Haas NewsWire

Haas NewsWire, April 28, 2003

** Mark your calendars for the Dean's End of the Year Party to be held on Friday, May 9 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. in the Haas School courtyard. The party will include food, beer, soda, and entertainment as well as the announcement of the winner of the Cheit Teaching Awards and GSI Awards. ***

Weight-Loss Technology Wins Fifth UC Berkeley B-Plan Competition
Six Berkeley MBA Students Selected for Coveted Venture Capital Internships
Hadi Tan to Receive Community Service Award for his Work with Young Entrepreneurs at Haas
Fashion With a Conscience: Berkeley Team to Create Jobs in Afghanistan
Build Your Knowledge Base at Faculty/Alumni Colloquium on May 10
Haas/Berkeley Teams Place at University of San Francisco Competition
Forty-Niners CEO to Speak on Careers in Sports Management
Haas in the News
Happening at Haas

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A new weight-loss technology being developed by Gastric Retention Technologies (GRT) won the $50,000 grand prize in the fifth annual UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition on Wednesday, April 23. The firm's novel approach to weight-loss programs may soon allow physicians to curb not only their patients' intake of food, but in many cases their desire for food.

GRT is developing a non-invasive approach to losing weight without the need for drugs or surgery. Patients would swallow a pill containing a polymer that would expand once it reaches the stomach, thereby reducing the feeling of hunger. The polymer itself would dissolve in a matter of days.

The GRT principals are Dan Burnett, an MD and an MBA graduate from Duke University, and Nate Beyor, a Ph.D. student in Bioengineering at UC Berkeley.

"GRT holds the promise of a truly safe and effective alternative to surgery for the millions of people suffering from obesity," said Rebecca Robertson, managing director at Versant Ventures and a competition judge.

The second prize of $10,000 went to VSee Lab. VSee Lab has developed proprietary software that drives the first viable desktop video-conference system, allowing up to 20 students and teachers to see and hear each other simultaneously. Berkeley MBA students David Geisler and Robert Lee helped founder and CEO Milton Chen, an undergraduate Berkeley alumnus, with the business plan for his software.

Medifuel took both the third-place prize of $5,000 and the People's Choice award of $5,000, the latter of which was voted on by the audience at Wednesday's final event. Medifuel is developing the first miniature Biological Fuel Cell (BFC) that promises to solve the power problem of the next generation of implantable medical devices. The company's GlucoCell battery harnesses the body's natural energy resource -- glucose -- to power implants, thereby eliminating the need for traditional batteries, which need to be replaced by way of surgery. Berkeley MBA students Ken Bui and David Tseng joined inventor Kien Lam in creating a company around Lam's GlucoCellTM.

The business plan competition was founded and is organized by Berkeley MBA students. It is hosted by the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation in collaboration with the College of Engineering and the School of Information Management & Systems as well as UC San Francisco's health sciences campus.

Final-round judges included Bob Ackerman of Allegis Capital, David Britts from ComVentures, Todd Brooks of Mayfield, Steve Domenik of Sevin Rosen Funds, Sameer Gandhi of Sequoia Capital, Rebecca Robertson of Versant Ventures, Susan Olson of Fog City Fund, and Russ Siegelman of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

This year's top-tier sponsors were Allegis Capital, ComVentures, and Sevin Rosen Funds. Additional corporate sponsors include ChevronTexaco, Fenwick & West, FTVentures, Newbury Ventures, Techstock Ventures, Versant Ventures, and Woodside Fund, along with an individual donation from Kevin Warnock.

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The Lester Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the Haas School selected six Berkeley MBA students from a pool of more than two dozen applicants for the 2003 Venture Capital Fellowships. These fellows will participate in the Lester Center's venture capital summer internship program with leading area venture capitalists.

The objective of this program is to create paths for success in venture capital for Haas MBA students. The internship provides the fellows with hands-on experience working with a leading venture capital firm under the mentorship of a venture capitalist. This year's fellows are Robert W. Chan, Will Gordon, Carter Keller, Sanjay Kothari, Leo R. de Luna, and Waldemar A. Mozes. All of the fellows are first-year Berkeley MBA students, and Mozes is in the first year of the Evening & Weekend MBA program.

Now in its seventh year, the program has in the past placed students in firms such as Morgan Stanley Venture Partners, US Venture Partners, Sevin Rosen Funds, Hummer Winblad, and Institutional Venture Partners.

"Last year's experience at Sevin Rosen Funds was a great look behind the scenes and an invaluable experience in dealing with VCs and other investors for my current startup situation and my future career," says former fellow Gerrit J. van Roekel, MBA 2003.

The fellow-selection process was highly competitive with more than four qualified applicants for each of the six fellowships. The selection process is based on a written application for the first round and, for the finalists, personal interviews with experienced venture capitalists. The Lester Center awards each recipient a $1,000 fellowship funded by the Price Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. Participating firms who agree to host an intern are asked to provide a monthly salary of approximately $5,000.

For more information on the program or to find out more about hosting a Lester Center Venture Capital Fellow, contact David Charron at charron@haas.berkeley.edu.

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Hadi Witanto Tan, a graduating senior in the Haas School undergraduate program, has received the Chancellor's Community Service Award for his contributions as a mentor to the Young Entrepreneurs at Haas (YEAH) program.

Tan worked with three fellow student mentors to develop lesson plans for the YEAH program. He has mentored over 60 McClymonds High School students and 25 Cole Middle School students through YEAH.

"It is inspiring to see Hadi bridge the cultural gap in the classroom as a mentor," says Oscar Wolters-Duran, director of the YEAH program. "His contagious enthusiasm and genuine caring for the west Oakland high school students he mentors brightens the room and leaves a lasting impression. I'm sure because of Hadi, there are many young people who now have the confidence and desire to go on to college."

The YEAH program uses the principles and real-life lessons of business, finance, and entrepreneurship to educate underserved youth and support their advancement to higher education. The program has prepared more than one thousand young people for success in college and in the world of business and finance. Currently, the program serves nearly 300 students from dozens of schools in the Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, and West Contra Costa school districts.

The Chancellor's Community Service Awards were created by the chancellor to recognize the outstanding contributions of students, staff, faculty, and student groups to the university's mission of public service. Awardees will receive special awards made from artwork by local elementary school children at the public award ceremony on May 1 at the Berkeley YWCA, located at 2600 Bancroft Way, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.

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In war-ravaged Afghanistan, one Berkeley MBA student is accomplishing what economic development advisors dream about -- bringing socially responsible economic development opportunities to Afghanistan.

Combining traditional crafts with Western business savvy, Berkeley MBA student Sarah Takesh, MBA 03, is creating a socially conscious, upscale apparel and accessories company that aims to distribute its wares in the finest boutiques in New York, Paris, London, and Rome.

Tarsian & Blinkley, the new venture, harnesses Afghans' ethnic crafts of sewing, embroidery, and leather- and metal-work in return for equitable compensation: wages well above the local norm, training, childcare, and health benefits. The venture works with Afghan people in the capital, Kabul, with future plans for Herat, West Afghanistan, the rural northern regions of the country, and possibly Peshawar, Pakistan.

The company's potential for profitability combined with its significant social impact has earned it two victories in April. It won the top prize of the National Social Venture Competition on April 12, a competition organized by the Haas School, Columbia Business School, and The Goldman Sachs Foundation, and a second prize at the Carrot Capital Business Plan Challenge in New York.

Her passion for adventure travel lured Takesh to the far reaches of Central Asia along the Silk Road three years ago. The beauty of this region and the charm and nobility of its tribal societies, Afghans in particular, inspired Takesh to her venture.

A native of Iran, Takesh not only speaks Dari, the Afghan language, but also has a penchant for fashion. She earned her chops working in production and design for several apparel startups in New York before going to b-school. Now, as CEO of Tarsian & Blinkley, she designs the clothes, buys the fabrics, and manages the relationships with her Afghan partners.

"What affected me so much was noticing how a little economic development assistance makes the tribes people so much more friendly to us as outsiders," she said.

Tarsian & Blinkley also recruited key management talent, including a buyer of European designer sportswear for Bloomingdale's and a former vice president at Banana Republic, as well as classmate Matthew Upton, MBA 03, who has finance and budgeting experience with firms such as Nike, The Gap, Victoria's Secret, and Johnson & Johnson.

One of the venture's goals is to improve the plight of Afghan women, who have suffered much under the oppression of the Taliban regime. "Everyone is still scared," she says. "No native woman dares to take her burka off." She sees her venture as "a subtle and subversive statement to celebrate feminine beauty right in the heart of the place where it was almost totally obliterated."

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Faculty, alumni, and students are invited to hear Playtex CEO Michael Gallagher, BS 67, MBA 68, talk about branding and to brush up on the latest trends in corporate social responsibility, biotech, stocks, and entrepreneurship at the annual Haas School Faculty/Alumni Colloquium on May 10.

The colloquium, an event that is open to the entire Haas community, focuses on varied aspects of the challenges of doing business in the current economy. It will take place in multiple rooms on the Haas campus on Saturday, May 10, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Gallagher's remarks will be followed by an alumni panel, which will address the change in entrepreneurship since the bursting of the Internet bubble. The panel will be followed by breakout sessions, where distinguished Haas faculty will discuss timely topics.

The day's events include:

For registration and more information, please visit http://www.haas.berkeley.edu/alumni/colloquium/. All current Haas students receive free admission to the colloquium, but they must register by May 2. This event is hosted by the Alumni Relations office and the Haas Alumni Network and sponsored, in part, by the Haas Annual Fund.

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Two teams made up of students from the Haas School and UC Berkeley received finalist honors in the University of San Francisco International Business Plan Competition.

MicroReactor Technologies team members Michel Maharbiz, a graduate student in the College of Engineering, Chris Baker, MBA 03, and Gerrit van Roekel, MBA 03, aim to become the world market leader in high-throughput micro-reactor systems for the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and chemical research industries.

Medifuel team members Ken Bui, MBA David Tseng, Kien Lam, Asma Asyyed, Larry Fan, John Grant, and Mu Chiao, are trying to become the leading supplier of self-sustaining micro-power sources for implantable medical devices using thier proprietary MEMS-based BioFuel Cell power technology. In the UC Berkeley Business Plan competition, Medifuel took third place and the People's Choice award.

Each team won $1,000 and gained exposure to over 25 venture capital partners

For more competition details visit: http://www.businessplancompetition.com.

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The day-to-day adventures of running a major sports franchise will be revealed by Peter Harris, CEO of the San Francisco 49ers, when he speaks at the Haas School on Tuesday, May 6, in the Wells Fargo Room at 7:00 p.m.

Harris will be discussing his career path leading up to the 49ers, how an MBA student might pursue a career within a professional franchise, the organizational structure of the 49ers franchise, and the unique characteristics and challenges involved in being an executive for a sports franchise, compared with that of a large public corporation.

As a CEO of various organizations for the past 20 years, Harris is considered one of the creators of what is known today as "entertainment retailing," creating interactive and entertaining experiences for customers while they shop. Harris became an executive early, taking his first president/CEO position at the age of 36 at Gemco Department Stores.

A reception will be held in the Wells Fargo Room from 7:00 to 7:45 p.m. followed by his presentation from 7:45 to 9:00 p.m. All graduate students are welcome to attend both the reception and the event. The event is co-sponsored by the Entertainment Management Association and the Sports Marketing & Management course.

For more information, contact Heather Rascher at hrascher@haas.berkeley.edu.

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Haas in the News

The Haas School of Business was mentioned in Forbes Magazine on April 28 in the article, "Follow-Through." The article mentioned white-collar criminal Walter Pavlo's speech at Haas.

Assistant Professor Florian Zettelmeyer commented on the increasing use of the Internet for car shopping in the New York Times on April 24. The article, titled "How Much is That Civic Online?" also referred to three of Zettelmeyer's recently published papers. Read the full article at http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/24/business/24SCEN.html.

Kenneth Rosen, the California State Professor of Real Estate and Urban Economics, remarked on good reasons for home-buyers to buy on KRON 4 News on April 24. Read the full article, titled, "Is Bay Area in Housing Bubble?" at http://www.kron4.com/Global/story.asp?S=1249658&nav=5D7lFRuU.

The Haas School of Business was mentioned in the Oakland Tribune on April 24 in an article about the increase in graduate school applicants. Read the full article, titled "Out of work? Why not go to grad school?" at http://www.oaklandtribune.com/Stories/0,1413,82~1865~1347270,00.html#.

The UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition was featured in the East Bay Business Times on April 23 in the article, "UC Berkeley business plan showdown arrives." The event took place on Wednesday, April 23, at the Haas School. Read the full article at http://eastbay.bizjournals.com/eastbay/stories/2003/04/21/daily31.html?t=printable.

Professor Emeritus David Aaker, chairman of Prophet Brand Strategies, commented on proper etiquette for large retailers emerging from bankruptcy protection in USA Today. Read the full April 23 article, titled "Kmart should exit Chapter 11 quietly - experts say," at http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/retail/2003-04-23-kmart-exit_x.htm.

Severin Borenstein, the E.T. Grether Professor in Public Policy and Business Administration, commented on whether US Airways will pull its hub from Pittsburgh in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on April 23. Read the full article, titled "Will US Airways get what it wants to stay?" at http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/03113/178249.stm.

Dwight Jaffee, the Willis H. Booth Professor of Banking, Finance, and Real Estate, commented on the impact of interest rates on the home price market in the Contra Costa Times on April 23. Read the full article, titled "Home prices remain strong," at http://www.bayarea.com/mld/cctimes/5697825.htm? template=contentModules/printstory.jsp.

Severin Borenstein remarked on the impact of the War in Iraq on summer gas prices in CNBC: Business Center on April 18 in the section, "Analysis: What to expect in summer gas prices and why."

David Aaker, the E.T. Grether Professor of Marketing and Public Policy, remarked on McDonald's partner brand strategies in Fortune Magazine on April 14 in the article, "Can McDonald's Cook Again? The great American icon ain't what it used to be."

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