Opportunity Recognition & Startup Competitions Launch
This session will focus on opportunity recognition. There are lots of opportunities out there - how do you know which one is right for you? This panel discussion will feature three entrepreneurs who have made their choices and are developing their companies. They will tell you how they found their opportunity and the decisions they made in starting or joining their ventures. Many entered our startup competitions - come hear why you should too.
|Stephen F. (Steve) Hahn
The Dow Chemical Company
Steve joined the Dow Chemical Company in Midland, Michigan in 1982 and has worked in a variety of business and corporate research and new business development functions at Dow prior to assuming his current role in 2007. As Research Fellow, Steve leads Dow’s effort to identify emerging, strategically aligned chemical, materials and energy related business opportunities. He is focusing on the US West Coast region and is currently located in the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area of Northern California. Steve has a B.S. in Chemistry from Michigan Tech and an M.S. in Chemistry from Central Michigan University. He holds 38 issued U.S. Patents, has 40 publications in refereed journals, and 6 chapters in text /reference books. Steve was named a Dow Inventor of the Year in 1990 and 1996, the Distinguished Alumni Lecturer at Michigan Tech in 1996 and 2003, and received the Dow Excellence In Science Award in 1999. He was a Visiting Professor of Chemistry and IPrime Scholar at the University of Minnesota in 2002. He has represented Dow on Advisory Boards at the University of Connecticut at Michigan Tech. He received the American Chemical Society Cooperative Research Award in 2008 and the Council for Chemical Research Collaboration Award in 2010. Steve also serves on the Global Social Venture Competition Advisory Board.
|Nikhil Arora (UGBA 09)
Back to the Roots
Nikhil Arora co-founded Back to the Roots (BTTR) in 2009 as a senior at UC Berkeley and gave up a potential career in consulting to become an urban mushroom farmer. Nikhil oversees the marketing, product development, and operations half of the business, and with his co-founder, Alejandro Velez, has led the company to triple digit annual growth over four years.Since co-founding BTTR, Nikhil has been named one of BusinessWeek’s Top 25 Entrepreneurs under 25, Top 25 Social Entrepreneurs in America, UCLA’s Opportunity Green Top 25 Green Company Leaders, 2010 Social Venture Network Social Innovation winners, and 2010 Hitachi Young Entrepreneur Winners.Nikhil is currently on the Board of Directors of the Sage Mentorship Project and Social Venture Network.Nikhil graduated summa cum laude from the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business during which he spent 6 months in Africa creating a profitable recycling program for the University of Ghana.
Chief Executive Officer, Board Member
Cliff Morris brings more than twenty-five years of executive management, technical marketing, sales and general management experience, with a strong focus on new business development on a global basis and product commercialization. Prior to C3Nano, Cliff was vice president of business development at NanoGram Corporation, and spearheaded the company’s successful merger with Teijin Chemicals. While at NanoGram, Cliff was responsible for developing and expanding nanotechnology into applications including display films, lithium batteries, printed electronics, solar, and semiconductor materials. Prior to NanoGram, Cliff served in a variety of senior management positions at Sheldahl-Multek, a wholly owned subsidiary of Flextronics, Inc. As director of European Operations located in Paris, France, Cliff lead Sheldahl’s European business expansion and established new business and relationships with key European Fortune 500 customers. During his tenure as vice president, sales and marketing at Sheldahl, Cliff introduced the first-ever roll-to-roll patterned ITO product line for the display industry and managed a lithium metal film for battery project funded by NIST. He holds a B.A. from Michigan State University, and an MBA from Xavier University.
|Aaron Schwartz (MBA 10)
Modify Industries, Inc.
Aaron Schwartz is the co-founder and CEO of Modify Industries, Inc. The company’s first product, Modify Watches, can be mix-and-matched to allow individuals to customize their look. Prior to starting Modify, Aaron co-founded Refill Revolution, a sustainability startup that was acquired by True20. He earned his MBA at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and was a (very happy) strategy consultant before that. Modify has been featured by the Today Show (3x), the New York Times, Men’s Health, Self and many more publications. The products are in Best Buy, Amazon, and a few dozen small retailers.