Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center Named Outstanding Research Park

The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center was selected as the 2010 Outstanding Research Park by the Association of University Research Parks (AURP).  The Outstanding Research/Science Park Achievement Award recognizes parks that excel in bringing technology from the laboratory to economically viable business activities, thus promoting the growth of businesses, jobs and public revenue.

The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center (VTCRC), is the home of business acceleration center VT KnowledgeWorks of which Handshake Media, Incorporated, parent company of Handshake 2.0, is a member.

The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center and VT KnowledgeWorks are clients of Handshake Media, Incorporated.

Gotta Have It – Brand New Map of the New River Valley of Virginia from the NRVEDA

Take a look at this beauty created by Draper Aden Associates for all of us by the New River Valley Economic Development Alliance, NRVEDA:

A map of the New River Valley of Virginia from the New River Valley Economic Development Alliance

Gotta have it?  Thank the New River Valley Economic Development Alliance and email your full name, street address, city, state, and ZIP code to [email protected].  They'll mail you a copy!

If you've gotta have it now, here's the .pdf – almost 7MB!

The Hypothetical Entrepreneur – Diversify

From Adam Scouse:

As Non-Timber Forest Products Research Scientist Jim Chamberlain advised me, The Hypothetical Entrepreneur, I need to start thinking about diversification.

To create a business profitable enough to support me will require incorporating multiple medicinal plants instead of offering ginseng as a stand-alone product. This is really no problem at all.

According to Dr. Jim Chamberlain, Dr. Robert Bush, and Dr. A.L. Hammett in their essay Non-Timber Forest Products, The OTHER Forest Products, there are multiple plants that come from the woods that offer value and which fall into one of four categories: edibles, floral greens, specialty wood products, and medicinal and dietary supplements.

Edible plants are represented mostly by mushrooms but can also include nuts, berries, resins, blackberries, and maple syrup. Floral greens are typically associated with decorations such as wreaths and include dried flowers and fruit, greenery, and roping. Specialty wood products are products from the tree that are used without having to cut it down such as burls, twigs, and cypress knees. These are used to make handicrafts or musical instruments. Last, medicinal and dietary supplements are those products that have some sort of therapeutic value.

Medicinal and dietary supplements offer the largest potential market of the four categories. Author Peggy Brevoort investigates the current herbal market in her article The Booming U.S. Botanical Market: A New Overview

Brevoort gives a specific look at herbal industry growth in the United States as of 1998. Table 4 (pictured below–used with permission) from Brevoort’s article indicates an herbal market increase of over 300 million dollars in just seven years. 

From Peggy Brevoort's The Booming U.S. Botanical Market: A New Overview

Of tese herbal plants, are any known to grow in the local Appalachian Mountains? '

To answer this question, I referred back to Non-Timber Forest Products, The OTHER Forest Products. Dr. Chamberlain et al. have produced a list of local medicinal plants that are considered dietary supplements. The plants range from shrubs used to combat enlarged prostate, like saw palmetto, to hardwood trees, like slippery elm, that treat sore throats.

All that is left is to dust off that old field identification guide that has been sitting on the shelf and bring it along with me on my next hike.

You can follow the full series of posts by Adam Scouse for Handshake 2.0 at The Hypothetical Entrepreneur.

Adam Scouse is an intern for Handshake 2.0, a member company of business acceleration center VT KnowledgeWorks, located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, a technology park, a research park, and a science park on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.  The research park provides high-technology companies access to university faculty, university facilities, university equipment, and business-related support services.  The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center fosters commercialization and technology transfer of university research for both high-tech start-up companies and established technology businesses.

The Hypothetical Entrepreneur – A Family Affair

From Adam Scouse:

In this entry in my chronicle exploring starting a ginseng business, I wrote about the opportunity to meet an official “sang” hunter, Sylvester Yunker. Mr. Yunker represents all the folks hiking the Appalachian Mountains with an eye for plants that people just seem to want for some reason. I want to take a step further into the system to investigate what Mr. Yunker does with his ginseng once he has harvested it.

Before a collector travels into the woods to harvest a specific Non-Timber Forest Product, most likely he or she has already given the local dealer a call to see what is currently in demand.  This dealer, who prefers doing business with larger quantities of product, will act as a go-between for diggers to brokers.

What does this mean for my ginseng business research? That I have to talk to a dealer and find out how they operate!

To do just that, I searched for ginseng dealers on Google, a popular search engine.  It wasn’t easy to find dealers located in Virginia, but I did come across one commonwealth resident by accident when searching through a list of West Virginia dealers. His name is Samuel Daniel, owner of Daniel’s Country Store, and his family has been collecting ginseng for four generations.

I gave Mr. Daniel, former State Inspector for the Highway Department, a call to ask about his business as a ginseng dealer. Mr. Daniel was interested in buying any amount of ginseng that I might have to sell, provided it was dried, for 420 dollars a pound. This price is down from 900 dollars a pound this time last year. From his office in Horsepen, VA, he mentioned that at least ninety-five percent of that ginseng would go straight on to Hong Kong.

My call to Mr. Daniel further reinforced a previous conversation between myself and Dr. Jim Chamberlain.  In talking with each other, Dr. Chamberlain had recommended focusing on multiple Non-Timber Forest Products, not simply ginseng by itself. Mr. Daniel mentioned that as a dealer, he would collect anything there was currently demand for. A few examples of other herbs in demand which he would be interested in collecting are black cohosh, goldenseal, and snakeroot.

Mr. Daniel also mentioned that a lot of what he collects is dependent upon the harvest season. Working closely with a group of familiar diggers, all who share his same family tradition of Non-Timber Forest Products collection, Mr. Daniel amasses the harvested herb and reimburses the collector according to its current demand.

What does this interaction teach me, The Hypothetical Entrepreneur? It is evident that from a dealer’s perspective, ginseng collection alone will not be a feasible business operation.  In order to create a large enough revenue of income I should seek to deal with multiple Non-Timber Forest Products alongside of ginseng.

You can follow the full series of posts by Adam Scouse for Handshake 2.0 at The Hypothetical Entrepreneur.

Adam Scouse is an intern for Handshake 2.0, a member company of business acceleration center VT KnowledgeWorks, located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, a technology park, a research park, and a science park on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.  The research park provides high-technology companies access to university faculty, university facilities, university equipment, and business-related support services.  The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center fosters commercialization and technology transfer of university research for both high-tech start-up companies and established technology businesses.

Automation Creations at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center

The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, a technology, research, and science park on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia, is home to high-tech start-ups and established technology businesses. 

One of them is Automation Creations, Inc.

Handshake 2.0 asked companies about the business benefits of locating at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center–known locally as "the CRC."

Henry Bass, President of Automation Creations, Inc., answered.

Top Three Ways the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center has Fostered Our Business

  • Since originally locating here in 1996, the CRC remains the best Internet infrastructure location in the New River Valley. ACI hosts over 200 websites, from simple business overview web pages, to entire line-of-business applications over the web.  Having the sites on our servers allows us greater control over the software development process and gives our customers a single point of contact for any web-related issues.
  • The business network of 130 enterprises located in one park has provided countless opportunities for us to work with neighboring high-tech firms in all manner of roles: supplier, customer, and partner, as well as opportunities for employees to move from one firm to another and keep smart, talented people in this region.
  • The CRC offers an extremely flexible lease that allows us to grow or shrink as the need arises. 

Henry Bass, President of Automation Creations, Inc., was deployed on Sunday, October 5, 2008 for a 13-month tour in Iraq.  The Roanoke Times reported on his story on 10/3/08

Henry Bass writes Henry's Blog.  In his 10/11/08 blog entry, Henry Bass posted this video taken of his accommodations in Fort McCrady, South Carolina.

Automation Creations, Inc. provides guaranteed custom software development and web site design for dynamic companies like its neighbors in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, Virginia.  Automation Creations, Inc. runs MatWeb.com, a searchable database of material properties.

Automation Creations, Inc. is located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, a technology park, a research park, and a science park on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.  The research park provides high-technology companies access to university faculty, university facilities, university equipment, and business-related support services.  The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center fosters commercialization and technology transfer of university research for both high-tech start-up companies and established technology businesses.

Selling to the Crazies

From Jim Flowers, director of business acceleration center VT KnowledgeWorks, and author of the blog So you want to launch a business…

It really is a shame that it takes a major economic disaster to show Web 2.0 investors and managers that they were risking too much money on questionable opportunities.  They should have known much earlier like before they bloated companies dependent on transient social behavior patterns rather than on compelling end-user needs.  Apparently the first Internet bubble has been forgotten. 

Please consider these unfair generalizations:

  • Venture capitalists are not investors.  They are speculators.  Do the math.  As a group, they readily admit that they expect roughly half their portfolio companies to fail.  That means that a coin flip would probably do as well at “picking winners.”  They further admit/report that their overall profits are derived from fewer than 10% of their portfolio companies.   The few winners win so big that their success covers all the bad picks – but only in a crazy stock market that overvalues unique visitors to the tune of triple digit earnings multiples.  For every Google, there are literally hundreds of venture-funded failures.
  • Venture capitalist are lazy.  Aren’t we all?  They would rather invest $5 million than $500,000, even if the company does not need $5 million.  Why?  Because they have so much money to invest that at $500,000 a pop, they would never get the portfolio completed before the fund partnership’s life was over.  And because it takes just as much work to oversee a $500,000 investment as a $5,000,000 investment.  Oops.  Did I say investment?  Sorry, I didn’t mean investment.  I meant bet.
  • What’s worse?  They are betting other people’s money.  The general partners in venture funds typically provide only a tiny fraction of the at-risk capital.  For this they get a 2% annual management fee (that’s 2% of the total invested capital) plus 20% of all the profits.
  • So – we have had lazy people betting someone else’s money in a market segment that is not firmly supported by fundamental personal or business needs.  Now many of these companies have to retrench or go broke.  Is anyone shocked here?

I have a Doonesbury cartoon framed and prominently displayed in the lobby at business acceleration center VT KnowledgeWorks.  Mike’s investor friend, Bernie, has just abandoned his foray into “leading-edge applications for wireless handhelds” and has shifted his investment emphasis.  Into what, you ask?

“Boring stuff that people actually need.” 

The publication date of that cartoon was March 25, 2001.

Remember the San Francisco gold rush?   It is now widely understood that the people who got rich were those who sold supplies to the poor slobs who were sinking their lives into the 1849 equivalent of lottery tickets.  What has changed?

Companies that last don’t hunt for gold.  They make and sell picks and shovels, and clothes, and food.  And the innovators sell machines that replace picks and shovels, and tougher jeans, and free-trade, organic food.

Look at TechCrunch, the company that started keeping count and is now tracking the Web 2.0 layoffs.  They are selling stuff to the crazies.  Now that is smart – as long as they remember that the crazies will eventually go away, just like the 49ers.

***

Business acceleration center VT KnowledgeWorks is located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, a technology park, a research park, and a science park on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.  The research park provides high-technology companies access to university faculty, university facilities, university equipment, and business-related support services.  The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center fosters commercialization and technology transfer of university research for both high-tech start-up companies and established technology businesses.

Join the CEO of Google in Blacksburg on Thursday

From Cory Donovan, Executive Director of the NewVa Corridor Technology Council, NCTC:

Former Governor Mark Warner and Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt of Google will be in Blacksburg on Thursday, October 23, 2008, to discuss technology in the global economy.

When: 11:30am-12:30pm on Thursday, October 23, 2008
Where: Lyric Theatre (135 College Avenue, Blacksburg, VA)

Please arrive early, seating is limited.

Sponsored by the Alumni Association of Virginia Tech.

Please view a .pdf flyer here.

Update added 10/22/08:  Here’s a brief campus notice on the event from Virginia Tech.

The NewVa Corridor Technology Council, NCTC, is located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, a technology park, a research park, and a science park on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.  The research park provides high-technology companies access to university faculty, university facilities, university equipment, and business-related support services.  The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center fosters commercialization and technology transfer of university research for both high-tech start-up companies and established technology businesses.

Handshake 1.0 – NCTC

Handshake 2.0–specializing in online handshakes via business blog–invited companies and organizations to submit a photograph of a real-time handshake – a Handshake 1.0.

The mission of the NewVa Corridor Technology Council is "to serve and promote the technology industry for the purpose of driving prosperity and to champion a climate for the sustainable success of technology-based businesses in the region."

Pictured are Anne Clelland, a.k.a. Blog Diva, of Handshake 2.0, and Cory Donovan, Executive Director of the NewVa Corridor Technology Council.

Anne Clelland, a.k.a. Blog Diva, of Handshake 2.0, and Cory Donovan, Executive Director of the NewVa Corridor Technology Council

The NewVa Corridor Technology Council, NCTC, is located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, a technology park, a research park, and a science park on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.  The research park provides high-technology companies access to university faculty, university facilities, university equipment, and business-related support services.  The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center fosters commercialization and technology transfer of university research for both high-tech start-up companies and established technology businesses.

Some of the information used in this business blog post for Handshake 2.0 was gathered using competitive intelligence software AttaainCI.

Koofers.com Proceeds to Round Two in Facebook Competition

From Facebook Developers, 10/15/08:

"We are thrilled to announce our top 25 recipients from round one of the fbFund Developer Competition. After poring through and carefully evaluating over 600 applications, we decided that these 25 teams have tremendous talent and great potential.The mission of fbFund is to identify talent and seed innovation on Facebook Platform."

On that list of 25 recipients selected from over 600 applications?!

Koofers – Koofers helps students create and share information that helps with classes. Users can share old tests, quizzes, and study guides; view current and past grade breakdown and average GPA for every class and professor; review professors and read ratings before signing up for new classes, and get help from other students in the same class.

What happens next?

From now through the beginning of November, each recipient will develop and submit their final applications and create a video showcasing their work, which you can watch on the fbFund Page. Around mid-November, we’ll start soliciting our users to help us select the five finalists. Users will have the chance to try these applications, watch the videos and vote for their favorites. Final judging of round two will factor in user voting, as well as input from Facebook, Accel Partners and Founders Fund. Once round two closes in December, we will announce our five finalists, each of which will receive up to an additional $225,000 in funding.

Congratulations to Michael Rihani, co-founder of Koofers.com!  Best of luck in round two!

Koofers.com is a member company of business acceleration center VT KnowledgeWorks, located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, a technology park, a research park, and a science park on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.  The research park provides high-technology companies access to university faculty, university facilities, university equipment, and business-related support services.  The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center fosters commercialization and technology transfer of university research for both high-tech start-up companies and established technology businesses.

S. R. Clarke at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center

The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, a technology, research, and science park on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia, is home to high-tech start-ups and established technology businesses. 

One of their professional support service companies is S. R. Clarke, a national search and recruiting firm with a Blacksburg Operations office run by Alec Siegel.

From Alec Siegel, S. R. Clarke:

Alec Siegel, S. R. Clarke, Blacksburg, Virginia

Why the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center is a Perfect Fit for Me

1. I love Blacksburg and Virginia Tech…I grew up in Blacksburg, Dad’s only job has been at Virginia Tech, I  graduated as a Hokie in 1983, and now my oldest son is attending this fine university.  My other kids attend school in Blacksburg and my wife has a business here.

2. I’m a recruiter/headhunter with 20+ years specializing in emerging technologies and the CRC is the place to be for that.

3. I have a strong preference for working with small and growing companies.

For more information, please contact:
Alec Siegel
Director of Operations, Blacksburg Office
S. R. Clarke
1750 Kraft Drive
Suite 1100
Blacksburg, VA  24060
Phone:  540-552-2900
Cell:  540-998-1987
[email protected]
www.srclarke.com

S. R. Clarke is located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, a technology park, a research park, and a science park on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.  The research park provides high-technology companies access to university faculty, university facilities, university equipment, and business-related support services.  The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center fosters commercialization and technology transfer of university research for both high-tech start-up companies and established technology businesses.

Some of the information used in this business blog post for Handshake 2.0 was gathered using competitive intelligence software AttaainCI.