Issuu on Google+

2016

ROLLINS CENTER

ANNUAL REPORT

UNDERGRADUATE

2

# TOP 10 PROGRAMS SEVEN YEARS IN A ROW THE PRINCETON REVIEW, 2017

GRADUATE

7

#


Kevin Rollins addresses Rollins Center Founders at the Fall 2016 Founders Conference banquet. B

BYU ROLLINS CENTER


BYU ROLLINS CENTER

2016 ANNUAL REPORT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Stephen W. Liddle

MANAGING DIRECTOR

Steven R. Fox

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

Jeffrey D. Brown

WRITERS

Michelle Kaiser M’Leah Ricker Manuele Jill Tuttle Taylor Aricka Wilde

EDITORS

Rachel Evensen Sara Smith

GRAPHIC DESIGNERS

PRINTING

CONTACT THE CENTER

PHONE EMAIL ONLINE

Daniel Leavitt Jason Longhurst Elsa Riboldi Press Media

Rollins Center 470 Tanner Building Brigham Young University Provo, UT 84602 801.422.7437 rollinscenter@byu.edu rollinscenter.byu.edu

THE ROLLINS CENTER ANNUAL REPORT IS PUBLISHED BY THE ROLLINS CENTER FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP & TECHNOLOGY IN BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY’S MARRIOTT SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT IN PROVO, UTAH. COPYRIGHT 2016 BY BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Photo by Aaron Cornia, BYU Photo

ANNUAL REPORT | 2016

1


CONTENTS

8 4

PAYING IT FORWARD

INTO THE LAUNCHPAD

12

LICENSE TO MENTOR

2

BYU ROLLINS CENTER

16 ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR

20 COMMITMENT TO COMMUNITY

18 ALUMNI UPDATES

22 INNOVATION ACROSS CAMPUS


FROM THE DIRECTORS

Above › Steven Fox (left) and Stephen Liddle

Photo by Nate Edwards, BYU Photo

Dear Rollins Center Friends and Founders, Happiness in life is all about the relationships that we form and nurture. Relationships with family and friends readily come to mind. But what about the interactions you have with people you consider mentors? Or perhaps the relationship you have with students or others who consider you to be their mentor? These can be rewarding experiences that extend over months, years, and even decades. Much of the 2016 annual report is focused on these very meaningful mentoring relationships that start at byu. We hope you enjoy reading about these individuals and their stories, and that they cause you to reflect on the people who have helped you along your journey. Thank you for helping bless and improve their lives. On a different note, the Rollins Center continues to be one of the most recognized entrepreneurship programs in the world. The Princeton Review ranked our undergraduate and graduate programs in the top ten in the nation for the seventh straight year. byu and Babson College are the only universities to have received this distinction. Our entrepreneurship and innovation curricula reach nearly one in six

students across byu—approximately five thousand students in total. Amazing! Going forward you will see us aggressively pursuing a key component of the Rollins Center’s vision: deepening our relationships with other programs on the byu campus—think technology, engineering, industrial design, computer science, information systems, and life sciences. Many of their students are innovators at heart and can benefit enormously by tapping into the mentoring, competitions, curriculum, and networking the Rollins Center has to offer. We will keep you posted on our progress on this multi-year journey. We are delighted to partner with you in innovation and entrepreneurship. Our best,

Stephen W. Liddle executive director

Steven R. Fox managing director

ANNUAL REPORT | 2016

3


Three Rollins Center Founders share how they got their start and what they are doing to give back to the next generation. By M’Leah Ricker Manuele

E

ntrepreneurs reach the highest highs and plunge to the lowest lows—and everything in between is an uphill battle. But Reed Quinn, Amy Rees Anderson, and Ron Lindorf—Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology Founders—agree that the views from a successful summit make the rocky road of an entrepreneur worth every step. Financial freedom, independence, and extra time top their lists of entrepreneurial perks, but collectively, their favorite—and the most rewarding—aspect of their careers is the chance to experience and exemplify what it really means to give back. 4

BYU ROLLINS CENTER


REED QUINN

NETWORKING FOR THE WIN

R

eed Quinn, founder of Spark Innovation, started his first company as a graduate student in the BYU Marriott School. A young, bright-eyed innovator, Quinn traveled to the far reaches of the country to participate in student venture competitions, network with professionals, and learn about entrepreneurship. “It was busy and challenging but also a great opportunity,” Quinn says. “Participating in those competitions allowed me to get feedback from all kinds of judges and entrepreneurs from around the nation. There were also significant monetary awards for winning that helped me launch my first business.” With one exception, Quinn placed first in every competition he entered, and he went on to build a successful

innovation company. He credits much of his success to the people he met and the financial support he received as a young business owner. In return, Quinn and his company now provide others with the tools and network they need to succeed. “My company, Spark Innovation, gives young entrepreneurs a foundation for success,” Quinn says. “We provide them with advice, networking opportunities, suppliers, and production tools and facilities—all of which are extremely valuable for business. If I wasn’t involved with this business, I wouldn’t be able to help others take advantage of those opportunities.” Quinn’s generous pursuits landed him a spot as a Founder and mentor at the Rollins Center—a role he says is changing his life.

My company . . . gives young entrepreneurs a foundation for success.

“Being a part of the Rollins Center has helped me on so many levels,” Quinn says. “After working and talking with other entrepreneurs, I’ve been able to make changes to and more efficiently run my company. On top of that, the people I work with and mentor have inspired me and allowed me to see what I really want to do with my life.”

Above › Michelle Quinn and Reed Quinn, founders of KT Tape, compete at the New Venture Championship in 2009.

ANNUAL REPORT | 2016

5


AMY REES ANDERSON

CHAMPIONING A DIFFERENT PATH

A

s both founder and managing

partner of rees Capital and author and contributor for Forbes and the Huffington Post, Amy Rees Anderson has a lot on her plate. But she doesn’t let that stop her. She is an entrepreneurial powerhouse and advocate for female entrepreneurs. “When you’ve learned the hard way, you want to make it easier for others,” Anderson says. Though Anderson had an unconventional entrepreneurial start as a young mother, her hard work paid off, and her home-based business flourished

into a global medical software enterprise. She was sucked into the life of an entrepreneur—a path she had not initially planned, but one she wouldn’t trade for anything. “It changed my life,” she says. Being an entrepreneur gave her freedom and allowed her to provide for her family after becoming a single mom. It also gave her a drive to help others gain that same independence. “Once I sold that company, I decided I wanted to spend my time giving back and helping people realize they could be self-reliant,” Anderson says.

Anderson offers experience-based feedback to all entrepreneurs and often gives scholarships to young women to encourage them to compete in male-dominated student venture competitions. “A lot of young people don’t know where they fit in or where to go, and I love showing them that entrepreneurship is a path they should consider,” she says. “Anyone—man or woman—is capable of becoming an entrepreneur. If I could build a company from the ground up, then there is no reason why anyone else couldn’t do it.”

Anyone—man or woman—is capable of becoming an entrepreneur. If I could build a company from the ground up, then there is no reason why anyone else couldn’t do it.

Right › Amy Rees Anderson participates on a panel to provide feedback to student startups.

6

BYU ROLLINS CENTER


RON LINDORF

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE

R

on Lindorf knew he wanted to be

an entrepreneur from the young age of fourteen. “I wanted to go to the national jamboree for Boy Scouts, and my dad— who was an entrepreneur—told me I had to pay for it myself,” he recalls. “He encouraged me to think of a service that I could offer people and get paid for. So I chose the chore I hated most—washing windows.” Lindorf ’s window washing venture proved successful, and that entrepreneurial spark stayed with him throughout his life as he founded, built, and sold the largest market research data collection company in the United States. Now a BYU lecturer and Rollins Center Founder, Lindorf is able to spend time doing the thing he loves most—making a difference in people’s lives. “Being an entrepreneur has allowed me to help many people and given me far more time,” Lindorf says. “I have more time to be with my family, more time to research, more time to invest in mentoring, and more time to make a difference.” One of the biggest ways Lindorf gives back is by applying his entrepreneurial knowledge, as well as his experience in surveying and research, to help those with Lyme disease. He serves on the board of Lymedisease.org and assists in their surveys and promotions.

“Research is essential in finding a cure and helping people receive the proper care,” Lindorf says. Finding a cure for Lyme disease is extremely important for Lindorf. He has two sons who suffer from the disease, and he owes one of their lives to his success as an entrepreneur. “If I wouldn’t have had the economic resources—both time-wise and financially—to get my son accurately diagnosed, he would have perished,” Lindorf says. “I’m happy he’s here. And I’m grateful for the path I’ve taken that has allowed me to help him.”

T

he three Founders highlighted

in this article are just a small sampling of the amazing donors and mentors who give back to BYU and the Rollins Center. Their success in business and life and dedication to give back inspires and nurtures the next generation of entrepreneurs. This virtuous cycle allows BYU’s student entrepreneurs to experience unparalleled success. Learn more about our Founders organization at rollinscenter.byu.edu.

ANNUAL REPORT | 2016

7


Into the

Launchpad BYU's summer accelerator program is propelling student startups to new heights. By Jill Tuttle Taylor

8

BYU ROLLINS CENTER


Left › Launchpad participants gather for one of the program’s many speaker dinners.

The sixteen teams involved in Launchpad form a unique bond as they work to propel their companies and grow throughout the summer. “The core purpose is to permit some of these top student teams to accelerate over the summer months by focusing on building their businesses,” says Steven Fox, managing director of the Rollins Center. “What we hear consistently is great appreciation for the practical industry knowledge that they’re able to acquire in a compact period of time.” The teams are granted physical office space in the Tanner Building, a dynamic community of peers, a mentor wellversed in entrepreneurship, a weekly speaker invited to share expertise, and the ability to present their businesses to more than one hundred investors as part of the culminating Investors Day. The teams have biweekly check-ins and ongoing communication with the directors and fellow students. They also participate in 1 Million Cups, a weekly gathering of local entrepreneurs in downtown Provo.

E

very year, byu students participate in events, competitions, and courses to grow their innovation and entrepreneurship skills. The Miller Competition Series, designed to help students launch scalable ventures, trains and awards standout students and entrepreneurs. Following this popular competition series, the top eight teams are invited to participate in Launchpad, a summer accelerator program with valuable opportunities for students to grow their businesses. Eight additional teams that show promise are also selected to participate.

2016 was Launchpad’s fourth year, and teams have already seen great benefits from the program. Most of the companies involved in Launchpad are striving to gain validation for their ideas in order to solve a problem within the marketplace. mba graduate Josh Mortensen is the cofounder of Whistic, a platform for companies to assess the risk of third-party vendors. This cloud-based technology allows large organizations to ensure the proper security measures are in place and was chosen as Best Enterprise Startup at Launch Festival 2016 in San Francisco, ca. “Since the beginning of Launchpad until now, we went from not having a product that we could sell in the market to having a viable product,” Mortensen says. This success was due to steady progression within the program and a lot of hard work, along with the help and resources of the Rollins Center. “The Rollins Center has been a huge boost to our company in a lot of different ways,” Mortensen says.

I think having the structure of an office, with people and mentors to report to . . . definitely pushed our company forward.

ANNUAL REPORT | 2016

9


5LAUNCHPAD key benefits of

1 Physical space

Student businesses have their own office, desks and keys, and are in close proximity to other teams and supervisors.

2 Peer-to-peer feedback

Teams are able to continually share ideas and strategies to overcome barriers and bounce ideas off of each other.

3 Speaker series

Businesses are invited to weekly speaker series events where they can learn from other entrepreneurs and share their own progress openly.

4 Mentorship

Each business is teamed with a lead mentor—a skilled entrepreneur—who is actively involved in their progress throughout the summer.

5 Investors Day

Businesses to present their companies in front of potential investors, discussing monetary backing and forming valuable relationships to propel their businesses forward.

10 10 BYU BYU ROLLINS ROLLINS CENTER CENTER

“Without relying on those resources, we never would have had the runway or the financial ability to get to where we are now.” Whistic’s cofounders still see enormous success as they meet regularly with cios and csos and use their trademarked algorithm to improve security controls for their clients. Another business-to-business company, Plato, was also able to benefit from the Launchpad program. Plato, which was founded by byu student Curtis Brown, automates quality customer service though software that listens to phone calls and scores each call based on quality metrics. Brown


Left › Whistic founders Josh Mortensen (left) and Andy Watanabe at the International Business Model Competition.

Launchpad provided me with the time and flexibility to work on the development . . . instead of trying to find a side job or internship.

had worked in customer service and felt like the team that would score phone calls did not have enough data to make smart decisions or fairly allocate employee bonuses. Plato has made great strides with its proprietary software and building essential relationships. Its partners include expert linguists who previously worked to develop Amazon Echo technology. Brown says the Whistic team was a good sounding board for some of the hurdles they needed to overcome, and it was beneficial to have them just down the hallway for the entire summer as part of the Launchpad experience. “I think having the structure of an office, with people and mentors to report to, and working on it full time definitely pushed our company forward quicker,” Brown says. “It would have taken several more months to get where we are now if it wasn’t for that structure and that opportunity.” byu mba student Dallin Anderson, founder of Wavio, was also able to make his idea a reality thanks to the resources provided by the Rollins Center. Wavio is a small digital two-way radio that works with smartphone Bluetooth connections to grant instant communication

in any conditions, operating hands-free and without a cell signal. Anderson had the idea for the technology when he found it difficult to communicate while rock climbing with his father and snowboarding with his friends. “Launchpad provided me with the time and flexibility to work on the development and reach out to engineering firms instead of trying to find a side job or internship,” Anderson says. Like Whistic and Plato, Wavio was able to grow thanks to the $15,000 it received from the competition series as well as from its participation in the Launchpad program. “We’re refining our development, and we were able to get some really

good traction through the program,” Anderson says. “It is fun, and even though you know there’s a long road ahead, it really helps you move on the path in the right way, focusing on the right things and making the right decisions.” Fox says the core of the Launchpad program will remain the same while the program continues to make improvements in the coming years. “We’ve received valuable feedback and an enormous amount of support as we look to the future,” Fox says. “We are very appreciative of byu alumni and friends who donate the funds and provide the student mentorship to make Launchpad the success it is.”

Left › A prototype of Wavio’s 2-way radio that connects to your headphones and phone through Bluetooth®. Right › Dallin Anderson of Wavio works in his private office in the Marriott School. ANNUAL REPORT | 2016

11


LICENSE

By M'Leah Ricker Manuele

to mentor

It’s no secret that Brigham Young University is an entrepreneurial hot spot. Nestled amidst the aptly-named Silicon Slopes in Provo, the university’s undergraduate program was named No. 2 by the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine in their 2017 Top Schools for Entrepreneurship while the graduate program came in at No. 7. So what is it, exactly, that fans the entrepreneurship program’s fire? One word:

12

BYU ROLLINS CENTER

Mentoring.


Photo by Ben Gleason

ANNUAL REPORT | 2016

13


T

he Rollins Center prides itself on having one of the most prestigious mentoring programs in the nation. What started years ago as meetings in classrooms and hallways has grown into a full-blown organization with nearly two hundred mentors. “Mentoring is the number one product of the Rollins Center,” says Craig Earnshaw, Rollins Center Founder and adjunct professor. “We’ve got a really great program going.” An entrepreneur and mentor himself, Earnshaw began working with the center in 1998, and he can't say enough good things about the program and the benefits it provides for students. “Students here have the best deal in the world,” he says. “They have the opportunity to work one-on-one with successful, experienced entrepreneurs. Students get an objective look at their business ideas and help in developing them—something they don’t get anyplace else.” The students aren’t the only ones who benefit from the program. “Mentoring is one of the most rewarding things of my life,” Earnshaw says. “It’s fun! I really enjoy being able to make a difference in students’ lives and see them go on to be successful.”

I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for such a great network of wonderful, like-minded people who all want to return and help others in the same way they’ve been helped. The number of students who file in with ideas and leave with success stories continues to grow, as does the Rollins Center itself. More and more entrepreneurs are joining in on the excitement, including previous mentees who have come back as Founders and mentors. “That’s the center’s vision—to bring it back home,” Church says. “A student I worked with who graduated just a couple of years ago is already back to help other students succeed. It’s just awesome to see that happen. It’s the whole embodiment of why I and so many others do what we do.”

Photo by Savanna Sorensen, byu Photo

Fellow Founder Corbin Church, owner of Church Properties, agrees that mentoring students is an energetic and enriching experience. Church is a stalwart advocate for being an entrepreneur, and he pushes for students to use the mentoring program as a resource. “I tell young people that the only regret I’ve heard from other entrepreneurs is that they didn’t quit their jobs and become one earlier,” Church says. “I want my students to know that they can and should become entrepreneurs, and that they’ve got the resources— namely, the center—to help them do it.”

Above › Craig Earnshaw listens to a student’s business idea at a Rollins Center mentoring event. 14

BYU ROLLINS CENTER


Above › Rollins Center Founders meet with students at a speed mentoring event.

A representative example of the Rollins Center’s vision in action begins with mentor Steve Gibson. A senior entrepreneur in residence, Gibson became involved with the center in its infancy in 1994. He explains that while doctors and lawyers had residencies and apprenticeships, young entrepreneurs lacked a similar learning-in-training opportunity. “We created a mentoring program as a way to teach, to share, and to build successful entrepreneurs,” Gibson says. A serial entrepreneur himself, Gibson has started more than a dozen businesses. One of his ventures involves teaching enterprise development to LDS returned missionaries in the Philippines. Finding it a newsworthy pursuit, the LDS Church picked up his story and published it in a newspaper, a copy of which made its way into the hands of a young BYU student.

That student was Davis Smith, now the CEO of Cotopaxi, a socially-minded outdoor gear retailer. “I actually cut out that article and put it in the clear front cover of my binder,” Smith says. “It was an inspiration to me to see someone who found his talents in life and used them to help others.” Smith kept that article in his binder for the remainder of his college career. Shortly after graduation, he was attending an on-campus conference when he saw Gibson stepping into an elevator. Smith bolted to the elevator just in time to stop the doors from closing. Two weeks later he walked out of Gibson’s office, determined to become an entrepreneur. As Smith began participating in student venture competitions he met Eric Farr, owner and executive officer of Brainstorm, Inc. Farr, a Rollins Center

We created a mentoring program as a way to teach, to share, and to build successful entrepreneurs.

Photo by Savanna Sorensen, byu Photo

Founder, had been one of Gibson’s student mentees—the same Gibson who inspired Smith to become an entrepreneur. As fate would have it, Farr became Smith’s mentor, and with the help and advice of someone who knew what it was like to be in his shoes, Smith built his own entrepreneurial success. Smith has since come back to BYU as a mentor. “Davis still tells people I’m his mentor,” Farr says. “But I have to correct him. He is actually my mentor. Over the past few years, what he’s done in business is incredible.” What started with Gibson, a single mentor, has continued through two generations of entrepreneurs. Now all three men are working to make a difference in young entrepreneurs’ lives with the hopes that those young students will come back someday to do the same. “Our motto is Learn, Earn, and Return,” Farr says. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for such a great network of wonderful, like-minded people who all want to return and help others in the same way they’ve been helped.”

ANNUAL REPORT | 2016

15


Photo by BYU Photo

David Royce receives the Entrepreneur of the Year award from Scott Petersen, Rollins Center entrepreneur in residence, and Stephen Liddle, Rollins Center executive director.

16

BYU ROLLINS CENTER


2016 Entrepreneur of the Year: By Aricka Wilde

D

avid Royce has made pests less pesky by creating four of the most successful, environmentally responsible pest control companies in North America. To recognize the serial entrepreneur’s achievement, the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year Award to Royce at its semiannual Founders Conference banquet. “We have been very fortunate to win different awards, but this one from the Rollins Center is especially important to me,” Royce says. “This organization means so much. It is a group of peers that I deeply respect and an organization that helped me to have the vision to become an entrepreneur right out of school.” Royce graduated in entrepreneurship from BYU in 2004. He most recently founded Aptive Environmental, a Provobased residential and commercial pest control company that provides service to more than 1,500 cities. Royce also started his previous company, Alterra, in Utah before selling it to Terminix in November 2015. “There is something really special going on in Utah right now,” Royce says.

DavidRoyce “There is a sense of entrepreneurship that is getting noticed nationally and throughout the world.” Royce has received much recognition for his success as an entrepreneur. His companies have been featured in several national publications including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, and Entrepreneur. In 2015 Royce was named the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year, and that same year his company received the first-place award for Fastest Growing Service Company in America from the American Business Awards. Royce has also transformed his success into supporting a good cause as a proud partner of the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign. A portion of company profits go toward providing people in sub-Saharan Africa with insecticide-treated bed nets that help save millions of lives. “When thinking about this award we look for men and women of high integrity and entrepreneurial savvy,” says

Steven Fox, acting managing director of the Rollins Center. “David exemplifies these traits.” Royce joins other inspiring past recipients of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, which include Amy Rees Anderson, founder of REES Capital, and Joshua James, CEO of Domo. Potential recipients for the Entrepreneur of the Year Award are chosen by the board of the Rollins Center’s Founders. Nominees are then vetted and approved by BYU leadership.

There is something really special going on in Utah right now. There is a sense of entrepreneurship that is getting noticed nationally and throughout the world.

ANNUAL REPORT | 2016

17


KP Biosciences: A Different Kind of "Seed" Round ALUMNI UPDATE KP Biosciences

O

ne of the proudest moments for the byu student founders of KP Biosciences came not in a lab or in a boardroom, but in an overgrown greenhouse. After participating in the 2015 Launchpad program with great success, the team was faced with the difficulty of creating a synthetic compound of their drug, kpb-100. It was then that they turned to a unique source: plants.

Not being able to create the compound in the lab with a team of experienced synthetic chemists was a huge setback for the young company’s leaders, but they didn’t let it stop them from reaching their goals. kpb-100, which may be able to fight some contagious viruses, comes from a medicinal plant that can be found in only a handful of places around the world, including the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, area. Armed with buckets and rental trucks, the entire team flew to Florida and spent weeks handpicking the plant and shipping hundreds of pounds of it back to Utah. From there, they planted the seedlings in a greenhouse on byu campus. As the plants began to flourish, the team was able to create a purified compound of kpb-100 themselves— a huge scientific accomplishment.

By Michelle Kaiser 18

BYU ROLLINS CENTER

“Those plants were tangible proof of our efforts,” says KP Biosciences cofounder and ceo Matt Cryer. “We’ve gone around the world with this product and met with large companies and organizations, but this was something huge we overcame and did ourselves. It was a great feeling.” Even with the temporary compound setback, KP Biosciences has made significant progress since its founding in 2015 as part of the College of Life Sciences’ bio-Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program. kpb-100 is currently being tested to fight smallpox and herpes and has made huge strides in both areas over the past year. The company performed smallpox tests in labs at byu and Utah State University before handing the drug over to the cdc for the next level of in vitro validation work. A huge breakthrough came when the cdc was able to verify that the drug has a unique mechanism of action for fighting smallpox. This means that it works differently from the current smallpox drug formulation, which is a great boost for its chances of adoption. Smallpox is heavily guarded by the cdc, so KP Biosciences conducts tests using the very similar vaccinia virus and is leaving much of the further testing to the cdc, as is standard industry practice. On the herpes front, KP Biosciences is currently running similar tests to fight cold sores and genital herpes. kpb-100 has passed the gold standard of living organism testing in both areas. The company is now finishing its seed round and talking with a number of large pharmaceutical companies about collaborating for the next round of testing, either through funding or equity. Within two years, the company hopes to conduct safety testing and clinical trials. Today KP Biosciences is thriving, just like the plants filling its greenhouse. The team credits the Rollins Center for helping provide the resources, skills, and connections to get off the ground. With a unique formulation and a proven drug, the company has the power to potentially save millions of lives.


AncestorCloud: Locked, Loaded, and Ready to Go

W

ith a powerful team of investors and a focused, proven product, AncestorCloud is ready for the big time. The company was founded by a group of byu students in 2014 and faced many of the growing pains common to startups as it worked through multiple pivots before settling on a successful family history focus.

“We spent the first year exploring and almost failing,” explains cofounder and ceo Wesley Eames. “But the second year has been the complete opposite.” AncestorCloud is now finding success nearly wherever it goes. The company recently closed a seed round where it secured almost $1 million in funding and partnered with powerful investors. It was also featured in Forbes, which named it one of the top five most innovative companies in the family history industry. But the pinnacle might be a game-changing trip to Colorado. In February, AncestorCloud was named one of just eleven startups joining the prestigious Techstars Boulder startup accelerator program. At the end of the program, AncestorCloud was top of its class for having accomplished the most growth and development in three months. The recognition from Techstars catapulted AncestorCloud into a new dimension and opened numerous doors. Recent growth has put AncestorCloud in contact with top advisors and investors in the industry, including past advisors for

Ancestry.com. Much of the company’s recent success is rooted in the Rollins Center, where its founders learned to grow a business, not just a product. “byu’s LaunchPad program taught us to move fast and to focus,” Eames says. “Through the Rollins Center we were able to build lifelong relationships and build a network that has been instrumental.” AncestorCloud’s overall goal is to provide family history resources to everyone regardless of their genealogy skill or experience. “We want to change the way people discover their family and who they are, and enable everyone, not just genealogists, to find out more about themselves,” Eames says. The site offers customers access to the largest network of professional genealogists in the world with expertise covering 110 countries. Customers who are more experienced in family history can use the marketplace to connect with a professional genealogist to solve their personal family history problems, whether they be helping work through a difficult family line or finding missing information. Novice family history researchers or people who simply want to learn about their ancestors can pay a flat fee to buy a package from the experts that provides a detailed summary of their family history research in just two weeks. The feedback for both services has been incredibly positive, and hundreds of customers have received help making unique family connections. What’s next for AncestorCloud? The company wants to put its resources to good use and grow to become one of the most recognized names in the family history space. With the company’s great track record, its founders feel prepared to make those dreams a reality and to help users find their familial roots.

ALUMNI UPDATE AncestorCloud

By Michelle Kaiser ANNUAL REPORT | 2016

19


Commitment By Jill Tuttle Taylor

I

Community

n August 2016, Steven Fox was named managing director of the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology after serving as acting managing director for almost one year. In beginning his new leadership role, Fox is taking the opportunity to determine new areas of emphasis for the Rollins Center as it looks to the future. Fox sees tremendous opportunity for byu students to be known as dynamic leaders in innovation and entrepreneurship in Utah and beyond. To realize this vision, the Rollins Center has outlined four main areas of focus, one of which is community engagement. “As a center we really want to engage more effectively with the local entrepreneur ecosystem in Utah County and throughout the state of Utah,” Fox says. He recognizes that the state and local area are prime for further growth and development and wants byu to play a larger role. “Utah County has recently become known as a hotbed of entrepreneurialism, and byu is a key driver in that,” Fox says. “However, we believe we can do far more than we have done to date.”

20

BYU ROLLINS CENTER

TO

Meeting with Leaders The first step in forming a valuable relationship with the community is meeting some of the local leaders. Fox is a member of the City of Provo steering committee and has a good relationship with Mayor John Curtis. The mayor and city are fully supportive of byu’s entrepreneurial efforts and partners with the Rollins Center on various initiatives. Fox also serves on the board of advisors for the Utah Technology Council (utc), Utah’s premier professional association for the high tech and clean tech industries. The utc has been helping to grow and protect companies since 1991 through networking, advocacy, securing funding, addressing talent shortages and C-level peer-sharing events. “For years the Rollins Center has been helping create jobs not just in Provo but all across the state,” Fox says. “The civic and business leaders have a spirit of entrepreneurism, and they are willing to work together to help small, medium, and large businesses be successful.”

Collaborating Across Campuses Another element of the Rollins Center’s expanding community efforts is its outreach to other area colleges and universities. “The idea is that we want to continue to grow the ecosystem along with the rising tide, and not in competition,” Fox says. “The economics in this area are a lot stronger if we are working together.” The Rollins Center has collaborated with schools from across the state with events like Utah Student 25 and recently for the first time invited student teams from uvu and the u of u to participate in its annual Investors Day event, with great results. Teams were able to present to more than one hundred members of the investment community, generating significant interest in their businesses. The relationships are genuine. Fox has visited his peers at uvu and the u of u a number of times, identifying opportunities


Above › BYU students connect with entrepreneurs in the community at The Startup Building.

Photo by Bryant Livingston

for partnership. Fox and Rollins Center staff also announce events hosted by these universities in order to share valuable resources with byu students. 1 Million Cups The Rollins Center has also collaborated with Anders Taylor, manager of The Startup Building in downtown Provo. The Startup Building houses dozens of small startup companies and serves as a community hub for entrepreneurs. Every week, Taylor and a group of volunteer organizers host 1 Million Cups, which was originally developed by the Kauffman Foundation and is now held in more than eighty cities throughout the nation. It is a free event designed to educate, engage, and connect entrepreneurs. “We encouraged students participating in our summer accelerator to attend this event,” Fox says. “The students got a great deal of interaction with people in the community, which is exactly what we wanted.” Taylor hosts the event every Wednesday morning. Its name comes from the image of one million drinks being poured throughout the country as big ideas are discussed.

“We love hosting 1 Million Cups because it is such a collaborative event since people come excited to learn and willing to help,” Taylor says. “It helps create a great environment and community. We feel that the presenters get the most benefit out of the event because they can ask for help, ideas, and connections and can draw on the audience for feedback.” byu student Curtis Brown, founder of Plato, attended the event weekly and presented his company during the summer. He values the connections he has made within the community and appreciates the support he has found. “I want to share our progress with the community, and I love to see other companies progress too,” Brown says.

“It’s so helpful to share progress, set goals, and get advice. I don’t even know if I would have kept pushing through some of the more difficult times without these relationships.” Looking Ahead A healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem exists throughout Utah, and the possibilities to connect and improve are endless. The Rollins Center looks forward to being a more active part of Utah’s dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem. “At the Rollins Center we continually strive to work together to build lasting relationships,” Fox says. “We have had a lot of great traction so far and look to expand upon our successes as we move forward.”

Utah County has recently become known as a hotbed of entrepreneurialism, and BYU is a key driver in that.

ANNUAL REPORT | 2016

21


INNOVATION ACROSS CAMPUS By Michelle Kaiser

Above › Venture Factory's Makerspace

22

BYU ROLLINS CENTER

Venture Factory Maker Space The Crabtree Building, home to byu’s engineering and technology classes, holds a new design space affectionately known as “the Garage.” With 3-d printers, a rapid prototyping circuit board machine, and all the equipment and resources needed to build products, plus room to collaborate, the new Makerspace is an innovator’s dream. “We wanted a professional space for product development that had the equipment to make things a reality,” says Justin Zsiros, advisor to Venture Factory, byu’s product development club. “This is the ideal space for brainstorming and learning.” Makerspaces such as this have been popping up on college campuses all around the country. byu students across campus can have access to the space as long as they participate in Venture Factory or DevClub. In just the first few months since the Garage opened, dozens of excited engineering, computer science, and business students have spent time there designing their prototypes.

The goal is for students to eventually use products that come out of the Makerspace to participate in the Student Innovator of the Year competition for funding and to connect with the Rollins Center for business development. Students and faculty hope to see the space grow even larger in the future, with more machines for rapid prototyping and a bigger space to accommodate more students. As the program grows, students also hope to staff the space with tas who can serve as mentors during the design, development, and production phases. Who knows? The next big product just might come out of the most tech-savvy garage on campus.


Around campus, students in a variety of disciplines are tapping into resources to develop and create the next big thing.

Social Venture Academy Social awareness and entrepreneurship intersect on the third floor of the Tanner Building, where students looking to change the world can develop their socially minded businesses through the Ballard Center’s Social Venture Academy (sva). “We take the social venture version of the lean startup approach to mentor students through any stage of development,” says Aaron Miller, director of the sva. “Some teams come with just an idea, and others have a proven concept. There’s room for them all here.” At any given time, sixty to eighty students from majors such as education,

public health, and law are working on both nonprofit and for-profit social ventures. The sva is purely extracurricular, and each team is assigned a student navigator to guide it through the entire process. The sva offers funding to every venture that meets certain requirements. By working through various events including Best Product and Best Venture, teams can earn up to $18,000. The sva operates year-round and allows teams to progress at their own pace with a flexible schedule. An astounding variety of successful ventures have come out of the SVA.

Recent highlights include Ambrosia Labs, which operates breast milk clinics in Cambodia to employ local women and provide much-needed breast milk to customers in the United States, and Recyclops, which runs apartment-based recycling programs throughout Utah and is soon expanding to Colorado. With the SVA, social entrepreneurs truly have the power to turn their dreams into action and touch the lives of people around the world in the process.

Left › A Recyclops shed ready for recycling. Above › A worker in Cambodia preps breast milk for transport.

ANNUAL REPORT | 2016

23


BYU ROLLINS CENTER

WHO'S WHO

FULL & PART TIME STAFF

ACADEMIC FACULTY

Steve Liddle

Executive Director

Brian Reschke

Entrepreneurship

Steven Fox

Managing Director

Chad Carlos

Entrepreneurship

Jeff Brown

Assistant Director

Chris Mattson

Engineering

Program Coordinator

Curt Anderson

Law

Nicki Collins Jennifer Hutchins Maddie Hunt

Financial Manager Office Manager

David Busath Derek Hansen Eric Dahlin

STUDENT STAFF

Alecia Holmes

Production Manager (Events)

Ashley Davies

Events Manager

Ben Gleason

Multimedia Specialist (Lecture Series)

Brennan Steiner

IBMC Student Director & MBA 672 TA

Cole Davis

Graphic Designer

Elsa Riboldi

Graphic Designer

Ian Hawkes

Multimedia Specialist (Special Projects)

Kyle Harrison

Rollins R&D Course Instructor

Kyston Manu

Lecture Series TA (General)

Morgan Armstrong Nate Bridgewater Raya Esplin Tanner Jones Zach Hosman

Mentoring Coordinator Financial Assistant Lecture Series TA (Tech) Special Projects Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Coordinator Intro to Entrepreneurship TA

DONOR GROUP

Scott Johnson

Co-Chair

Travis Cook

Co-Chair

Bob Despain

24

Design Sociology Marketing

Gibb Dyer

Strategy

Jeff Dyer

Strategy

Jeff Humpherys

Mathematics

Marc Hansen

Life Sciences

Matt Wickman

Humanities

Marketing and PR Manager

Daniel Leavitt

Laura Branham

Gary Rhoads

Life Sciences

Founder Representative

Corbin Church

Entrepreneur in Residence

James Endicott

Entrepreneur in Residence

Scott Petersen

Entrepreneur in Residence

BYU ROLLINS CENTER

PROFESSIONAL FACULTY

Alan Boardman Corbin Church Craig Earnshaw Gary Williams Gavin Christensen Jon Bradshaw

BD Medical Church Properties LifeLink Corporation Sterling Wentworth Corp. / SunGard Kickstart Seed Fund TinyTorch

Kim Scoville

Silvermark Services

Mike Hendron

Arcwise Consulting

Nick Greer

One on One Marketing

Ralph Little

Little & Company

Scott Johnson Sid Krommenhoek Taylor Halverson Tom Peterson

Motivosity Peak Ventures Creativity, Innovation, & Design Group Trammell Crow Company


Carter Smith of IsoTruss demonstrates the strength of his product at the Miller New Venture Challenge final on April 1, 2016.

Photo by Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo

ANNUAL REPORT | 2016

C


p.12


BYU Rollins Center Annual Report 2016