At the invitation of the UC Davis Center for Entrepreneurship, nearly 50
scientists, researchers and engineers from more than 20 universities
have gathered this week for a series of seminars and workshops on how to
launch a successful green-tech company. All of the sessions at the Tahoe
Center for Environmental Research in Incline Village are open to the
The fourth annual Green Technology Entrepreneurship Academy includes a
Tuesday morning session with John Bissell, a UC Davis and academy
alumnus, who started Micromidas, a West Sacramento-based company that
converts carbon found in organic wastewater into biodegradable,
recyclable bioplastics. Most plastic products today are petrochemical
based and difficult to recycle.
Bissell will share his experience in starting a new venture based on
green technology research. On Friday, attendees will present
commercialization strategies to a panel of investors and corporate
partners, providing a unique opportunity to gain insight and perspective
from investors and corporate partners, such as Pacific Gas & Electric
Co.; Chevron Corp.; Mohr Davidow Ventures, a Menlo Park-based venture
capital firm; and Nth Power, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm
focused on energy technology.
The academy, which runs from today until Friday, July 2, is taught by
leading experts from top venture capital and law firms, UC Davis and
other research institutions.
"Our biggest impact is to foster these network relationships connecting
researchers with investors, big companies, utilities and the public
sector. This has been a big missing piece in the puzzle of getting
innovation out of the labs," said Andrew Hargadon, director of the UC
Davis Center for Entrepreneurship.
Hargadon, a professor who holds he Soderquist Chair in Entrepreneurship
at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, is one of the nation's
foremost experts on entrepreneurship and management of technology
innovation. He wrote the book, How Breakthroughs Happen: The
Surprising Truth about How Companies Innovate.
Since 2007, more than 420 scientists, engineers and business students
from universities worldwide have attended the Center for
Entrepreneurship's 12 academies - including green technology and food
and health. In the process, more than two dozen companies have been
launched or supported, with more in the pipeline.
This week's participants - graduate students, post-doctoral researchers
and faculty working in a wide range of science and engineering fields -
come to the green technology academy with a wealth of knowledge and work
on cutting-edge, sustainable technologies.
The academy's faculty is drawn from the Northern California venture
capital and angel investor community, including CalCEF Clean Energy
Angel Fund, DFJ Element, DCM, Physic Ventures and Sierra Angels.
Attorneys from Morrison & Foerster and DLA Piper also will be on hand.
Guest entrepreneurs include Professor Paul Hudnut of Colorado State
University, a co-founder of Envirofit International, Ltd, a company that
makes clean cook-stoves; and Bissell, whose company, Micromidas,
recently raised $3.6 million in its first major round of financing.
"The network that we developed from the 2008 academy has been absolutely
instrumental in developing our company," said Bissell. "Two years down
the road, I still keep in touch with our academy mentor on a weekly
basis. He has been key in helping us secure partnerships and scale our
In addition to Chevron and PG&E, major sponsors include the Nevada
Institute for Renewable Energy Commercialization and the National
Institute of Environmental Sciences' Superfund Research Program.
Additional support is provided by the Sierra Angels and Sierra Nevada
For more information: http://entrepreneurship.ucdavis.edu/green
About the UC Davis Center for Entrepreneurship
The Center for Entrepreneurship at the UC Davis Graduate School of
Management serves as a springboard for innovations developed in
university and corporate research programs. The center's research
focuses on developing effective practices for early-stage innovation and
entrepreneurship; its educational programs blend effective theory with
hands-on exercises to help participants create solution-specific
innovations and individual action plans. Through academic programs
including the UC Davis MBA entrepreneurship concentration, the Business
Development Fellows program for graduate science and engineering
researchers, and several entrepreneurship academies, the center provides
science, engineering and business students the knowledge and networks
that are critical to successful innovation.
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