Baylor Business Students Present New Product at Big XII New Venture CompetitionJune 1, 2006
This spring Micheal Pettibone, MBA '06, participated in the first Big XII New Venture Competition held in Dallas in conjunction with the Big XII Basketball Tournament. Each of the Big XII universities was invited to send a team, with at least one graduate student, to present new ventures that were developed at their respective universities.
The Baylor team presented: Accutech, a startup company based on Baylor-owned intellectual property developed by Dr. Ken Busch, professor of Chemistry. The technology is near-infrared based spectroscopy tied to a database which can identify the content of various fabrics quickly and non-invasively by placing a piece of cloth in front of the lens. A patent is pending.
Customs officials and large scale fabric buyers can use this method to determine, for instance, the cotton content of a blended fabric (this is how customs officials assess the duty to be charged for imported cotton). Buyers of imported fabrics can use the spectrometer to ensure that the fabrics they receive meet the specifications which they ordered. These tests are currently being accomplished with a chemical analysis which is expensive, time-consuming and destroys a certain amount (the sample) of the fabric.
Pettibone joined with BEST class undergraduates Tina Dawson, Jason Ferrel, Jorge Garces and Katie Prichard in developing the plan and presenting it at the competition. Although Accutech was not selected for the final round the judges, in the feedback session, told them that "hands down", theirs was the best presentation of a business plan. The sole criterion for reaching the finals was, in the judges' estimation, which business has the greatest potential for success.
The competition also served as an opportunity for businesses to present their products to venture capitalists (VCs). Throughout the experience, Pettibone gained valuable insight into the development of new ventures, specifically how to interest the VCs who are primarily looking for organizations that have a patent for their product.
"VCs require large rates of return because they are taking a considerable risk by investing," Pettibone explained. "If the product/process is not unique, VCs are not interested because commodity products do not provide the returns that VCs require."
Further iterations of the Accutech product may include octane testing of fuels, water pollution tests, etc. Anything which can be analyzed with near-infrared is a potential market for this product, requiring only the establishment of a database against which to compare.