Students compete in venture competition

By Ashley Altus

Two Baylor master of science in computer science students are gunning for the top prize against 11 other finalists in the third annual Baylor New Venture Competition.

The event will take place this weekend during a two-day competition where teams will pitch their business plans and ideas to a panel of judges posing as potential investors. The winner of the competition will receive a cash prize of $25,000 and other support services.

Of the 88 applicants from 33 different schools, the judges narrowed it down to the final 12. Finalists are coming everywhere from Harvard University to the University of Utah-Salt Lake. Alvin Jude from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Ryan Henning from Edmond, Okla., are the graduate students behind Pclouds, a cloud technology company and are the only finalists from Baylor.

Henning said Pclouds is the next step in cloud technology and 30 times less expensive than the traditional cloud.

“Users won’t have to rely on a third party service and everything will be self-contained in their own home,” Henning said.

Henning and Jude said Pclouds has improved upon the traditional cloud. Cloud computing is using a network of remote servers to store, manage and process data.

“It allows the user to access all their files from all their devices with significantly lower costs, and with increased privacy and confidentiality,” Jude said.

Henning said he was interested in the competition for the cash prize and the connections the team will gain.

“If we don’t win, we still learned a lot, and hopefully our future employers will see that and it’ll go on our resumes,” Jude said, “We’ll figure out how to develop this none the less. We are engineers trying to figure out how to run a business.”

Jude said the winnings would give the company a “shoestring budget” that would allow the team to develop the idea further and look for investors.

Wes Nemec, the program manager for the John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship, said the competition aims to build student’s entrepreneurial education through the judging process with multiple opportunities for feedback.

The top 50 teams receive feedback from industry professionals.

“We want to grow our education and were always looking for ways to add value to the entrepreneurial community through our program,” Nemec said.

Although the competition kicks off on Friday, the first part of the finals is closed to the public as the teams go through feedback sessions. On Saturday, the final presentations will be open to the public in Kayser Auditorium from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Then, an awards ceremony in Kayser Auditorium from 4:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m will conclude the competition, as one team will walk away with the grand prize.

There will also be cash prizes for the other 12 finalists just for making it to the final rounds of the competition.

“There’s a great prestige that comes from winning this type of competition and getting the prize money,” Nemec said.