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Press Release

UC Berkeley Press Release

Seventh annual UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition

– As this year's 23 business teams gear up for the semifinals of the 7th annual University of California, Berkeley's Business Plan Competition, they can turn for inspiration to previous contestants whose businesses are making profits and contributing jobs to the California economy.

Like zipRealty.com, a 1999 contestant whose initial public offering in November 2004 marked the first time a former UC Berkeley Business Plan contestant went public. The nationwide online real estate agency now counts 919 employees and a market capitalization of $387.4 million. Rapt Industries, a 2001 contestant, found success with an $8 million Department of Defense contract in 2003 for its high-performance optics technology, and first-year winner Timbre Technologies sold for $138 million to Tokyo Electron Limited in 2001.

The UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition was founded and is organized by UC Berkeley MBA students at the Haas School of Business, in partnership with UC Berkeley's College of Engineering and UC San Francisco. It is hosted by the Haas School's Lester Center for Entrepreneurship. Each team must include at least one UC Berkeley or UCSF student or alumnus/a.

Throughout the competition, teams work with mentors and participate in workshops learning how to hone their business plans, make a pitch or ask for money.

This year, 66 teams submitted executive summaries, and 23 were selected for the April 1 semifinal round. Their plans represent industries ranging from computer software and hardware to green energy, consumer products, medical devices, biotech products and others.

Bay Area and Silicon Valley venture capitalists will judge the plans in the semifinal and final rounds.

After April 1, six to eight finalists will advance to the final round and compete for $52,500 in prizes. They will pitch their plans before a public audience at the Haas School on Thursday, April 28. Before the winners and the best technology prize are announced, the audience will vote on the 2005 People's Choice Award.

Supporting the competition is the lead sponsor, Intel Capital; along with the Silver Sponsors: Sevin Rosen Funds, QUALCOMM Incorporated, Blue Run Ventures (formerly Nokia Ventures) and ComVentures; Bronze Sponsors: Foundation Capital, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, Reed Smith, Versant Ventures, Palo Alto Software, Morgenthaler Ventures, Advanced Technology Ventures, and Newforth Partners; and Friends of the Business Plan Competition: Morgan Stanley, Draper Fisher, G-Office & Kevin Warnock, American River Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank, Max Shapiro-People Connect and Goldman Sachs.

For more information, go to http://bplan.berkeley.edu or contact Ute Frey at the Haas School at (510) 642-0342 or frey@haas.berkeley.edu.