Kevin Warnock

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Archive for April, 2012

2012 Berkeley Startup Competition Finals at University of California Berkeley

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Kate Garrett, co-founder of Calcula Technologies, Grand Prize winner of the 2012 Berkeley Startup Competition, April 26, 2012

Kate Garrett, co-founder of Calcula Technologies, Grand Prize winner of the 2012 Berkeley Startup Competition, April 26, 2012

On Thursday, April 26, 2012, I attended the Berkeley Startup Competition Final Awards Ceremony at the Anderson Auditorium on the campus of The Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley. Here is the PDF format file of the 2012 Berkeley Startup Competition Final Awards Ceremony program booklet that was handed out at the final awards ceremony.

There are many people mentioned in the booklet, like the Co-Chairs for the 2012 competition, Nick Nascioli, Adam Sterling and Tom VanLangen, as well as Lester Center Executive Director Andre Marquis and Haas School of Business Dean Richard Lyons.

Grand Prize winner Calcula Technologies at the Berkeley Startup Competition, April 26, 2012. Left to right: Nick Mascioli (co-chair of the Competition), Adam Sterling (co-chair of the Competition), Kate Garrett, Dan Azagury, David Gal, Buzz Bonneau, Tom VanLangen (co-chair of the Competition)

Grand Prize winner Calcula Technologies at the Berkeley Startup Competition, April 26, 2012. Left to right: Nick Mascioli (co-chair of the Competition), Adam Sterling (co-chair of the Competition), Kate Garrett, Dan Azagury, David Gal, Buzz Bonneau, Tom VanLangen (co-chair of the Competition)

I most recently wrote about the announcement of the finalists for this competition, which happened two days earlier, on April 24, 2012.

Calcula Technologies won the Grand Prize and the Life Sciences Track for their clever system that vacuums kidney stones out of a patient’s urethra in just ten seconds. According to the team’s presentation, doctors today let stones pass from the body naturally and often quite painfully unless they are larger than 10mm in diameter. Patients today are often in such agony that they visit the emergency room, which racks up hundreds of millions of dollars in charges per year. For the sub 10mm stones, doctors just write prescriptions for narcotic pain killers and send the patients home with the stones still on their excruciating slow path out.

In the future, when and if Calcula gets their system approved by regulators, patients could have a catheter inserted into their urethra and the stone could be sucked out in seconds, presumably at great relief to the patient. This work could be done at the office of a urologist, without surgery, and the Calcula team said there is already a prized and lucrative reimbursement code in existence in the insurance industry, so if they build this system, they will be able to get paid and make a profit. I can understand why Calcula Technologies won the grand prize. Kidney stones are no fun, I’ve heard, and this system seems very appealing. The team showed a video of a fake kidney stone being sucked out of a pig’s urethra in just 10 seconds. It was very impressive and very memorable.

First Place Energy and Cleantech winner Harbo Technologies at the Berkeley Startup Competition, April 26, 2012

First Place Energy and Cleantech winner Harbo Technologies at the Berkeley Startup Competition, April 26, 2012

Kloudless, Inc. won first place in the Information Technologies and Web Track. I am going to be interviewing Kloudless, so I’ll save my remarks for another blog post.

First place IT and Web Track winner Kloudless, Inc. at the Berkeley Startup Competition, April 26, 2012

First place IT and Web Track winner Kloudless, Inc. at the Berkeley Startup Competition, April 26, 2012

Like Calcula, Back to the Roots (2935 Adeline Street, Oakland California 94608 USA) won two awards. First, they won the Products and Services Track, and then, thanks to real time votes from the audience and viewers of a live stream on the Internet, they won the Peoples’ Choice Award.

I have written about Back to the Roots twice before.

I have one of their products at my house right now. It works.

Peoples' Choice winner Back to the Roots at the Berkeley Startup Competition, April 26, 2012

Peoples' Choice winner Back to the Roots at the Berkeley Startup Competition, April 26, 2012

Back to the Roots collects used coffee grounds from coffee houses like Peet’s Coffee and mixes it with a ‘secret sauce.’ The combination is boxed up and sold at over 1,000 stores in the United States, including at Home Depot and Whole Foods Market. A consumer buys the cardboard box and partly opens it, exposing the insides. The consumer then mists the contents of the box with water using an included spray bottle. After ten days of twice daily misting, the consumer harvests a bountiful crop of oyster mushrooms that have grown directly out of the side of the box. Once one side has been used up, the consumer opens the other side to repeat the growing cycle for a second harvest.

Elevator Pitch winner Nanoly at the Berkeley Startup Competition, April 26, 2012

Elevator Pitch winner Nanoly at the Berkeley Startup Competition, April 26, 2012

That story has been told thousands of times, including on the CBS Evening News, an influential national newscast in the United States.

During their public presentation, the Back to the Roots team disclosed future plans that I find fascinating. Since this event was public and was streamed live to the Internet, I feel that it’s OK to write about what I learned, as there were no statements that anything said was to be considered secret.

Haas School of Business Dean Richard Lyons speaks at the Berkeley Startup Competition Finals, April 26, 2012. Photograph by Bruce Cook.

Haas School of Business Dean Richard Lyons speaks at the Berkeley Startup Competition Finals, April 26, 2012. Photograph by Bruce Cook.

The box contents will soon include vegetable plant seeds, and the rest of the box and liner will be biodegradable. Currently, the box is lined with what looks like conventional plastic. My box is from November, 2011, so things today may be different. In the future, or perhaps even already, the box will be lined with either nothing or something else that’s biodegradable. Perhaps what looks like conventional plastic to me is really biodegradable plastic, like some plastic trash bags are made of.

Venture capitalist Michael Berolzheimer, of Bee Partners, attends the Berkeley Startup Competition, April 26, 2012. Berolzheimer also leads the Haas Founders group that I am a member of.

Venture capitalist Michael Berolzheimer, of Bee Partners, attends the Berkeley Startup Competition, April 26, 2012. Berolzheimer also leads the Haas Founders group that I am a member of.

Why do this?

Once the box is biodegradable and contains vegetable seeds, that means that after the two mushroom harvests the box can be planted in dirt for ’round three’ of production — vegetables. The mushrooms came from the waste stream from coffee houses. The round three vegetable garden will come from the waste stream of the mushroom garden.

This is beautiful.

Networking hour prior to the Berkeley Startup Competition Finals, April 26, 2012

Networking hour prior to the Berkeley Startup Competition Finals, April 26, 2012

What’s coming down the road from Back to the Roots?

I am overjoyed to report the answer may be affordable aquaponics kits.

Kevin Esse at networking hour prior to attending Berkeley Startup Competition Finals, April 26, 2012

Kevin Esse at networking hour prior to attending Berkeley Startup Competition Finals, April 26, 2012

I have written before about my love for aquaponics.

Aquaponics is food production gardening enhanced by growing edible fish in symbiosis with vegetable plants. Both parts of the system are made more productive by the presence of the other half. Fish poop gets converted by bacteria into rich fertilizer. The fish grow faster because the plants keep the fish tank cleaner. It’s a great growing system that I feel should take over the world on such a scale that every person has their own system at home.

I am too busy in life to advance this dream, but the team at Back to the Roots has time and energy and market traction, so I think they would be ideal to push aquaponics to a large audience. I am so excited about this that I have already offered to tell the company everything I know about aquaponics free of charge to encourage them to get this to market.

I suspect they plan to start with small, under USD $100 demonstration kits. This in my mind is the way to start.

Tom VanLangen, right, Co-Chair of the 2012 Berkeley Startup Competition, April 26, 2012

Tom VanLangen, right, Co-Chair of the 2012 Berkeley Startup Competition, April 26, 2012

I bought my startup supplies for my aquaponics system from The Aquaponics Source. This online retailer sells complete systems, but the price is too high for people to buy casually, at over USD $1,000. I believe a profitable sub $100 kit could be sold, as what’s required is similar to what’s inside a Mr. Coffee brand coffee maker — two water containers, a pump, a heater and some electronics to coordinate the steps. I can get a nice computerized Mr. Coffee coffee maker for about USD $25 from Amazon, so even in the smaller quantities a demonstration aquaponics system would sell in initially, I think it can be done.

Lucian Mihailescu of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory attends the Berkeley Startup Competition, April 26, 2012

Lucian Mihailescu of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory attends the Berkeley Startup Competition, April 26, 2012

I love advising startup companies, and I would particularly like to advise about aquaponics, even though I know relatively little about the subject, since I’ve only built one demonstration system so far. My system was a modest success for I grew the largest and sweetest tomatoes I have ever eaten.

Jake Gentling at the networking hour prior to attending the Berkeley Startup Competition Finals, April 26, 2012

Jake Gentling at the networking hour prior to attending the Berkeley Startup Competition Finals, April 26, 2012

HARBO Technologies won First Place in the Energy and Cleantech track. I introduced myself to co-founder Boaz Ur and mentor John Matthesen after the conclusion of the event. The company is working on something I find impressive and interesting. I have made arrangements to interview the team, so I will hold my remarks until after that interview.

Carlos Penzini of Viacom at the Berkeley Startup Competition, April 26, 2012

Carlos Penzini of Viacom at the Berkeley Startup Competition, April 26, 2012

My friends at Modify Industries took home a USD $1,000 prize for coming in second place in the Products and Services Track. This outcome was inevitable, and I predicted it accurately the moment I saw Modify was competing with Back to the Roots. Back to the Roots simply has had much more commercial success so far. While Modify has sold between 10,000 and 100,000 watches to such companies as Google and Hewlett Packard, they haven’t yet cracked the retail store market, and they haven’t been on the evening television news. It’s rare for a company to be so far along like Back to the Roots, but still be eligible to compete in the Berkeley Startup Competition. In all other years where there was a Products and Services Track, Modify probably would have won that track. I pay attention to these things because I was a judge for this competition for the eight years through 2011. This year I mentored the team University Gateway, which did not make it to the finals since Modify and Back to the Roots filled up the Products and Services Track.

Modify gave an impressive and bold presentation, where they outlined a dream for their enterprise far bigger than time pieces. They probably adjusted their pitch to compete with Back to the Roots. But they forgot to show their product in action amid all the grand dream spinning. How so? They forgot to personally show the audience how to change a watch element from one silicone strap to another. This is worth showing at every pitch for it’s compelling and like nothing I’ve seen in the watch business. No tools, no training — 10 seconds and you have an all new look.

Bruce Cook covering the Berkeley Startup Competition, April 26, 2012

Bruce Cook covering the Berkeley Startup Competition, April 26, 2012

Finally, I want to give some space to my friend and fellow photographer Bruce Cook. I’ve known Cook since nearly the inception of The Lester Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. He’s a fixture at all sizable Lester Center events. He has his own photography business, Bruce Cook Photography, and is not a University of California employee. I can’t recall there ever being a different photographer for a Lester Center event. The picture above is of Cook standing under the video light in Anderson Auditorium. The picture below is of Cook taking a picture during the networking hour in the Bank of America Forum, the large gathering area just outside of the Anderson Auditorium. Cook took the picture above of Dean Lyons speaking to the audience. Thank you Bruce!

If The Lester Center is reading this, may I suggest that you contact Cook and work out a deal where his vast library of photographs of Lester Center events over the last twenty years can find a permanent home on the Lester Center website and in the University library system. Cook has photographed some of the most important figures of our time, and the tremendous majority, over 99%, of his photographs have not been published. I think these photographs should also be published on Facebook so that it’s easy to crowd source the identification of the people in the pictures, via the Facebook tagging system. Once the faces are tagged, then the captions on the Lester Center website can be updated to reflect the identities of those pictured.

Why do this?

The Lester Center and its events are documenting history. It’s that simple. Bruce Cook has a treasure trove of historic pictures that few have ever seen.

As an added bonus, publishing and captioning Cook’s 100,000+ pictures will boost traffic to The Lester Center’s website, as people search on Google and similar sites for the many luminaries Cook has photographed. The search engine optimization benefits to posting these pictures will probably overshadow every other single project you could undertake.

This is my idea alone.

Cook did not plant this, suggest this or hint at this.

I’ve been thinking about this for years now, and here seems like a fine place to promote the idea.

I believe I have shared this suggestion with Jerry Engel when he was Executive Director of The Lester Center, but that was only in passing at a hectic Berkeley Entrepreneurs Forum, not a written proposal such as this one.

Please consider this official advice, and let me know when I can blog about the happy news. Thank you.

Bruce Cook, the photographer for The Lester Center events, covers the Berkeley Startup Competition, April 26, 2012

Bruce Cook, the photographer for The Lester Center events, covers the Berkeley Startup Competition, April 26, 2012

I introduced myself to all the finalist teams except AdrenaRX. I believe the members from that team departed before I had a chance to find them.

I offered each of the eight finalist teams except for Modify and Back to the Roots the opportunity to be interviewed by me for a future blog entry. Two of the teams have contacted me to schedule an interview. Four teams have not yet contacted me.

I know the Modify and Back to the Roots founders, so I did not offer to interview them. This was not meant as a snub — I simply forgot to offer in my excitement of congratulating them. Both teams are doing so well they don’t need my blog coverage, but if they would like more in depth stories, I am happy to meet with them. Just send me a message. I am on Facebook and easy to reach. I have turned on the ‘subscribe’ feature, so everyone reading this is invited to subscribe to me on Facebook. You may also sign up with your email address to receive updates to this blog, in the upper right corner of this page.

All the pictures I presented above except for the one by Bruce Cook are also on my Facebook page in this album. If you know these people, particularly the people in the shots with the giant checks, please tag them on Facebook so I can update the captions here with the names. All my pictures on Facebook are public, so if you tag someone there, I consider those names to be public, and on that basis I will update the captions here.

The sponsors for the 2012 Berkeley Startup Competition include:

Gold level:

Claremont Creek Ventures
DCM
UM

Silver level:

Javelin Venture Partners
Lowenstein Sandler
Mintz Levin
Mohr Davidow
Morgan Stanley
Morgenthaler Ventures
Morrison & Foerster LLP
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC

Individual level:

Kevin Warnock

There were possibly other individual sponsors. No individual level sponsors were listed in official materials this year, a departure from past years.

The  Executive Committee for the 2012 Berkeley Startup Competition:

Co-Chairs

Nick Mascioli
Adam Sterling
Tom VanLangen

Judging & Sponsorship

Robbie Allan
Jane Buescher
Vivien Leong
Larry Pier

Marketing & Events

Stephanie Knoch
Krishna Shah

Mentorship & Events

Amara Aigbedion
Hrishikesh Desai

Program Manager

Kirsten Berzon

The tricky way Allied Insurance hit me with late fees for paying early, and what should be done about it

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I have been a happy customer of Allied Insurance for years.

As of today, I am not happy, because I have learned they have been in essence stealing from me without my knowledge. Once I pointed this out to them, they refused to fix the issue. I plan to write to the CEO, but first, I am writing to you my readers.

I pay Allied Insurance using the reliable and free Bill Pay service from San Francisco Fire Credit Union. I instruct that the checks are to be mailed on the first of the month, as my due date is on the 10th of the month.

I live in San Francisco and the checks are mailed to a post office box in Los Angeles. That means the checks should arrive at Allied on the 3rd or 4th of the month. My April 2012 check was printed and presumably mailed on Saturday March 31, 2012. It should have arrived in Los Angeles on Tuesday, April 3rd, 7 days before the payment was due. But Allied did not cash the check until April 19, 2012. They put a USD $10.00 reinstatement charge on my bill.

Amy H. in customer support waived this fee, and I thank her for that. She recommended I reference my account number rather than my policy number on my checks. She said it can slow down check cashing by one day if you reference the policy number only. My concern is that 20 days elapsed between check mailing and check cashing. Ms. H. could not explain why my checks have been routinely held past the due date. It turns out this has happened on an unknown number of past occasions. I have seen these late charges on past bills, but I didn’t study what was happening other than verifying my checks went out 10 days before the due date. I should have been more inquisitive, I acknowledge.

But now that I have gotten to the bottom of the story, I believe the only acceptable resolution is for Allied to refund the late fees it collected from me on every occasion it was in possession of my check before the due date. I don’t know how many times this has happened, as Ms. H. did not tell me, even though I asked her to. She said she can only refund one late fee per 12 month period. I patiently and repeatedly reminded her I paid early each month and had irrefutable proof since my credit union scans the front and back of all cashed checks. I offered to send her all the checks for her to review. She did not take me up on the offer. She flat out refused to make an adjustment, even when I made it clear I considered Allied’s behavior to be exceptionally improper.

Recognizing I would get no further with Ms. H., I asked for the name and address of the CEO. She refused and instead provided me with the address to The Office of Customer Advocacy, at 3 Nationwide Plaza, Columbus, OH 43215. I told her that was not what I asked for. I asked her if she was refusing to give me the name of the CEO, and she said she was refusing. I asked Ms. H. for her name, and she told me her first and last name. I asked if there is an identification or reference number that she could provide me for her that would mask her identity, and she said there is not. So I omitted all but the first initial of her last name on this post, because my concern is not with Ms. H., but with the policies of her employer, which I explained to her several times. Ms. H. was pleasant throughout the conversation. Her statement that Allied would keep the money it took from me for paying early is what I have a big problem with.

I predict that I will receive a credit for all the past occurrences, but that it will take months for me to get it.

I advised Ms. H. that if a check is held for account number lookup that once the account number is found that the check should be credited as of the day it was received, not the day the account number was found. My name and correct address were on the checks, as were all the digits of my policy number. Ms. H. said I should have included the bill stub with my check. I explained that millions of people use bill payment services from the financial institutions, and that there is no way to include the bill stub as the check is printed and mailed automatically each month.

Allied needs to update its procedures, as I am certain I am not the only one being hit with improper late fees caused by Allied holding checks for days or weeks. I spoke with Ms. H. at about 8:30pm the evening of April 25, 2012.

Written by Kevin Warnock

April 25th, 2012 at 10:37 pm

Posted in Protest

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Berkeley Startup Competition finalists, including Back to the Roots and Modify, are announced

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Sean Linehan, Aaron Schwartz and Ayo Oluwole of Modify, April 24, 2012. Modify is a finalist in the 2012 Berkeley Startup Competition.HARBO Technologies

Sean Linehan, Aaron Schwartz and Ayo Oluwole of Modify, April 24, 2012. Modify is a finalist in the 2012 Berkeley Startup Competition.

Last  night, on April 24, 2012, I attended a reception at the University of California Berkeley Clark Kerr Campus. The reception was held to announce the finalists for the 2012 Berkeley Startup Competition. This event used to be called the Berkeley Business Plan Competition. I competed in the finals of this competition in its inaugural year, and have sponsored the competition every year since, including in 2012.

Dorian Walder and Julian Riediger of University Gateway, April 24, 2012. Kevin Warnock mentored this team this year.

Dorian Walder and Julian Riediger of University Gateway, April 24, 2012. Kevin Warnock mentored this team this year.

This year I was a mentor to semi-finalist team University Gateway, lead by Dorian Walden. I got to know Walden over four meetings, some of them stretching to 3 hours around my dining room table. Sadly, University Gateway did not progress to the finals, but it was easy for Walden to understand why.

Zachary Apte of EvolveMol, April 24, 2012. Apte is at the Berkeley Startup Competition finalists announcement reception.

Zachary Apte of EvolveMol, April 24, 2012. Apte is at the Berkeley Startup Competition finalists announcement reception.

Two teams I know personally were in the same judging category as University Gateway — Products and Services. University Gateway is an Internet company, but the track for Internet companies apparently was filled up already. This meant University Gateway was competing with companies that make and sell physical goods.

Scott Ahn of J2P International, April 24 2012. Ahn is at the Berkeley Startup Competition finalists announcement reception.

Scott Ahn of J2P International, April 24 2012. Ahn is at the Berkeley Startup Competition finalists announcement reception.

The teams I know that competed in the Products and Services track both were advanced to the finals. I was 99.9% confident that this would be the result, even though I knew nothing about the other competing teams. I was so confident because the teams I know are so strong, and I have been a judge for this competition for the past 8 years or so. I know from experience that teams this strong always make it to the finals.

Les Polgar of CalSolAgua, April 24, 2012. Polgar is at the Berkeley Startup Competition finalists announcement reception.

Les Polgar of CalSolAgua, April 24, 2012. Polgar is at the Berkeley Startup Competition finalists announcement reception.

I also know that teams this strong are very rare, so it was unlikely that the Products and Services track had any other teams so strong. I have never gone home from judging thinking that a third team from my judging track should have gone on to the finals.

Larry Pier of Berkeley Startup Competition, April 24 2012. Pier is at the Berkeley Startup Competition finalists announcement reception.

Larry Pier of Berkeley Startup Competition, April 24 2012. Pier is at the Berkeley Startup Competition finalists announcement reception.

University Gateway has a good idea, and I hope that Dorian Walder and Julian Riediger make their venture a success. The company is still in stealth mode, so I won’t tell you what they do yet.

The Products and Services teams that advanced to the finals are Modify and Back to the Roots. Both are unusual companies for this Berkeley competition.

Kelly Karns at Berkeley Startup Competition finalists announcement, April 24, 2012.

Kelly Karns at Berkeley Startup Competition finalists announcement, April 24, 2012.

Modify makes wrist watches that you can change easily to suit your tastes. The straps are made from silicone, similar to what silicone bake ware is made from. One can pop the time piece out of the strap/case in just a second, with no tools or special skills required. The straps are available in bright colors, and I describe them as chunky chic. The team from Modify are each wearing a Modfiy watch in the photograph I took at the top of this post. I am friends with Modify founder Aaron Schwartz. We see each other most months at the Haas Founders group I wrote about March 11, 2012.

Schwartz is a likeable and modest guy — only when researching this blog post did I discover he’s been profiled in a blog published by The New York Times newspaper. The New York Times is worth tens of millions of dollars less than photo sharing smart phone application Instagram, but I’d much prefer to be written about in a blog by The New York Times than in a blog by Instagram.

John Steuart of Claremont Creek Ventures, April 24, 2012. Steuart is a judge for the Berkeley Startup Competition.

John Steuart of Claremont Creek Ventures, April 24, 2012. Steuart is a judge for the Berkeley Startup Competition.

Back to the Roots makes and sells affordable oyster mushroom growing kits. I’ve written about Back to the Roots when I saw their CEO Nikhil Arora speak on a panel at a Food Startups Meetup run by my friend Matthew Wise, the co-founder of both Founderly and Tableslice. Back to the Roots has 20 full time employees, or so I was told when I interviewed a staff member at their booth at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show on March 24, 2012.

Back to the Roots has received lots of press coverage, including two minutes and forty seconds on the national CBS Evening News  in the United States on March 15, 2012. The newscast says that Back to the Roots sells its products in over 1,000 stores and has 28 employees. Impressive.

John Servaites of S2E Energy, April 24, 2012.

John Servaites of S2E Energy, April 24, 2012.

Both Modify and Back to the Roots have businesses that are well along. Modify has sold _____ of thousands of watches to companies as well known as _____ and _____. [I'm waiting to hear from Schwartz to fill in the blanks in the last sentence. I know the values, but I want to verify the numbers and names I know are meant to be public information.] Back to the Roots sells its kits at Whole Foods Market and Home Depot. While Modfiy and Back to the Roots are still startups, they are making big strides and are companies to watch.

Erik Krogh-Jespersen of Aurinko, April 24, 2012.

Erik Krogh-Jespersen of Aurinko, April 24, 2012.

The reception was well attended and busy. I got to talk with my fellow judges from past years of this competition. I captured video. I took hundreds of pictures. I didn’t eat until the event was technically over. What I didn’t get to do, sadly, was interview the finalist teams that I didn’t know. If they are reading this and would like to be the subject of a future blog post, I invite them to contact me. I’ll meet you for coffee and you can give me your pitch and I’ll write about your venture.

Anthony Franco of Better Cater, April 24, 2012.

Anthony Franco of Better Cater, April 24, 2012.

Here is a list of the 2012 finalists for the Berkeley Startup Competition. The descriptive text that follows was provided by the teams themselves.

  • Kloudless, Inc.

Kloudless is a free service that helps you manage all the things you put in the cloud. We enable users to search for, access, and manage their information that is spread across the Internet. We’re starting with email attachments, the black hole of cloud services, and will expand to other cloud services in the near future. Our solution addresses an increasingly large problem as more and more information moves into the cloud.

  • Traverie

Traverie is an explorer focused startup that leverages the emotional, personal and inherently social aspects of travel discovery to make the process visual, fun and trustworthy. We bring structure to the current ad hoc and offline model of discovering and selecting destinations. We blend user-generated content, professional content and advertising to deliver a compelling user experience. Our founding team comprises a designer, engineer and product manager from MIT, Harvard and Berkeley-Haas, respectively.

  • AdrenaRx

AdrenaRx is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the prevention and treatment of heart failure due to toxicity from cancer chemotherapy. Each year, 1.6 million Americans are affected by cancer, and a third of these patients receive chemotherapy that can damage their heart. AdrenaRx has identified a new therapeutic target and a potent, selective drug that can protect the heart from damage by chemotherapy, and reduce a patient’s risk of developing heart failure after surviving cancer.

  • Calcula Technologies

Calcula Technologies is developing a novel urological medical device for the removal of kidney stones outside of the operating room. Our patent pending technology will treat 4M patients/year in the US and EU. With clear FDA predicates and existing CPT reimbursement codes Calcula will be a major disruption in the field of Urology.

  • Claro Energy

Claro Energy provides solar-powered water pumping solutions to meet irrigation needs of farmers in remote power-deficit agriculture areas in India where costly diesel generated power is the default choice. Claro Energy’s solar-powered pumps have near zero operating costs, are longer lasting and highly reliable when compared to dieselpowered pumps. In combination with sales, marketing and business development competencies, Claro Energy has also developed in-house integration and implementation expertise in remote rural regions of India.

  • HARBO Technologies

During the first critical hours, oil-spills spread, split, and create escalating irreversible damage. HARBO develops the only emergency oil-spill containment solution for immediate response. HARBO’s Zero Time to Spill system is at standby position on-board oil-tankers/rigs and other ships and deploys a boom (floating barrier) within minutes to contain spills. HARBO’s advantage: Minimizing environmental damage, avoiding large containment/cleanup expenses, offering superb costefficiency and preventing a PR nightmare. “Containing oil-spills when they’re small, preventing big disasters.”

  • Back to the Roots

Back to the Roots, started by two Haas Business School undergrads, promotes sustainability and zero-waste, while reconnecting people to food through its grow-at-home mushroom kit. Our gourmet mushroom kits are made with 100% recycled coffee grounds, and produce 2 pounds of fresh oyster mushrooms in just 10 days! People of all ages can actually grow and eat their own mushrooms all at home, a unique experience in today’s urban lifestyle.

  • Modify

Modify is a brand built on freedom of expression. Customizable for individual style, Modify’s interchangeable watches offer dope design for anyday wear. Available in two different sizes and over 250 combinations, Modify is a brand made for anyone—anytime, anyplace. A proponent of exceptional personalized service, we engage organizations and fans to help create (and name!) watches. Modify Watches are available for corporate gifting and licensing.

Berkeley Startup Competition finalists announced, April 24, 2012.

Berkeley Startup Competition finalists announced, April 24, 2012.

Nikhil Arora, the CEO of Back to the Roots. This was taken by Kevin Warnock on November 16, 2011, not at the Berkeley Startup Competition event.

Nikhil Arora, the CEO of Back to the Roots. This was taken by Kevin Warnock on November 16, 2011, not at the Berkeley Startup Competition event.

Here’s the handheld video I captured of the finalist teams learning of their advancement and collecting their certificates documenting their achievements. Andre Marquis, the Executive Director of The Lester Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, delivers the opening remarks. John Steuart, Managing Director at Claremont Creek Ventures, comments on the judging process. Steuart’s firm is a financial sponsor of the competition, and Steuart is one of the judges.

—–

Anthony Franco of Better Cater, pictured above, contacted me and asked me to link to his startup’s website. Sorry for the delay in creating the link — I just saw your Facebook message from April 25th a few minutes ago. Kevin — May 3, 2012 @ 12:47am.

KevinWarnock.com breaks into the top million websites in the world, per Alexa.com

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Alexa.com rank for KevinWarnock.com, as of April 18 2012

Alexa.com rank for KevinWarnock.com, as of April 18 2012

Today is an exciting day for this blog. For the first time, this blog, KevinWarnock.com, is among the most popular million websites in the world. I achieved this by posting just 312 blog posts.

KevinWarnock.com site statistics from inception in November 2009 through March 2012

KevinWarnock.com site statistics from inception in November 2009 through March 2012

I started blogging in November 2009. I present my WordPress site statistics visitor graph above. There is an initial surge in traffic until March 2010. That traffic is due to my framing my blog temporarily on another website that had more traffic, so that part of the graph is misleading. You should only pay attention to the graph from March, 2010 onward. I did almost no blogging until January, 2011. Once I started writing more regularly, the traffic went up quickly, particularly in the last few months. This blog had 14,383 views in March, 2012.

The Alexa ranking for KevinWarnock today is at 971,695. Interestingly, the United States only rank is not shown. Instead the rank in Mexico is shown. I almost can’t believe it, but this blog is ranked at 24,550 in Mexico.

According to Alexa, there are 63 websites that link to this blog.

I enjoy writing and taking positions on issues that I care about.

Thank you for reading.

Written by Kevin Warnock

April 18th, 2012 at 3:55 pm

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AT&T’s iPhone data billing is irritating

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I love my Apple iPhone.

I have an 850 Anytime minute plan, which is just about right. I have the basic 200MB data plan, which is also just about right. I’ve gone over on the data plan just once, and I’m very careful to not go over, which doubles the cost for data that month.

On March 26, 2012 at 7:04am I received a text message from AT&T saying I had used 90% of my data plan for the month, which is the calendar month for my account. That meant I needed to consume less than 20 megabytes in the next five days. I was careful to limit my usage, staying on WiFi as much as possible and not checking my email in line at the grocery store, for example.

Thus I was upset when my bill arrived and it showed I had used 201 megabytes of data in March. That extra one megabyte cost me USD $15.00. I called to complain. I reviewed my data usage online during the support call with Brandon Hillhouse. I added up all the data I used on March 26-31, 2012, starting at 12:01am on March 26th. The total came to 17,970 KB or 17.548 MB. So I did not go over the 20MB that AT&T’s own text message said I had left as of March 26th.

Hillhouse told me that iPhone applications started on 3G stay on 3G even if you roam into WiFi coverage. He said the only way to force using WiFi is to shut down all apps explicitly via a menu I can not find on my phone. I have never heard of this, so I asked him if he was certain. He said he was. I then told him I was a journalist and planned to write about this and name him, so I wanted to be certain he was certain. He said he was certain, and he further said he deals with this issue on a daily basis. I advised him to write good notes on my account so that if he’s approached by his boss later he will remember our call well. He said he would write good notes.

I am wildly skeptical that Hillhouse has his information correct. I just don’t believe it. What’s the point of roaming into a WiFi area if you have to shut down everything to take advantage of the ‘free’ data on WiFi?

However, if Hillhouse is correct, this is news I think many people don’t know, which is why I am writing about it here. Let’s get a discussion going in the comments about this.

Hillhouse removed the USD $15.00 charge for going over. Thank you, I think. I told him charging me for an extra megabyte when their own bill shows 17.548 MB used after the text message looks like fraud to me. What’s probably happening is that text message was slightly incorrect, and probably should have not said 90% but the exact, precise value to several decimal points. According to the bill, I used 200.1924 megabytes in March. How nice for AT&T to round up rather than to the nearest megabyte. AT&T should send out accurate text messages that state exactly how much data remains. I suspect their messages are rounded to the nearest 10%, which caused this problem for me, because they probably rounded down. My long call with Hillhouse today must have cost AT&T at least USD $30 — a big waste.

I know I can buy 3 gigs of data for the price of 400 megs of data if I go over on my 200 meg plan. But I don’t want or need 3 gigs of data, and the data networks are already overtaxed, so I feel my frugality is bandwidth conservation, not cheapness. Also, I have a Verizon MiFi WiFi hotspot with 5 gigs of data per month, which I can use if I need to really consume a lot of data on the road from my iPhone. I justified getting that device and accompanying bill by cutting out my unlimited IPhone data plan that I had since I bought the original iPhone on launch day July 7, 2007.

Here’s my actual billing detail from the last charge on March 25, 2012, the day before the AT&T 90% consumed email. You can add up the numbers in the 6th column and learn that I did not use more than 20 megabytes of data during the rest of the month of March. But you can see in the 7th column on March 31, 2012 where AT&T decided to charge me USD $15.00 for going over 200 megabytes for the month.

177 03/25/2012 09:46PM phone Data Transfer 1,757 KB 0.00
178 03/26/2012 09:58AM phone Data Transfer 29 KB 0.00
179 03/26/2012 10:43AM phone Data Transfer 39 KB 0.00
180 03/26/2012 12:20PM phone Data Transfer 48 KB 0.00
181 03/26/2012 02:35PM phone Data Transfer 35 KB 0.00
182 03/26/2012 03:20PM phone Data Transfer 328 KB 0.00
183 03/26/2012 07:45PM phone Data Transfer 16 KB 0.00
184 03/26/2012 08:10PM phone Data Transfer 7 KB 0.00
185 03/26/2012 08:19PM phone Data Transfer 44 KB 0.00
186 03/26/2012 09:19PM phone Data Transfer 236 KB 0.00
187 03/27/2012 10:13AM phone Data Transfer 1 KB 0.00
188 03/27/2012 10:13AM phone Data Transfer 1 KB 0.00
189 03/27/2012 10:25AM phone Data Transfer 67 KB 0.00
190 03/27/2012 01:14PM phone Data Transfer 418 KB 0.00
191 03/27/2012 09:17PM phone Data Transfer 21 KB 0.00
192 03/27/2012 10:22PM phone Data Transfer 3,791 KB 0.00
193 03/28/2012 04:15PM phone Data Transfer 5 KB 0.00
194 03/28/2012 04:25PM phone Data Transfer 14 KB 0.00
195 03/28/2012 05:08PM phone Data Transfer 90 KB 0.00
196 03/28/2012 09:08PM phone Data Transfer 911 KB 0.00
197 03/29/2012 03:46PM phone Data Transfer 7 KB 0.00
198 03/29/2012 03:58PM phone Data Transfer 184 KB 0.00
199 03/29/2012 09:38PM phone Data Transfer 1,148 KB 0.00
200 03/30/2012 01:26PM phone Data Transfer 7 KB 0.00
201 03/30/2012 01:51PM phone Data Transfer 32 KB 0.00
202 03/30/2012 03:37PM phone Data Transfer 8 KB 0.00
203 03/30/2012 04:24PM phone Data Transfer 296 KB 0.00
204 03/30/2012 09:43PM phone Data Transfer 2 KB 0.00
205 03/31/2012 01:27AM phone Data Transfer 10,088 KB 15.00
206 03/31/2012 07:32PM phone Data Transfer 97 KB 0.00

 

Written by Kevin Warnock

April 6th, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Posted in Protest,Technology

Tagged with ,