Cornell Venture Challenge '11 - Competition delivered, Johnson style!

Competing entrepreneurs demonstrated unprecedented passion and talent at annual event, and showcased what it takes to sell an idea in the 21st century economy

Cornell Venture Challenge '11 - Competition delivered, Johnson style!

The 2011 Cornell Venture Challenge (CVC), held April 14, revealed talent, passion and excitement essential for success in entrepreneurship. 

“In fact,” said Marlon Nichols, president and chief operating officer of BRV, “The presentations were regarded by the judges as some of the best they've had the opportunity to witness in the history of the competition.” 

Hosted every year by BR Venture Fund (BRV), Cornell University's seed stage venture capital fund run by graduate business students at Johnson and part of the Entrepreneurship@Cornell celebration, CVC allows entrepreneurs to pitch to judges as well as the greater Cornell community while competing for a non-dilutive cash award.  Participants also receive individual feedback from venture professionals and consistently report that that CVC is a performance learning goldmine, un-matched for long-term real life, real business, takeaways.

For CVC ’11, BRV decided to limit the venture competition to Cornell related technologies and companies and the Cornell community responded enthusiastically.  BRV reviewed 48 applicants, from which five 5 were selected as CVC finalists.


1.       ADispell:  Is a pharmaceutical company, using Cornell technology, to cure Alzheimer’s

2. A legal online gaming and betting Web site

3. Aims to do for recipes what Flickr did for the photo album and what LinkedIn and Microsoft Outlook have done for the personal planner

4.       SynairCo: Has patented new technology to replace the standard air-conditioner with something that is more energy efficient and environmentally conscious.

5.       TheraCord: A medical device company focused on the collection of stem cells for use in regenerative therapies.

 “The competition was fabulous,” said Nichols. “And the realization that we (BRV) played a small part in helping Cornell entrepreneurs move one step closer to their goals gives me goose bumps.”

A stand out participant was finalist Vijay Nathan, MBA ‘11, founder & CEO of  “When he took the stage to pitch, he not only sold his idea, but he also wowed, captivated, and inspired everyone in the room. His passion for entrepreneurship and his new venture were unmatched, said Nichols.”

Although he did not win the competition, he won by securing opportunities to visit and pitch his company to some of the top venture capital firms in the country.

“Several of the judges stated that if they were going to back an entrepreneur it would be him because he has the "goods" and is capable of championing and rapidly growing a start-up,” Nichols said.

BRV congratulates the winners of the 2011 Cornell Venture Challenge:

1st place: $10,000 prize: SynairCo – including Crista Shopis ’95, Adam Conderman MBA’11, and Charles Hamilton ’95 MBA‘04

2nd place: TheraCord – including CJ Halabi MEng’11

3rd place: ADispell – also winners of the CCTEC Technology Transfer Matching Prize


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