Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship Team Pitches Energetik, Wins First Place at UNL New Venture Competition
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second in a series of stories highlighting the success of student business plan teams from the Bauer College’s Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship in Spring 2014. Each year, WCE students work with the university’s Division of Research to develop commercialization plans for technologies developed at the university. Over the past 12 years, Bauer teams have had 21 podium finishes in national business plan competitions.
A student team from the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship at the C. T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston won one of the oldest business plan competitions in the nation by building a plan around technology that makes renewable electricity reliable.
Competitors Jonathan Brown, Jonathan Cohen-Kurzrock, Rowbin Hickman, Brenda Rojo and Noy Shemer placed first on March 20 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln New Venture Competition with their business plan for Energetik, a technology pioneered by UH Cullen College of Engineering Assistant Professor Yan Yao that replaces the anode of a battery with 100 percent organic materials, resulting in a longer-lasting solution.
“Dr. Yao’s successful research and development of this technology will create a battery that is safe, significantly lighter and smaller than any other batteries on the market, allowing for a competitive energy density and most importantly, a longer lifetime,” Cohen-Kurzrock said. “This battery’s application can range from power storage for telecommunications to submarines, but we are focusing on the solar power industry.”
“Bauer has been the catalyst for opening doors and giving us this unique opportunity to work with inventors to try to commercialize university-based Intellectual Property.”
—Noy Shemer, Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship student
The student team had just three months to prepare for the UNL competition after determining that a first technology was not market viable and selecting to work with Yao.
“What we have managed to accomplish in less than three months is unbelievable,” Cohen-Kurzrock said. “From meeting a new inventor and getting a brand new technology all the way to winning the UNL Global Venture Competition is no small feat, and that accomplishment would not have been possible without Bauer.”
Shemer also credits the team’s success to the support system at Bauer College and the Wolff Center.
“Bauer has been much more than a name for us,” she said. “Our professors have been the voice of reason and perspective that have guided us to make smarter business decisions with our technology and most importantly, Bauer has been the catalyst for opening doors and giving us this unique opportunity to work with inventors to try to commercialize university-based Intellectual Property.”
By Amanda Sebesta