All posts by UW Foster School of Business

Student teams selected to compete in the 2015 UW Business Plan Competition

The University of Washington Business Plan Competition (BPC), now in its 18th year, is a platform for student-led ventures. It provides an opportunity for entrepreneurial students across Washington State to take their ideas beyond the classroom and test them out in a real-world setting. A business built around stylish sports socks, nose-to-brain drug delivery, or Emergency Medical Response might look great on paper, but not until you present it to a room full of entrepreneurs, investors, and mentors will you really know if it has potential.

A record 103 student teams applied to the 2015 BPC. After an initial screening round, 37 teams were selected to move on to the BPC Investment Round on April 28. There, they’ll pitch their ideas to 300+ judges—entrepreneurs, lawyers, investors, and other top professionals—in the hopes of earning a spot in the Sweet 16 and, ultimately, a chance to win the $25,000 Grand Prize.

Best of luck to the teams in the 2015 UW Business Plan Competition!

Alpha Endeavors
University of Washington Tacoma

Alpha Endeavors seeks to disrupt the antiquated residential real estate investment marketplace by alleviating a massive amount of transactional friction in the acquisition process. The company helps residential real estate brokers who serve investor clients to sell more real estate through a software facilitated process that implements predictive analytics, administrative automation, and integrates modern data gathering techniques.

University of Washington

Auctora’s automated recruiting tool seamlessly screens, sorts, and schedules candidates so that corporate recruiters can utilize their time more effectively while sourcing job applicants. No dealing with paper resumes; no back-and-forth emails between recruiters and candidates – welcome to recruiting in the 21st century!

University of Washington

Authality’s first product, Klide, is the most secure and convenient smart lock, and the only smart lock that meets the demands of Airbnb hosts. Klide pairs a physical lock with a mobile app that allows hosts to distribute revocable “keys” to guests and control access remotely.

Avayla Weddings
University of Washington

Avayla Weddings is a software platform designed to provide wedding vendors with better marketing and increased profits while simultaneously acting as the market-leading information tool for couples in the same way that TripAdvisor works for the travel industry. Avayla is the most efficient, enjoyable, and user friendly way for couples to find, contact and book the venue of their dreams.

University of Washington

Have you ever been at lunch and realized the 30 minutes you wanted to spend had turned into an hour? Have you ever been late for a meeting because you just couldn’t find a server to pay your bill? At you can order and pay for your food ahead of time, getting rid of the hassle in the dining experience. Once you arrive, your food will be served, leaving you time to concentrate on the flavors and experience instead of the wait. It’s!

Benchmark Environmental
University of Washington
Washington State University

Benchmark Environmental is changing the way we treat storm water. By combining innovative design with new technologies, our treatment solutions are affordable, easy to install, and low maintenance. Benchmark Environmental’s products enable more companies and municipalities to treat storm water runoff effectively–a win-win for customers and the environment.

University of Washington Tacoma

Bettery provides consumers with the most cost effective, convenient, and sustainable portable power solution on the market. Bettery taps a growing demand for sustainable solutions by offering batteries as a low cost subscription service.

Seattle University

CaseBooker is a simple, convenient, and local online mobile application and service that helps law students buy and sell their casebooks (legal textbooks) and other supplementary materials with other law students on their campus.

Co Optical
Washington State University

Co Optical specializes in lifestyle management technologies, with a flagship product that revolutionizes diabetes management by continuously and non-invasively monitoring blood glucose. This wearable device, structured as a pair of glasses, improves convenience and enhances the overall user experience allowing seamless integration of lifestyle management strategies into the everyday lives of people with diabetes.

Community Supported Bio
University of Washington and BGI at Pinchot University

Community Supported Bio turns trash into treasure. It offers turnkey lease-to-own B2B solutions to upcycle food & beverage waste into renewable fertilizer & fuel.

Seattle University

Old growth happens when nurtured. Eldergrow is a start-up company that connects nature to elders so that they can continue to flourish in their later years of life. Gardening every day reduces the risk factors for dementia by 36%! Through a portfolio of meaningful gardening and nature-related products, Eldergrow will improve the quality of 10,000 elders lives by the end of the decade.

University of Washington

Empreva aims to empower and engage women across the world to take their health into their own hands by providing a safe, convenient, and comfortable method for birth control and STI prevention.Empreva is developing birth control and combination birth control/anti-HIV products to benefit the health of women in high-HIV burden areas of the developing world who lack options for protection. For every purchase of an Empreva birth control product in the U.S., Empreva will donate one combination product to a woman in need in the developing world to help achieve sexual health and empowerment for women everywhere.

University of Washington

JikoPower makes thermo-electric generators to turn ordinary cook stoves into personal charging stations for off-grid households that have small electronic devices in the developing world. JikoPower POWERS devices, but it EMPOWERS people.

FullCircle Technologies
University of Washington

FullCircle Technologies is an education technology company empowering K-12 teachers, administrators, counselors, and staff with fast, easy to use, intuitive software to allow educators to focus on maximizing student learning. SITAR – Student Intervention Tracking and Reporting, is the company’s first product that helps schools track both academic and non-academic interventions and proactively reduces future interventions by focusing on the communication and action plans between teachers, staff and parents.

University of Washington

Genie is a file browser that understands and looks at files exactly the way a human does. Gone are the days of having to go through long lists of generic file names for images. Remember what an image contains? Tell Genie and it does the rest for you.

Washington State University

Go KEFI is an experience-based travel website that helps you plan vacations based off desired experiences and budget. The team won first place at Spokane Startup Weekend 2014, and has since sparked a movement for a new way to travel.

University of Washington

Hook is a home automation hub that offers smart home capability to the price sensitive consumer. Customers are able to convert existing electronics in the home to smart compatible devices, keeping these products up-to-date for years to come. Consumers will enjoy convenience with control via their mobile devices, savings on energy costs, and improved home safety. With an affordable price and remarkable ease of use, Hook aims to make smart home technology accessible to the masses.

Ion Informatics
University of Washington

Ion Informatics is developing a proprietary technology that provides critical health information enabling battery operators to maximize the value that can be extracted from each battery through more informed decision making. Applications for improved battery state diagnostics in the marketplace are extensive, applying to any system where large scale batteries are used. The information rich diagnostics developed by Ion Informatics will transform the storage sector by allowing more robust, intelligent, and informed battery management.

University of Washington

Limefy makes business networking you can wear. You’re in a big crowd where you don’t know anyone. It’s intimidating. You want to meet someone with similar interests but you don’t know how. LiGo can help you.

Meridian Lee
BGI at Pinchot University

Meridian Lee is a conscious fashion company making chic, distinctive fashion accessories. By collaborating with marginalized artisans around the world, Meridian Lee is able to create handcrafted designs and artisans are able to earn an income and live healthier, safer lives.

University of Washington

miPS is the first consumer stem cell generation and cell banking service. miPS allows consumers to store their adult cells to prevent cellular aging, generate stem cell lines for research, and use banked cells for future stem cell therapies.

NOVA Technologies
Western Washington University and University of Washington

NOVA Technologies’ Smart Solar Window uses transparent nanotechnology to create clean, local electricity that can turn skyscrapers into giant solar arrays and reduce HVAC systems costs, an innovative link to a carbon neutral future.
University of Washington

For small businesses, creating and managing purchase orders is a time-consuming manual task. offers a modern supply chain solution for small businesses that allows users to better manage purchase orders and collaborate on pending orders with their vendors.

University of Washington

Otogear is a stylish, customizable, environmentally friendly, reusable silicone earplug designed to help sustain a healthy hearing environment during loud events. In addition, Otogear promotes the reduction of waste by being reusable and biodegradable.

Park A Lot
University of Washington

Park A Lot is a platform connecting private businesses who have unused parking spaces with customers looking for parking. Lot owners sign up on a hop-on, hop-off platform and their lots become available to the public, generating them revenue. Customers use Park A Lot’s website or app to purchase parking on a lot of their choice from their home or mobile device.

University of Washington

Parky makes paying parking tickets suck less! Parky is a cloud-based app for receiving automated notifications once a parking ticket is issued to a vehicle owner. The app sends payment reminders and allows users to make one-click payments, reducing the anxiety related to missed parking payments and late fees.

University of Washington

PowerNode is a web-based power monitoring system for industrial machinery that utilizes machine learning to perform predictive maintenance, reducing costs associated with operation, maintenance and machine down time.

RainCity Heart Lab
Seattle University

Seventy percent of patients who have suffered a heart attack for the first time were previously classified as low risk for cardiovascular disease based on the current testing methods. RainCity Heart Lab (RCHL) is a specialty diagnostic lab that offers a better diagnostic test called CALLIS. CALLIS (Calibrated Lipoprotein Ion Separation) is a blood test for accurately quantifying intact lipoproteins for improved Cardio Vascular Disease risk assessment.

Saffron and Rose
Cornish School of the Arts and University of Washington

Saffron and Rose provides stylish and comfortable yoga-inspired apparel that supports the true health of the body and the planet. Using natural and organic fibers in beautiful colors, Saffron and Rose apparel enables a positive mood, a balanced body, and a general sense of well-being.

University of Washington

SmartyPants reinvents toilet training and mitigates adult incontinence issues to prevent millions of diapers from ending up as a biohazard in landfills. It predicts impending bowel events and alerts users to get to a toilet. The company’s innovative, first-of-its-kind, technology creates value for the consumers by saving on diaper purchases and the environment by reducing waste and biohazard from disposable diapers.

Seattle University and University of Puget Sound

Sport-Social provides the easiest way to spontaneously organize, locate, and join pickup sports activities through a social platform.

University of Washington

Sheer volume of life moments – scattered across electronic devices and online accounts – and lack of organization make it difficult to find precious moments and to assemble them into stories. Ironically, even as more life instances are captured, stories are increasingly buried in digital chaos. In an attempt to record many experiences, users risk losing the very memories they want to preserve. Storyline.Life is a storytelling platform to conveniently capture, organize and connect moments so that they can be shared as meaningful stories.

University of Washington

ThreeBar is a revolutionary website tracking and content delivery platform that allows any business to easily and cost efficiently hyper-target customers. Using a customer’s past web viewing habits, locational data, and demographic profiling, ThreeBar enables businesses to deliver custom website content and test special offers in real-time– all with the simplicity of a point and click user interface.

Washington State University

TriboTEX aims to extend the operational life-span of industrial machinery by improving efficiency where lubricated friction takes place. TriboTEX’s self-assembling nanostructured lubricious coating provides regenerative effects to frictional surface during normal operation.

University of Washington

vHAB is a virtual rehabilitation platform that helps patients regain fine motor skills to lead autonomous lives again. vHAB enables occupational therapists to customize patient treatment and accurately monitor progress through engaging and dynamic video games. System portability and precision metrics pose a competitive advantage for rehabilitation facilities, allowing delivery of quality treatment to patients – anywhere, anytime. vHAB saves rehabilitation facilities time and money. Most importantly, vHAB empowers patients to reclaim their independence.

Vie Diagnostics
University of Washington

A significant portion of patients attending STD clinics fail to follow up for treatment, even when tests are positive and the risk for transmission and complication is highest. Vie Diagnostics’ disruptive molecular diagnostic technology will reduce the spread and pain of STD infections by allowing patients to be tested and treated in a single clinical visit. Its tests will provide better patient management, lower costs for clinics, and improve overall public health.

University of Washington

Yowgii has the potential to disrupt the bottled water industry and the water filtration industry. The global bottled water industry is worth over $157 billion a year, but is heavily comprised of plastic bottles with significant environmental footprint and potential for contaminants. Yowgii combines environmentally-friendly water delivery with innovative water purification to deliver the best drinking water to consumer and promises pure water for a better you!


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When rankings focus on student results, Foster rises to #12 in U.S.

If business schools were ranked based on MBA students’ results, the Foster School would leap to #12 in the country, according to MBA ranking site, Poets & Quants.

Poets & Quants re-ranked the schools in response to a recent Fortune magazine essay by Dean Glenn Hubbard of Columbia University’s Business School, who recommended weighting the MBA rankings based on student inputs and outputs. Hubbard wrote, “Every business school dean, myself included, will tell you that their school is the best, so as much as it pains me to say, you should probably look past the deans. Instead, look to the students. It’s in the student network that you will find the metrics that matter for assessing any business school: inputs and outputs.”

What would a new ranking focused on student metrics look like?
Poets & Quants analyzed publicly available data to re-weight the ranking of the top 25 business schools in the U.S. When those student inputs – applications per seat and yield (acceptance of admissions offers) and outputs – job placement rates and pay – are weighted most heavily, schools that focus on student results rise to the top.

Based on the student performance factors, Foster ranks #12, above Duke, Yale, Cornell and Michigan, and third among public schools.

Poets & Quants
A New Ranking Of The Top Business Schools

School Index P&Q Rank Apps per seat Yield Pay Jobs
  1. Stanford 100.0 1 17.9 78.7% $142,834 92.1%
  2. Harvard 91.3 2 10.2 88.8% $144,750 89.4%
  3. MIT 86.2 7 11.7 62.3% $142,936 92.8%
  4. Berkeley 85.3 10 14.4 52.5% $140,935 86.7%
  5. Wharton 82.0 4 7.1 68.0% $142,574 95.6%
  6. Columbia 81.6 5 7.8 70.4% $139,006 91.1%
  7. NYU 79.8 10 11.3 48.7% $135,933 90.4%
  8. Chicago 79.0 4 7.2 59.4% $137,615 97.2%
  8. Tuck 79.0 8 8.7 52.2% $142,489 93.8%
10. UCLA 78.1 14 11.7 48.2% $127,535 88.6%
11. Kellogg 77.2 6 6.7 63.9% $136,357 88.6%
12. Foster 75.9 23 9.8 44.7% $125,367 95.8%
13. Darden 75.5 13 8.4 45.8% $136,474 93.4%
14. Duke 75.4 9 7.8 50.9% $137,154 89.8%
15. Yale 73.9 12 8.5 49.5% $126,871 88.9%
16. Olin 73.1 24 12.1 30.9% $111,974 96.9%
17. Cornell 72.8 15 6.3 52.6% $132,316 89.8%
18. Emory 72.5 20 7.5 43.5% $128,347 94.8%
18. Michigan 72.5 11 5.5 50.9% $140,497 89.7%
20. Texas 72.0 19 7.9 44.4% $126,160 91.3%
21. Tepper 71.4 17 6.9 46.6% $131,865 88.3%
22. Kelley 68.4 20 6.6 45.6% $119,581 88.1%
23. UNC 67.6 18 6.8 37.9% $124,641 89.0%
24. Owen 66.3 25 5.3 44.7% $113,830 90.8%
25. Georgetown 64.4 22 6.1 34.5% $118,938 88.5%

Source: Poets & Quants analysis from publicly available data

Read Dean Hubbard’s full essay in Fortune and the How A Dean Would Rank Business Schools article in Poets & Quants.

Learn more about Foster’s current rankings.

Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge awards $37,500 to student innovators

“Alaska Airlines wants to get better and better at being a leader in environmental responsibility, so today we’re here to learn from you,” said Joe Sprague, Alaska Airlines’ senior vice president for communications and external relations, in his welcome address at the 2015 Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge.

The “you” he was speaking to was a group of 22 student teams from 7 colleges and universities across the state of Washington, gathered at the Seattle Center to pitch their innovations in clean technology, renewable energy and water resource management.

IMG_4148 (1)Throughout the afternoon these innovative and entrepreneurial students demonstrated their prototypes and fielded questions on everything from technology issues to market viability from a room full of 160+ judges and another 100 guests.

While all in attendance undoubtedly learned something from every team, only five teams went home with a portion of the $37,500 in prize money.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2015 Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge!


$15,000 Grand Prize & $5,000 Clean Energy Prize

(sponsored by Wells Fargo and the UW Clean Energy Institute)

FireBee (University of Washington)

Student Team members:
Ryan Ahearn, undergraduate, mechanical engineering
Aaron Owen, undergraduate, mechanical engineering
Daniel Parrish, undergraduate, mechanical engineering

FireBee is a portable thermoelectric generator that turns cooking fires into personal power stations,  creating an alternative energy source for people in countries that are otherwise off the grid.

$10,000 Second Place Prize

(sponsored by the Herbert B. Jones Foundation)

Hook (University of Washington)

Student Team Members:
Rahil Jain, graduate, electrical engineering
Robert Moehle, graduate , Foster School of Business

Hook is a home automation hub that allows customers to convert existing electronics  to smart devices, decreasing energy consumption, improving home safety, and reducing the amount of electronics that are routinely discarded in landfills.

$2,500 Honorable Mentions

(sponsored by Starbucks,  UW CoMotion, and Puget Sound Energy)

EcoStream (University of Washington)

Student Team Members:
Michaela Byrne, graduate, Foster School of Business
Tianchi Liu, undergradaute, computer science & engineering
Ryan Osher, graduate, Foster School of Business
Shon Schmidt, graduate, bioengineering
Wenxuan Wu, undergraduate, electrical engineering
Han Ye, undergraduate, electrical engineering

IMG_0899 (1)

EcoStream builds awareness and lifelong habits to conserve our most valuable resource by helping people conserve water and change their usage habits in a fun and inexpensive way.


Ion Informatics (University of Washington)

Student Team Members:
Charles Daitch, graduate, Foster School of Business
Brendan Erickson, undergraduate, chemical engineering
Daniel Gilbert, undergraduate, chemical engineering
Matthew Murbach, graduate, chemical engineering
Uttara Sahaym, graduate, Foster School of Business
Arianna Whitten, undergraduate, chemical engineering


Ion Informatics is developing a proprietary technology that provides critical information to battery operators, optimizing asset utilization and prolonging the useful life of the battery. The end effect is a dramatic increase in value that can be extracted from each battery by enabling viable second use battery systems.


 Bettery (University of Washington Tacoma)

Student Team Members:
Brendan Crawford, undergraduate, computer engineering
Chris Dejarlais, undergraduate, finance & computer science
Vishaal Diwan, undergraduate, computer science

Bettery provides a better model for battery use: a reusable subscription service that gives consumers unlimited access to reusable batteries with a monthly subscription.

The Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge is presented by the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship at the Foster School of Business, University of Washington.

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Designed for this international internship

Guest post by Joyce Tang, Foster undergraduate student and Certificate of International Studies in Business student

Joyce Tang
Joyce Tang

It’s never too early to start. That’s what I was thinking when I replied to a vague email about a summer internship opportunity abroad. After getting the internship, what ensued was the development of my skills as a professional designer, project manager of programmers, and an expert print shop price haggler. The first role I was able to experience from the comfort of my own room and the last two I did across the Pacific Ocean in China.

The company I interned at was a startup in Shanghai called Sino Society. The business specialized in international real estate marketing to wealthy Chinese home buyers. Real estate was never an industry I expected to be in, but the promise of getting to live and work in China for a summer sounded like an invaluable experience. With that in mind, I said yes to working remotely for seven months on a probationary basis. During this time, I conducted weekly conference calls that led to a greater understanding of the company’s business model, China’s consumer environment, and–to my delight–that I was capable of being a graphic designer.

Since junior high, I had taken up design as a hobby and almost majored in design, but chose to pursue business because I wanted the skills to build my own business. I figured the design projects would come later, but here I was at my first internship getting to do what I loved most. It seemed like no coincidence when I found out in a conference call that I was to start a project using Adobe Indesign during the same week I had taken an introductory course on the program through Odegaard Library’s free workshop resource. This initial assignment led to creating an entire series of business collateral used for sales pitches to our company’s international clients. My design was translated into Spanish, Italian, Dutch, and Chinese. Without receiving extensive training, I was able to learn by doing real-work assignments and am now proficiently using the program.

At the end of May, my probationary period ended and the company asked me to come to Shanghai to continue for the summer. Contrary to what many might expect of startups, Sino Society provided my round trip ticket to Shanghai. Working in the heart of the city, I continued my marketing projects, but secretly wanted a hand in the technology side of things. My involvement in the Lavin Entrepreneurship Program built up my experience and fascination with the tech space. I asked my boss if I could take on more projects relating to the technology side of the business, which led me to being a project manager of Chinese programmers. After only one meeting, it became pretty clear there was a language barrier, so I gave myself the goal of learning the Chinese phrases for IT terms. Meanwhile, I was occasionally tasked with the grunt work of making print shop runs with the goal of lowering our cost for bulk print jobs. By the end of the summer, I had perfected things I always thought were my weaknesses: communicating about technical topics in Chinese and haggling with locals. And guess what? I’m still happily doing side design projects with Sino Society in my free time.

Learn more about the Certificate of International Studies in Business and Lavin Entrepreneurship Program.

Working abroad leads to freedom in the job market

Guest post by Nathan Bright (BA 2014)

Nathan Bright at the University of ManizalesMy name is Nathan Bright and I graduated from the Foster School and the CISB Program in March 2014 with a general business degree and Spanish minor. During my time at UW, I was able to study abroad in Spain and travel around Asia, so I knew when I graduated I wanted to find opportunities to work abroad and travel. I was lucky enough to be offered a position in Spain teaching English as well as a position in Colombia working at a university teaching business. I chose to move to South America because I wanted to experience a new country and continent and was excited about the opportunity to teach business and speak Spanish at work.

My original contract at the University of Manizales was for six months, but my coworkers and bosses were so happy to have me that I was able to extend my contract to a year. One thing I really enjoy about the job is the amount of freedom I have to design my own projects and work with professors to develop programs that are interesting to both the faculty and students. I also have the opportunity to speak English and Spanish while teaching business courses and work with students and professors in class and outside of the University during separately organized events. Working abroad has given me much more freedom in the job market because I would have never had the opportunity to be a professor or design my own projects if I had found a similar entry-level position in the US.

The CISB Program did a great job preparing me for this opportunity. We studied a wide variety of cultural experiences and had a lot of opportunities to work in real-life business contexts, which gave me the skills and knowledge required to live and work in a foreign country.

Because companies in other countries are often excited to have the opportunity to work with foreigners who are passionate and well-educated, there are plenty of ways to enter the job market in a different country. If you wish to contact me about my experiences abroad, email me at natebright01(at)

Syncing to the digital age of marketing

Wired In ConferenceOn January 31, the Foster School of Business welcomed 170 student registrants from 10 universities across the Northwest for Wired In: Syncing to the Digital Age of Marketing, the 2nd Annual Undergraduate Marketing Conference. The event, hosted by Foster Undergraduate Career Services and the UW American Marketing Association, was sponsored by Eddie Bauer for the second year.

Centered on the theme of digital marketing, the day’s presentations included an opening keynote by Eddie Bauer, breakout sessions by Bing, Porch, Delightful Communications, and Drake Cooper, and a closing keynote by 4th Avenue Media. The attendees could choose which of the breakout session options to attend based on their own personal interest level.

In addition to the presentations, students participated in two interactive elements; team activities led by Puget Sound American Marketing Association and a networking event. The team activities were designed to get students talking about relevant marketing topics which included: designing a Google AdWords campaign, creating a sales pitch, responding to a social media blunder, creating a content marketing campaign, and brainstorming for a guerrilla marketing campaign. The networking event featured 16 companies of various sizes and industries, offering attendees opportunity to meet more professionals in the field.

Better batteries, recycled building materials, and smart diapers: Environmental Innovation Challenge 2015

EIC 2014 winner Korvata with Pam Tufts
EIC 2014 winner Korvata with Pam Tufts

How do you foster innovation to address pressing environmental issues? Get college students engaged! The Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge at the University of Washington taps into the passion, smarts, and motivation that  students have for solving environmental  problems.  Since its outset, the EIC has attracted 726 students (161 teams) and awarded over $180,000 in prize money.

EIC Banner 2015_541x138A record 40 student teams from colleges and universities across the pacific northwest applied to the this year’s Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge. Each team that applies must define an environmental problem, design a solution, and develop a prototype. This year 22 teams were selected to show their prototypes and pitch to 250+ judges at a demo-day event on April 2, 2015.

Meet the 22 teams competing in the 2015 Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge:

Benchmark ECR
(University of Washington, Washington State University)

Benchmark Environmental is developing an affordable, easy to install, and low maintenance stormwater treatment system. The Benchmark ECR will enable more companies and municipalities to effectively treat every pollutant present in stormwater runoff.

(University of Washington)

Bettery provides a better model for battery use: a reusable subscription service that gives consumers unlimited access to reusable batteries with a monthly subscription.

(University of Washington)

The BrightBike has a revolutionary set of features, including electric assist, cargo capacity,  a strong and lightweight composite frame, a rain cover, and a complete light system, that make it an irresistible alternative to driving.

Community Supported Bio
(BGI at Pinchot University)

Community Supported Bio (CSB) closes the loop for the farm-to-table movement by turning food waste into renewable biogoods: organic fertilizer & fuel. CSB helps decrease emissions and lower air & water pollution, all while improving soil fertility for farmers.

(University of Washington)

EcoStream builds awareness and lifelong habits to conserve our most valuable resource by helping people conserve water and change their usage habits in a fun and inexpensive way.

Estufa Bella Company
(Seattle Pacific University, Seattle University)

Estufa Bella Company designs and manufactures clean-burning, biochar-producing cook-stoves for use by an estimated 2.7 billion individuals who use traditional wood fires for household cooking and heating.

Extrusion Electronics
(University of Washington)

Extrusion Electronics is reimagining 3D printing with a conductive plastic filament, enabling makers to create and replicate simple electronics at home.

(University of Washington)

FireBee is a portable thermoelectric generator that turns cooking fires into personal power stations,  creating an alternative energy source for people in countries that are otherwise off the grid.

(University of Washington)

Flexolar, a flexible and lightweight polymer-based solar cell, is an alternative to inorganic solar cells that are heavy, fragile, and costly to manufacture and install.

GeoPop CCS
(University of Washington)

GeoPop turns used plastic bottles collected from the trash  into affordable geocells for use in constructing retaining walls, stabilized slopes, platforms, stairs, and pathways in urban slums.

(University of Washington)

Helio manufactures portable solar panel chargers designed to generate enough power to charge laptops and other electronic accessories.Transmitting energy from the sun eliminates the need for extra batteries and reducing the toxic pollution associated with them.

(University of Washington)

Hook is a home automation hub that allows customers to convert existing electronics  to smart devices, decreasing energy consumption, improving home safety, and reducing the amount of electronics that are routinely discarded in landfills.

Illuminant Diagnostics
(University of Washington)

Illuminant Diagnostics has developed a biosensor empowered by nanotechnology that provides rapid, mobile bacteria detection without the need for cell cultures, traditional DNA testing, or isolation of disease-specific antibodies.

Ion Informatics
(University of Washington)

Ion Informatics is developing a proprietary technology that provides critical information to battery operators, optimizing asset utilization and prolonging the useful life of the battery. The end effect is a dramatic increase in value that can be extracted from each battery by enabling viable second use battery systems.

(University of Washington)

MarineSitu provides environmental monitoring solutions that facilitate the sustainable development of marine renewable energy.

(University of Washington)

PowerNode is a web-based industrial energy monitoring system that enables users to monitor machine-specific power consumption.

Protium Innovations
(Washington State University)

Protium Innovations is developing a solid state hydrogen liquefaction device that is scalable and more energy efficient than current liquefaction technology.

(University of Washington)

Silicar9 is producing a new low-cost disposable protein purification system that uses more environmentally friendly materials than existing technology.

(University of Washington)

SmartyPants is reinventing toilet training—and aims to prevent millions of diapers from ending up as a biohazard in landfills across the country—by predicting impending bowel events and alerts users to get to a toilet.

SwitchPoint Solutions
(Central Washington University)

SwitchPoint Solutions’ pilot product, the Solar Evaporative Air Conditioning Handler (SEARCH) is capable of achieving HVAC efficiency gains of over 40%, offering cost savings necessary to incentivize investment in renewable methods of heating and cooling.

(Seattle University, University of Washington)

Tape-It-Easy is increasing the adoption of water-efficient drip irrigation with a hand-driven, inexpensive tool that dispenses and secures drip tape for faster and easier installation.

(Washington State University)

TrashWall uses recycled materials scavenged from waste streams to build insulation panels that can be installed in rental units to reduce energy waste and increase cost-savings for renters.

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Storyform is shaking up online storytelling

Sam Altman, the president of Y Combinator, says you should never s do a startup just to do one. “There are much easier ways to become rich,” he says, “and everyone who starts a startup always says that they couldn’t have imagined how hard and painful it was going to be. You should only start a startup if you feel compelled by a particular problem and think starting a company is the best way to solve it.”

It was this advice that led Rylan Hawkins (BS 2009) to leave his job at Microsoft in the summer of 2014 and start his own company. “I believe in a better online reading experience, and I’ve decided to go after it,” says Hawkins, now the co-founder and CEO of Storyform, a framework that allows publishers and photographers to share their stories online in more captivating ways.

Storyform BannerHawkins and his co-founder, Luke Clum, believe that the current state of online reading—static content, complex designs, distracting layouts, relentless popups—diminishes the stories that authors are trying to tell. With Storyform, publishers can create “immersive narratives” on their own domains that truly engage their readers. They’ve done away with distracting sidebars and replaced scrolling canvasses with full-screen magazine-style pages that feature eye-catching layouts and interactive elements like video. They’ve also discarded traditional web page advertising in favor of ads that are sleeker and better integrated. “Not only will readers be engaged with beautiful story content,” says Hawkins, “they’ll also find the ads beautiful.”

storyform-ogThough Storyform is not even a year old, Hawkins is no stranger to startups. “I had three startup experiences in college,” he says, referring to VibeGlobe (BPC 2009), a platform to help nonprofits raise money from younger donors; Visual Schedule Finder, a program that allowed UW students to search for the perfect class schedule; and YourSports, a startup that is still thriving in the hands of CEO Chris McCoy (read about it below!). Hawkins reflects on each of his early startups as great learning experiences that he can apply to Storyform, and those lessons-learned seem to be paying off. Storyform currently has 1,900 registered publishers in countries around the world (a number that is growing about 10 percent a week) and they have logged over 17,000 hours of user engagement.

So what’s next on the road to Storyform’s success? “We’re still very early-stage, so we’re bootstrapped right now,” says Hawkins, “but we’re preparing for a first round, learning the fundraising space and meeting with everyone we can.” In the meantime, Hawkins and Clum will keep working on what got them into the startup life in the first place: transforming the way stories are told.

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YourSports: connecting the world online through sports

March Madness is coming, and athletes, coaches, and fans all over the country are gearing up for another exciting season—the sweat, the competition, the glory! But Chris McCoy (BA 2011) is excited for another reason. March Madness 2015 will mark the public beta launch of a startup effort seven years in the making. YourSports is a new sports networking platform that aims to change the way people connect through sports online.

“Sports is the ultimate connector,” says McCoy, who started YourSports during his senior year at the University of Washington. “It has an inherent ability to build relationships at all levels—high school softball teammates, 2010 Winter Olympics competitors, 12th fans—but until now these relationships haven’t been collected online in a centralized location.”

YourSports Graph BTCSure, you can find fellow fans or your college soccer teammates on Facebook or Linkedin, but there’s a lot of chatter on those social platforms, and only a small portion of it is about sports. There’s also many mainstream sports media websites, but those don’t offer the personalization that comes with social networking sites. McCoy is banking on the belief that sports communities want a personalized dedicated sports experience.

McCoy explains that social platforms connect people by interest. “Think of it this way,” he says, “Facebook was student directory-meets-social network. Linkedin is resume-meets-social network. YourSports does the same with sports data. We’ve taken the most comprehensive historical and geographical sports data on the planet and gathered it online in one place to unite teams, athletes, fans, and influencers from all levels, throughout history, and around the world.”

YourSports - chris and russell wilson
McCoy (right) with Russell Wilson

YourSports currently employs about 20 people—mostly engineers and data scientists—in 9 cities, working to build out a platform based on millions of pieces of local and national data from 100+ years of sports history. They have already created 500,000+ profiles of athletes, schools, and sports venues, raised $1.7 million in angel investment, and have seen a steady stream of people joining (“in the low thousands”) since launching their private beta in 2012. McCoy has also recruited a strong board of advisors, including senior baseball writer Jerry Crasnick and Ward Bullard, former head of sports at Google+. After YourSports’ public launch during March Madness, McCoy will continue to work on the next step: monetizing YourSports using a commerce model that connects users with places and products recommended by their favorite athletes. “If we get it right,” says McCoy, “YourSports will become one of the most interesting sports marketing and commerce platforms on the planet.”

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Career fair success

Career FairThe Foster School’s Professional Sales Program and the Husky Sales Club pulled off a huge win. On Tuesday, February 24, over 35 corporations joined us for our most successful Career Fair yet. A representative from E&J Gallo said, “This is the best Career Fair we attend. You have the right student population and potential employees for us.” Close to 200 students connected with potential employers to talk about opportunities and careers in sales and to explore the variety of opportunities.

The Professional Sales Program would like to recognize the Husky Sales Club for helping plan, recruit, and execute such a large event. Sponsors are signing up for next year already.