Welcome back, Duke!
We're back with our third installment of our #FirstDay series with a roundup of startups, activities and organizations to watch or get involved with at Duke University (Check out the UNC
and NC State
versions). Leading the charge on Duke's campus, and also in downtown Durham, is Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship
. The five-year-old initiative to provide a centralized resource for all things entrepreneurship on campus moved its offices to downtown Durham's Imperial Building
, with a grand opening event coming Wednesday.
For the rest, check out our list of startups to watch, events and resources affiliated with the university:
Startups to Watch
A junior in The Cube living learning community and a friend in school at UNC have developed a lotion with eucalyptus oil to prevent sweaty hands. The $14.95 lotion launched in July and quickly became a No. 1 new release on Amazon
. Check out the launch video
A researcher in Duke's Center for Metamaterials and Integrated Plasmonics, Joshua Miller
spends a portion of his time building an stealthy unmanned aerial vehicle startup that collects and analyzes satellite images to provide data and information to farmers.
A pair of athletes have spent the last year developing a wearable device that measures and tracks stride, providing data that can be used to prevent injury in runners and other athletes. They've raised some money for the development of the device and founder and Duke senior Ivonna Dumanyan
also joined the ThinkHouse program in Raleigh, in hopes of building a business around the device. We profiled the startup here.
When this startup launched in 2012, it got attention in national media
for developing cameras that snap 50,000 megapixel shots. Today, it is a pioneer of virtual reality television, partnering with broadcasters, event organizers and social networks to produce new digital media experiences using its hardware and software platform. The company is led by David Brady
, a professor in the university's Imaging and Spectroscopy Program.
Let's Be Well Red—
Duke medical student and India native Rajvi Mehta
is passionate about improving the health of people who live in rural India. She's developed a bar full of iron to combat the deficiency in the diet of many Indian people and she's selling it all over the country. Her company won first place
in last year's Duke Startup Challenge.
This Durham startup with new technology to screen newborns for diseases or conditions was the first to receive an investment from the Duke Angel Network, which launched in June. The technology was developed in a Duke lab and founders are Duke graduates, a requirement of the network. The company in July raised a $13 million round.
The second place winner of the statewide Institute for Emerging Issues' innovation prize this year was this drone startup led by two graduate students who developed a way to measure carbon storage and other data about trees to aid those buying or selling carbon offsets.
Professor Campbell Harvey
, a globally-recognized economics and financier, taught among the world's first university courses on cryptofinance earlier this year, with a mission to eventually launch nine new businesses involving bitcoin or the blockchain technology it was built upon. We're told the projects are in stealth mode. Stay tuned.
WANDER | WEAR—
Now this is an interesting Buy One, Give One concept—lingerie with social impact. It's actually not quite so scandalous. For every bra, sock or underwear purchase, items are donated to homeless shelters. The line, developed by a team of six Duke students, is set to launch next spring. They also won the 2015 Duke ChangeWorks grand prize of $10,000.
Events to attend
Innovation & Entrepreneurship Academy—
A series of courses are offered to students, faculty, staff and community members during each school year covering startup topics like intellectual property, venture capital, human-centered design, 3D printing & more. The full schedule for Fall 2015 is out and many of the classes will be taught at the newly-opened I&E office in the Imperial Building in downtown Durham.
Duke Start-Up Challenge—
Coming up September 30 is the final event of the 16th annual startup competition, which begins in January. Winners get cash prizes and a chance to participate in an accelerator through the remainder of the school year. The competition has two tracks, one for students and another for alumni, faculty and staff. RSVP to the grand finale here
Fuqua School of Business Distinguished Speaker Series—
Five corporate executives come to campus each year to give talks about business and their careers. Past speakers have included Apple CEO (and Duke graduate) Tim Cook
, Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson
and Meg Whitman
, CEO and chairman of Hewlett-Packard. Videos are up for all the past speakers, but the 2015-2016 lineup hasn't been released yet.
Need an intern or a young graduate? This is an event that matches hiring companies with students interested in jobs or internships. It's held in February each year.
Duke's largest hackathon typically happens in November each year and focuses on social innovation projects. Mentors and sponsors are typically needed for this event, which is largely targeted to students. Check out some of the past projects on the website, and stay tuned for 2015 dates.
Undergraduates compete each year (since 2014) in this social innovation competition, with $10,000 in prizes. There's an annual event in mid-April to hear the pitches.
Duke Global Entrepreneurship Network (DukeGEN)—
Attention Duke entrepreneur alums! This is a group for you. Regular networking and pitch events happen in big cities around the country, including in Durham, where you can network with other entrepreneurs and investors and learn about the newest startups formed by Duke students or graduates. The next events will happen in cities around the world on November 18.
This is an annual event (in May) hosted by the Pratt College of Engineering to introduce industry to all the innovation and intellectual property under development in the college. There's an Entrepreneurs Boot Camp, a keynote speaker and industry tracks where attendees can hear about all the research happening.
Organizations/places to get involved with
This is an incubator all about using creativity and technology to solve problems of all kinds. There are courses for students to familiarize with various innovation topics, technical consultants for help on projects, a studio with machines and tools (3D printers, laser cutters, sensors & hand tools) and grants for projects that could have an impact on the Duke community. Mentors also provide advice to students on building their technologies or businesses.
This student incubator provides office space, mentors (from the Triangle community) and courses to help launch new ventures. There's an annual company showcase each spring.
Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke (SEAD)
—Open to both students and outside innovators, SEAD is a three-year program that helps enterprises and nonprofits seeking social impact become self-sustaining. The program is specifically targeted to organizations working in India or East Africa.
Center for Advanced Hindsight (& Startup Lab)
—Led and founded by world renowned behavioral economics professor and research Dan Ariely
, this lab is all about incorporating psychology in business. Ariely also offers workshops
, consulting opportunities and health checks to help companies understand human behavior. A new startup lab will work intensively with two startup companies each year to develop products or services factoring human behavior. The first two companies will be announced soon, and a new application period will likely open in summer 2016.
This relatively new group is an interdisciplinary effort between the colleges of engineering, computer science and arts & sciences, each of which has a growing interest in robotics. There's a Humans and Autonomy lab doing research on drones, an intelligent robot lab, intelligent motion lab and lab focused on networked systems. The group holds tours every so often, but mostly, this is just a group to keep an eye on.
Duke Law School Start-Up Ventures Clinic—
If you need legal help and you're an early stage venture that hasn't raised any funds yet, this is a great resource. Law students with coursework in business strategy, incorporation, intellectual property, website terms and conditions and venture capital financing. Contact information is on the website.
Duke Angel Network (DAN)—
This just-launched angel fund made up of accredited investors with an affiliation to Duke will invest in other Duke-affiliated startup companies. There's a $1,000 fee to join the networking and expectations include sourcing investment opportunities, participating in investment decisions and providing support and guidance to portfolio companies. Entrepreneurs must be raising $300K to $3 million or syndicating a larger stage round to qualify for funding.
Duke Innovation Fund—
Also newly launched this year is a fund of philanthropic contributions to match Duke Angel Network investments. Duke has provided $2 million up front and is collecting gifts to the fund. All returns will go back into the fund to be invested in future DAN portfolio companies.
Photo credit: "MedicalCenter" by self - Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.