the teams rub shoulders with lots of real startups. That’s huge.
  • Every decision, every action, gets entered into a computer simulation that spits out consequences and makes the process as close to the real thing as you can get.
  • Each team creates an actual product, design, prototype, business model canvas, go-to-market strategy, financials, their pitch—the works.
  • Sharks come armed with unlimited investment capital in the form of Monopoly™ Money and strike cutthroat last-minute negotiations. Think that’s not realistic? Once those dollars get plugged into the simulation, they’re real enough to make or break a company.

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Negotiation

Once again, IMSA proves that, given the opportunity and the right coaching, brilliant children can outperform ordinary adults. Hats off to Carl Heine and Jim Gerry.

Last year I got caught-up in the spirit of the thing, which is dangerously easy to do. One kid was so professional, I forgot myself. I lost my head and asked the team to present before the Heartland Angels. Lesson learned—School first, then business. This year, I keep that straight.

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Deal

Sharks

Lance Pressl, John Detjen, Brian Brandenburg, Jeff Prussack, Joe Guarascio, John Jonelis

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Team

Team Members

Alexandria Cannon, Alp Demirtas, Aman Shah, Ammar Ladhani, Arjun Vyas, Arshia Ajmera, Chandra Gangavarapu, Daniel DeBoer, Dev Singh, Dhruv Nambisan, Ellis Irwin, Erol Ikiz, Ethan Tse, Jacob Conroy, James Raflores, Joseph Tennyson, Joshua Tennyson, Katreena Subramanian, Madeline Drafall, Marc Peczka, Ohm Vyas, Parth Bhatt, Prarthana Prashanth, Shreya Maganti, Shreya Pattisapu, Shreyas Manikonda, Simone Seno, Sydney Elvart, Vismay Vyas, Yuhan Lin.

IMSA Staff

Jim Gerry, PhD

Carl Heine, PhD, Director, IMSA TALENT and Cool Hub IMSA.

heine@imsa.edu Office 630-907-5921 Fax 630-907-5062

Read related article: WHIZ KIDS

Photo credits – Students: IMSA; Architecture: John Jonelis; Shark image: MS Office

Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link. This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not our fault if you lose money.

.Copyright © 2015 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

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Filed under 1871, angel, angel capital, angel investor, big money, Education, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Heartland Angels, IMSA, Innovation, Invention, investor, new companies, pitch, Public Schools, vc, venture capital

THE SECRET WORLD OF 3D PRINTING

IMG_9570 bJohn Jonelis

What happens when, instead of manufacturing a product with cheap labor overseas, you can select a design from the internet and download it the same way you purchase music and then create the product at the point of sale? Good-bye supply chain. Hello customization.

Sound like sci-fi to you? Well, you can do it right now. Some say it’s the next industrial revolution and the structural changes it promises are staggering.

  1. No factory
  2. No warehouse
  3. No shipping

That’s the future promised by 3D printing.

I’m at the MIT Enterprise Forum’s 3D Printing event, listening to Mike Vasquez PhD of 3D PRINTING REPORTS and Julie Friedman Steele of THE 3D PRINTER EXPERIENCE, both right here in Chicago. Julie’s the gal who’s writing the Encyclopaedia Britannica section on the subject.  And yes, you can go to her place and experience it for yourself.

Julie Friedman Steele portrait

Julie Friedman Steele

I’ll brief you on the whole thing, then show some videos for those who want to dig deeper.

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What’s Different About It?

The idea of printing rather than machining a bolt or a gear may seem counterintuitive. We’re accustomed to the SUBTRACTIVE process—starting with a block of material and whittling it down to the desired shape. 3D printing is ADDITIVE. Layer upon layer is added till the product is built up to its full shape. Almost no waste. Complexity is free. Users enjoy huge amounts of geometric freedom and can build designs once thought impossible.

3-Gears that Don't Work - Henry Segerman - YouTube

For example, here’s a drawing of three gears that can’t move in the real world. They bind each other.  The design is just as impossible as the slogan printed on the graphic.

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Triple Gear - Henry Segerman - YouTube

Triple Gear – Henry Segerman – YouTube

In contrast, the Triple Gear is printed in one piece and actually moves as a unit—something entirely impossible in the recent past. A video on this design is posted below.

Prototyping is where the industry got its start because it’s such a simple way to create complex one-of-a-kind machines. You design your product using software then print it like a letter off a word processor. But instead of paper and ink, 3D printers work with materials from plastics to ceramics to bronze, copper, gold, and stainless steel alloys, to human biological tissue.

Hospitals use the printers to create titanium hip replacements. Bio-printing is another exciting prospect—printing with human cells that the body won’t reject. One burn victim received a new ear copied and inverted from the other side. Cartilage can be built—dental implants are already routinely made.

There’s even a competition to print edible meat.

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Who Uses it Now?

NASA, GE, Boing, Ford, BMW, Caterpillar, Nike, and Reebok are all working with this technology.

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Burton Snowboard invented the winter alternative to skiing in the ‘70s. Now they constantly improve their products using 3D printing. Under the old design standard, prototypes cost tens of thousands of dollars and took months to complete. Using 3D printers, the process goes from months to days. They iterate prototypes the way they used to iterate sketches. They print out products and test them under actual conditions.

Early adopters are already bringing 3D printers into their homes. Even the Chicago Public Library boasts one. But according to Steele, if you want to operate one, you’d better be capable of building one. “This is a robot with a lot of moving parts that all need service…Unless you’re capable of building a printer, don’t own one…Low-end models melt plastic and that causes bad things in the air—similar to smoking plus hydrogen cyanide…Filtration and a lot more research is needed.” The message is clear: Don’t try this at home—this is for professionals. But don’t despair. Steele suggests that you bring your project to a service provider that keeps up their own printers and takes jobs on contract. Dozens of these exist in Illinois alone.

3D is huge for restoration. Jay Leno, prints hard-to-find parts for his antique cars.

Tiffany and other jewelers are already using it to reduce inventory and create product. But it also brings fear to the industry. It’s now possible to design and produce wedding rings to the match each happy couple’s whim. How many jewelers can afford the equipment?

A high-end laser sintering machine can print within tolerances of 100 microns and produce stronger parts than traditional manufacturing. Such machines cost from $250K to over $1M. Low-end machines can be had for under $5K but their utility is nowhere near the high-end equipment. There’s an active government initiative to create an invent space with less expensive machines.

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Who Knows the Technology?

According to Steele, “By and large, the general public knows nothing about it. You actually have to make something to understand the process. The purpose of THE 3D PRINTER EXPERIENCE is education. That’s how to get mass adoption. Education is the least profitable but the most important.”

Mike Vasquez PhD

Mike Vasquez PhD

During his talk, Dr. Vasquez shows a video of Markus Kayser, an artist who built his own 3D printer for a few thousand dollars. In the Egyptian desert, he used the sun and a huge Fresnel lens in place of a laser. For material, he took what he found—the plentiful and entirely free sand of the desert. Kayser’s video is posted below as well as his talk at TEDx.

Markus Kayser - Solar Sinter Explained - TEDx YouTube

Markus Kayser – Solar Sinter Explained – TEDx YouTube

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The Hackers

One of the great things about the MIT Enterprise Forum is the chance to meet extraordinary people. It turns out that a thriving community exists just for the love of creation—creation of the complex products only possible with 3D printers.  These are the hackers.  Hackers are the early adopters.

I talked at length with Keith Earl Weber II of DRAGON R&D. He uses 3D printers for research and his company takes in jobs. This could be a way to get your project off the ground.

3-D Printer in action - Barnacules Nerdgasm - YouTube

Barnacule Nerdgasm’s Printing Project

I came across a video that demonstrates the practical potential of this technology with great clarity. It’s from an individual that goes by the internet handle of Barnacules Nerdgasm, but don’t let that deter you. His video is posted below.

So, are you ready for a 3D world?  Check out The 3D Printer Experience and find out.

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Contacts

THE 3D PRINTER EXPERIENCE

Julie Friedman Steele on Wikipedia

Julie@The3dPrinterExperience.com

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3D PRINTING REPORTS 

Mike Vasquez PhD

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DRAGON R&D

Contact Keith Earl Weber II  – Kewiiq2@gmail.com

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MIT ENTERPRISE FORUM, CHICAGO

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Video

THE 3D PRINTER EXPERIENCE

Our speaker, Julie Friedman-Steele

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BARNACULES NERDGASM

A hacker prints a transmission.

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HENRY SEGERMAN

First example of a triple gear, as shown at tonight’s event.

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MARKUS KAYSER

Homemade printer using the sun and sand to create products, as shown at event.

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MARKUS KAYSER AT TEDx

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Photo credits – You Tube, The 3D Printer Experience, 3D Printing Reports, Julie Friedman Steele, Mike Vasquez PhD, Markus Kayser, Henry Segerman, Barnacules Nerdgasm,

Chicago Venture Magazine is a publication of Nathaniel Press www.ChicagoVentureMagazine.com Comments and re-posts in full or in part are welcomed and encouraged if accompanied by attribution and a web link . This is not investment advice. We do not guarantee accuracy. It’s not our fault if you lose money.

.Copyright © 2013 John Jonelis – All Rights Reserved

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