Saturday, May 2, 2009

Berkeley Business Plan Competition Final Results

If you've followed Vyoo, you know we entered the Berkeley Business Plan competition last year. We made it to the semi-final round and that was it. I had a problem with the competition. I felt that it didn't live up to its billing as the "competition [that] provides entrepreneurs with the best possible resources to help convert ideas into reality". In fact, the only thing I think the business plan competition does is help take companies that already have products and/or users and helps them grow. Yes, this is a useful service, but not one that I feel a business plan competition should be providing.

Basically it's become a filter for VC's, or so it seems. Just another way for them to evaluate companies without having to take a huge risk. I was speaking to a good friend the other day. We were talking about the fact that there haven't been any homeruns for VC's in quite a while... and related it to the fact that VC's just don't invest in homeruns anymore. They invest in copycats. Or companies without a chance for revenue. I mean...Facebook is a great example. Maybe they'll figure out their revenue. But I just don't see it happening any time soon. Not after they flush more money down the tube. And how about YouTube. They lose about $500M/year. I love YouTube... but unfortunately there's no money there.

So if you look back at the Berkeley Bplan competition - and look at the 3 winners - they were all med device companies. Not only that, two are diagnostic devices - a TB device. And an HIV detection device. And one anti-bacterial solution. Not a single web company. Not a single energy company. Maybe it was the current "hot" topic with swine flu and all. Whatever the case...a business plan competition should be for aspiring entrepreneurs. It should cover different topics. It should give entrepreneurs the feeling of inspiration. That they can succeed with whatever they're doing. That they should take a chance because anything is possible.

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