WUSTL Alumni: Entrepreneurs Get a “Bounce” in San Francisco

Have you ever had an entrepreneurial idea but were not quite sure how to develop it? About a dozen alumni had the opportunity last September to pitch their ideas to a panel of distinguished judges during an IdeaBounce event in San Francisco.

IdeaBounce, the flagship program of the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at

At an IdeaBounce event held in San Francisco, alumni had two minutes to present their business ideas — without notes — to a panel of judges, who were also mainly alumni. IdeaBounce is the flagship program of the Skandalaris Center for­ Entrepreneurial Studies at Washington University. (Courtesy photo)

Washington University, creates a collaborative learning environment for presenters to discuss their ideas and network. At the San Francisco event, alumni had two minutes to present their ideas — without notes. They were judged based on the clarity of their presentation, their passion and request for help. The winners enjoyed a private dinner with the judges after the event.

Cong “Lucy” Li, PhD Class of ’13, represented the winning Human Canvas team, which also included Nicholas Jenkins, BS ’11, and Pei “Sabrina” Xu, a student at the medical school. Human Canvas is a product that uses fine needles to inject dye on the skin, creating pain-free tattoos that fade in a few months.

Li says, “We came away from the event with some good advice and valuable contacts, including venture capitalists. After the event, people came up to us with opportunities to collaborate. Some even offered to be human subjects for our experiments. IdeaBounce is great for networking and reaching out to other entrepreneurs.”

Rodney Ferguson, MD, parent of Nicole, who is a member of the Arts & Sciences Class of ’13, served as a judge. As an accomplished venture capitalist, he has judged similar competitions over the years.

“I really like mentoring people, and I’ve done it throughout my career,” Ferguson says. “I think IdeaBounce is an outstanding structure to foster entrepreneurship. It is not only rewarding for the presenters, but also for the judges. What’s not to like about spending time with bright and enthusiastic young people?”

For more information on club events in your region, check out the Events Calendar at alumni.wustl.edu/events.

Mark Pydynowski (third from left), BSBA ’04, who moderated the ­IdeaBounce in San Francisco, is joined by some of the judges: (from left) Rodney Ferguson, parent; Laura Draxler, BS ’84; Wendell Jones II, MBA ’78; Andrew Rubin, BSBA ’98; and Steven Goldberg, BS ’75, MS ’80. (Andy Kuno)
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