All posts by Ray Liu

NVC Series: The Finalists are Here

Last year, when we found out that WillowFlare was lucky enough to be one of the 10 teams moving on to the finals of the NVC, we were both super excited and nervous. Only after going through the presentations with other teams, did we realize how competitive the NVC is and how great the ideas are.  Don’t forget, we could only see one section – half of the 30 teams in the competition – and the only thing we know about the other half is they are as good if not better.   We were excited because it was such a journey for us to go from an idea to nearly a real business within three months. The momentum that NVC can provide to the team and the resources from the Polsky Center are just unparalleled.  In the meantime, we were also nervous because we wanted to put on the best show, representing ourselves and our classmates. At the end of the day, after being grilled by the same sets of investors again and again, we made many good friends from the same trench.  We felt that we were carrying more weight and we wanted to make sure we were not wasting a precious spot. Now, 11 teams may share the same feeling as the finalists for this year.

Make sure to stay tuned on the big day, which will take place on Thursday, June 1 at the Harper Center beginning at 8:30 a.m. CT. We will provide a live link and a Twitter takeover! 

I hope after reading the list below, you are as excited as I am…

Continue reading NVC Series: The Finalists are Here

NVC Series – Company Profile: Verdant Financial Services

Here at Booth, an interesting and special story is never a scarcity, especially after summer internships. But when I talked to Jesse Taylor, the founder of Verdant Financial Services and a good friend from the trenches of Commercializing Innovation, I was still very shocked by how special his summer internship was in an industry I had only heard about from news and movies—cannabis. This story is also a little bit special as it is about an entrepreneur who hustled into NVC when his proposal was originally denied—the only one of its kind. I have no doubt that his persistence and perseverance will be helpful moving the business forward in this new industry. Here’s Jesse’s story…

Continue reading NVC Series – Company Profile: Verdant Financial Services

NVC Series – Company Profile: ezza

When fellow classmate Jamie Rubinstein mentioned their nail salon business to me for the first time, I immediately related back to the painful three-hour wait when my wife would do her nails. I am always amazed by how great pain points like these are being discovered by the ladies in NVC. Last year, we had a similar team in our section who wanted to develop a quick and easy shaving product for women. Without these teams, there is ABSOLUTELY no way I could possibly get to know such problems as a man. So I am always grateful for the different perspectives brought by these talented, female entrepreneurs. Most importantly, it is not just about nails. Let’s hear about it…

Continue reading NVC Series – Company Profile: ezza

NVC Series: A Reflection on NVC from Coronado Conservation

In ten years time, I’m likely to forget about the teams who competed in NVC finals with us last year except for one—a team really changed my view about what diversity means at Booth and NVC, and taught me how passion can transform something from normal to extraordinary—a story about a toilet!

I knew Shane Durkin from the very beginning of Booth as we are in the same LEAD cohort and I saw him as a heroic figure—a Navy SEAL member. We discussed entrepreneurship and the trip to New Zealand he was planning back then. But what really surprised me was the business Shane brought to NVC and how great his final presentation was. Don’t be fooled when he casually mentioned his “ability to make the room laugh.” I made the room laugh, too, but I never got to take the second place and $70,000  back home. Their presentation was definitely my favorite among all finalists, including ours 🙂 Let’s hear about what he thinks about that journey now.

Continue reading NVC Series: A Reflection on NVC from Coronado Conservation