Among the contenders, I was particularly impressed by the following teams. (the winning team can be found here at UCAHP).
- Zebra - multi-media storage and bandwidth optimization
- PalMap - indoor map for shopping complex and convention centers
- BCBM - converting low-value coal into natural gas
- Clean Solar - Titanium dioxide solar power panel
- HealO - wound care chamber treatment
What I observed and learned was that two types of ventures have higher probability of succeeding, or surviving:
- Deep technology accumulation in solving a bottle-neck problem in an established market;
- Creative user experience, or business model, that acquires user base rapidly in a fast growing new market;
In both cases, business operation is as important as technology, in terms of sales channel establishment, average cost of per customer acquisition, and brand building. It all depends on the founding team, and a bit of luck.