News Release

DFJ and Cisco Announce 16 Finalists in Global Business Plan Competition

Finalists Hail From 15 Universities in Six Countries; Cisco TelePresenceTM Will Enable Competition
Jun 24, 2009

SAN JOSE, Calif., June 24, 2009 – Leading early-stage venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) and Cisco today announced the 16 finalists in their first co-sponsored Global Business Plan Competition for university and business school students. The finalists, whose business plans address a diverse group of issues from efficient and affordable web-scale computing to early cancer detection, will be competing from their respective geographic areas via Cisco TelePresenceTM on June 30, 2009. The winning team will receive a minimum seed investment of $250,000.

"Clearly global innovation doesn't stop for recessions," said Tim Draper, managing director, DFJ.  "These promising candidates are reminding us that there are pioneering companies out there, even in difficult times, and we hope that one of these teams creates the next Skype, Google, Facebook, Baidu or Cisco.  This competition fosters a culture of entrepreneurship that has a lasting impact, and its benefits are felt not just by the winning team but by all participants.  We look forward to continuing meaningful ties with all of these young entrepreneurs in the future."

The plans of the 16 finalists, many of which have already won local university competitions, were selected from thousands of eligible business plans in nine countries across the globe.  The selection was based on various criteria including quality of management team, technical innovation, addressable market size, competitive positioning, barriers, capital efficiency, and financial projections.  The majority of the finalists are still in the early stages of business development.  In addition to the financial investment awarded to the winner, both DFJ and Cisco will assist the winner and finalists in leading the next wave of disruptive technologies by providing mentorship and professional assessments regarding their submissions.

"Cisco has always supported and nurtured entrepreneurial vision, in good times as well as in difficult times, and we're excited to help evaluate the dynamic technologies and business plans put forth by these talented finalists," said Hilton Romanski, vice president of corporate development for Cisco. "The global reach of this competition emphasizes the reality that connecting great ideas and the people who have them is no longer constrained by geographic boundaries. These 16 finalists will travel to a single boardroom in Silicon Valley without a single one of them having to physically leave their home country. This is the power of Cisco TelePresence."

The competition will use Cisco TelePresence to allow the finalists to present their business plans to a San Jose-based panel of seasoned investors from DFJ, its Global Network of Funds and Cisco.  Cisco TelePresence enables collaboration through a live, face-to-face network communications experience where participants feel as though they are sitting in the same room even though they may be located thousands of miles apart. 

Competitors and the media will be invited to view the competition via simulcast beginning at 8 a.m. PDT on June 30, and the winner will be announced at 6:30 p.m. PDT the same day. 

Please contact Kristin Carvell at Cisco if you are a member of the media interested in attending the competition or viewing it via a live webcast.

Finalists hail from 15 different schools in six countries.  The complete list is as follows:

Name of Company

Company Location


Business Plan Summary 

The finalist's business plan is based on technology that provides:

80 Legs


Rice University

A grid computing system for running applications that need to analyze massive amounts of web content quickly and affordably.



University of Michigan

Power-efficient, acoustic processors that improve speech perception for hearing aids.

Biological Dynamics


UC San Diego

Point-of-care multi-cancer screening tool that detects early cancer biomarker directly from whole blood.



Cornell University

A paperless receipt solution that enables consumers to manage receipts online and provides product-level market data to consumer product companies.



Stanford University

Innovative drip irrigation systems that can be manufactured and profitably distributed to small farmers in developing countries.

Five Minutes


University of Southern California

Innovative online social games including Happy Farm, the number one social game in China.

Husk Power Systems


University of Virginia, Darden School of Business

Miniature power-plants that cost-effectively convert rice husks into electricity, serving off-grid rural Indian villages.

iCore Software


Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

OS-level virtualization software enabling multiple secure high-performance virtual machines on a Microsoft Windows desktop.



LBS College of Engineering

An SMS text messaging interface for trivia and other information for 300 million Indian cell phone subscribers.

Mengtian Biotech


Fudan University

A fast-acting, low-cost and environmentally-friendly process for treating papermaking wastewater.



University of Chicago, Booth School of Business

An online marketplace for the sale or exchange of unwanted gift cards. 



Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

An advanced smart-home technology platform to monitor and interact with appliances and the electric grid for the efficient use of energy in the home.



Stanford University

Assistance for enterprise users to manage the growing volume of e-mail and to seamlessly embrace new messaging media.

Trauma Solutions


University of Maryland

The first and only synthetic hemostatic material capable of simultaneously inducing blood clotting and delivering therapeutics.



Tel-Aviv University

A mobile thin client and server platform for migrating any software application to any smartphone, regardless of operating system and handset type.

ZeroWatt Technologies


UC Irvine

A significant reduction in the power consumption of analog-to-digital converters, a key component of essential devices such as cell phones, laptops and biomedical implants. 

About Draper Fisher Jurvetson

Draper Fisher Jurvetson ("DFJ") backs extraordinary entrepreneurs everywhere who set out to change the world. DFJ achieves its mission through its DFJ Global Network of Partner Funds. Together, DFJ and the Network manage over $6B and have made more than 600 investments on four continents.  With a 24-year history of success across diverse sectors and market conditions, DFJ has led the way investing in emerging technologies, from the Internet and life sciences to clean energy and nanotechnology.  DFJ has been proud to back over 500 companies across many sectors including such industry changing successes such as Hotmail (acquired by MSFT), Baidu (BIDU), Skype (acquired by EBAY), United Online (UNTD), Overture (acquired by YHOO), Athenahealth (ATHN), EnerNOC (ENOC), TicketsNow (acquired by TicketMaster), Feedburner (acquired by Google), Interwoven (IWOV), Four11 (acquired by YHOO), Parametric (PMTC), and Digidesign (acquired by AVID).  The DFJ Network includes DFJ, DFJ Athena, DFJ Dragon, DFJ Esprit, DFJ FIR, DFJ Frontier, DFJ Gotham, DFJ Growth, DFJ InCube, DFJ Mercury, DFJ Portage, DFJ Tamir Fishman, Draper Triangle, DFJ Vina, DFJ-VTB Aurora, Element Partners, and Epic Ventures.  For more information, please go to