We have lift-off…7 teams compete in the first Reed Start-Up Lab

4 Feb

The Reed College Start-Up Lab is underway.  Students and Mentors gathered Friday night, February 3rd to hear Michael Richardson talk about his journey as an entrepreneur from his first idea, which failed to Bacn.com (we love it so much Michael could sell it online) to Urban Airship (all those push notifications for the New York Times on your phone, thank Michael and UA team).  His candid takes and excitement got the students ready to go.

Steve Morris of the Oregon Technology Business Center, kicked things off with a brief overview of the event and the idea of the Lean Start-Up (credit to Steve Blank et al).

We heard 15 pitches (great job pitchers–it’s hard to stand up in front of everyone and pitch the first time) and the group narrowed them down and formed teams.

Here’s what people are working on:

Peramod.  Dream it. Design it. Do it.

Meg Moeller, Su Liu, Jason Leonard, Ted Sand, Michael Bedford

Block modules, which can be assembled together to create variously shaped bookshelves and dressers.  These structures could even be turned into desks and beds through the use of specialized “caps.”  Modules could even be mounted on walls with special shelving attachments.

ha.lo  “home automation. live organic”

Michael Zhao, Bryan Kim, Brent Bailey, Zach Babb

Problem:  Home automation is possible yet nobody wants it.  Our homes are inefficient and frustrating; our things should work together with us, not separately against us.

Solution: We want to create a halo product that gets people excited about home automation.  We will start with a modular, CNCD power strip that sends out data about power consumption and takes input and programs from an accompanying application.

Taylor (formerly Taskboard)

Ezwan Amzar Abdullah Faiz, Michael Kincaid, Katharine Chen

Taylor (formerly Taskboard) shows your existing calendar and lets you create sticky notes that represent the things you need to do. Attach the notes wherever they make sense to you: as reminders, or to block the time you need to get things done. Customize and personalize your view by laying out the notes just like you would arrange your desk.

Blue House Coffee  “Trading beans for books”

Jamie Loos, Timothy Jahl, Paul Messick, and Amhad Shabbar

Coffee Team re-invests in the education of coffee growing communities.  Coffee branded around stories and quantifiable results of social benefit.

Art Handlr (Website and App)

Mary Emily O’Hara (founder), Dan Revel, Others TBA

Art Handlr brings art collectors and aspiring collectors directly into the studios of inventive, exciting contemporary artists around the world. By directly connecting artists and buyers, we support artists by increasing their profitability while supporting collectors by lowering the overall cost of buying art. We make discovering great art fun and easy!


Alex Ragus, Josh Urrutia and Doug Agnew

Bio-Energetics’ solution enables local breweries to reduce their costs and eliminate bio-mass waste by converting that waste on-site into methane gas which provides the energy to power the brewery.  Similar systems are already used in the paper and pulp industry on massive scale but are locally adaptable.


Matt Fernandez and Akash Krishnan (OES, founders), and Finn Terdal, Clemmie Wotherspoon and Gabriel Forsythe y Koszeniewicz (Reedies)

Emotitron is a fun, interactive, real-time solution that helps children and adults with autism recognize emotion in the human voice.  The system facilitates communication and can be also be used by parents, co-workers, caregivers and educators.  Matt and Akash developed the working computer program and have been recognized by many science fairs, filed for a utility patent, and were featured in the NY Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/27/magazine/mag-27science-t.html) and on NPR Science Friday (http://www.npr.org/2010/12/10/131967508/Teaching-Computers-To-Be-More-Empathetic). This 2min video explains the research-side of the project: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnbsGyViN3Y.

That’s all for tonight.  It’s not too late to come join a team and help.  See you Saturday at 9am.

Reed Student Entrepreneurs at work


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