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Fall 2010

What's Inside

TI:GER Goes Abroad

MBAs Work with Atlanta Technology Angels

TI:GER Team Succeeds in Business Plan Competition

TI:GER Welcomes Mark Buffington

TI:GER Alums Give High Marks
to the Program

Pitch-Off Competition
with UGA

Alumni News

Accelerated Company News

Upcoming Events

Click here to see student interviews

Contact TI:GER Faculty and Staff

Marie Thursby
Founder and Executive Director

Margi Berbari
Director, Georgia Tech

Anne Rector
Director, Emory University Law School

Jenn Jacobs
Program Coordinator, Georgia Tech

Edna Patterson
Program Coordinator, Emory University Law School

Click here to see student interviews

Contact TI:GER Faculty and Staff

Marie Thursby
Founder and Executive Director

Margi Berbari
Director, Georgia Tech

Anne Rector
Director, Emory University Law School

Jenn Jacobs
Program Coordinator, Georgia Tech

Edna Patterson
Program Coordinator, Emory University Law School

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TI:GER Program Awarded Grant for Collaboration with German University

a The TI:GER® Program recently won a grant from Georgia Tech's Fund for Innovation in Research and Innovation (GT FIRE) for an international technology commercialization project, to be conducted in collaboration with Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) of Munich, Germany.

As part of the international project, select TI:GER students will travel to Munich to gain first-hand experience working with foreign teams on projects for startup entities from LMU's Entrepreneurship Center lab incubator. "This global dimension is transformative and vital to the competitiveness of our graduates," says Professsor Marie Thursby, TI:GER's founder and executive director, who was responsible for obtaining this grant.

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TI:GER MBAs Work with Atlanta Technology Angels

image Two TI:GER MBAs, Keith Jemo and Brandon Miller are assisting the Atlanta Technology Angels as their special topics projects this semester. The students get a hands-on experience of the full angel funding cycle beginning with the screening committee meeting through deal closing. Many thanks to Mike Eckert, ATA Executive Chairman, who is managing this process and mentoring the students.


TI:GER Teams Succeed in Business Plan Competition

i A first year TI:GER team, SpherIngenics, won $2,000 in Georgia Tech's Business Plan Competition for their encapsulated cell therapy technology to deliver stem cells more precisely and effectively.

The team consists of Chris Lee (PhD), Eric Diersen (MBA), Chris Pallazola (MBA), Natalie Dana (JD), andBrian Stewart (JD).

TI:GER Teams EthoSense and PharmEvolve progressed to the semifinals and EthoSense received the Alumni Innovation Award with a prize of $500.

Congrats also to Secure InfoShare for gaining entry to the exceptionally competitive Rice Business Plan Competition in Houston this spring.

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TI:GER Welcomes Mark Buffington

im Mark Buffington, co-founder of Buckhead Investment Partners and a Georgia Tech alum, graciously volunteered his time this semester to develop and teach the valuation module in the first year TI:GER curriculum.

Mark's financial background and investment experience adds a real world perspective to our curriculum.

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TI:GER Teams Compete with UGA at Second Pitch-off

i Although TI:GER nearly swept the preliminary round with three out of the four pitchers advancing in the Final Four, we graciously accepted defeat from the Dawgs who scored first place.

Congrats to finalist Jesse Sandlin (JD 2011) who pitched for Akrobionics' cycling foot for amputees, Ryan Stewart (MBA 2011) who pitched for EthoSense's sensor technology for municipal water plants, and Alan White(JD 2011) who pitched for PharmEvolve's new therapeutic drug for treating gout.

The pitch-off is modeled on the Startup Riot's "fast pitch", three minute, three slide format. Startuplounge founders Mike Blake and Scott Burkett prepared the teams with a Pitch Camp earlier in the semester. Cash prizes were donated by Startuplounge and Jerry Recht, a local private investor.

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Thank you alums!! Alumni Survey boasts 82% response rate

TI:GER alums reported:

  • 67% say the TI:GER experience had a moderate or major impact on their career
  • 19% are currently working in a startup or their own firm; 63% report that they are likely to do so when the timing is right.
  • Nearly 1/3 reported that TI:GER was instrumental in getting their first job and 35% reported that it was instrumental in getting the type of job they wanted; 39% say it was instrumental in activity/role assigned.

Chris Gemmiti (PhD 2006), Director of the Oral Regeneration business unit at Organogenesis, recently submitted the company's first Biologics Licensing Application (BLA) to the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) branch of the FDA.

When approved, this product, CelTx, will be the first allogeneic cell-based therapeutic since 2001. CelTx aims to regenerate soft tissue of the mouth for patients who would otherwise undergo painful grafting surgeries.


Gavon Renfroe (JD 2007) In addition to his new position as Corporate Counsel and I.T. Manager for E.A. Renfroe & Company, Gavon has started a tech incubator, Renfroe Innovation, LLC. Keep on the lookout for his commercialization of some exciting innovative technologies this year.

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AlpZhi Adds Georgia Research Alliance Funding & New Personnel

im AlpZhi is moving ahead very well! In addition to its Phase I SBIR acquired last fall, they have received an additional $25,000 Phase 1-B grant from Georgia Research Alliance to help explore advanced market opportunities and fine tune its business plan.

AlpZhi has added an interim-CEO, Mr. Glenn Hitchcock and Dr. Robert E. Schwerzel as the senior R&D scientist. Both have more than 35 years of expertise in their field.

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AccelerEyes Expands Product Offerings

im This year, AccelerEyes is expanding its core offering to reach new customers beyond the MATLAB market. The company is now profitable with its MATLAB business and is looking to new offerings to provide more growth.

AccelerEyes has raised well over $600,000 in SBIR grants, friends and family money and funds from angel investors, including the renowned Sig Mosley, a member of the TI:GER advisory board.

John Melonakos, the company CEO, was a PhD student in the TI:GER program and graduated in 2008. His team won 1st place in the Business Plan Competition in 2008, and he moved on to win $100,000 by taking 1st place in the 2009 Business Launch Competition sponsored by TAG and GRA.

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TI:GER Industry Advisory Board Meeting April 12 -13

TI:GER advisors will once again come together to review the first year teams' commercialization plans. The board is composed of entrepreneurs, investors, attorneys, as well as individuals from larger corporations, such as Dow Chemical.

Advisory Board List >>


TI:GER Suite Open House Is April 13

Current students and the advisory board members will gather for an open house to acknowledge the generous donation from Chris Demetree, a TI:GER board member and Georgia Tech Alum that was used to equip the lab with comfortable furniture for team brainstorming and long work sessions.

Congratulations to Our Graduating TI:GER MBAs and JDs!

Georgia Tech MBAs - May 8
Emory JDs – May 9