NIKA Water Founder Visits SDSUThe Lavin Entrepreneurship Center was privileged to host serial entrepreneur Jeff Church on April 29, 2013. Mr. Church is the founder of NIKA Water Company, a social enterprise that donates 100% of its profits to improving sanitation conditions around the world. NIKA has completed its projects in Sri Lanka, Kenya, Nicaragua, Uganda and other developing countries. He is also the CEO of Suja Juice, an organic juice company that combines cold-pressed juice with natural nutritional components. Mr. Church first met with the Lavin Entrepreneurship students to talk about his ventures and experiences he gained as part of the L. Robert Payne Lecture Series. He argued the importance of equity as he stated: “Young people do not understand the value of equity and tend to pay more attention to the bonuses; but you do not want to repeat your home run, you want to know the value of the equity you have established and utilize it thoughtfully.” Mr. Church was then the guest speaker at the L. Robert Payne Speaker Series held at the Fowler Athletics Auditorium at San Diego State University (SDSU). His lecture focused on social entrepreneurship and the idea that a passionate entrepreneur can create a venture not only for his own benefits, but also for all those in need. He also explained the benefit of creating a personal business. Mr. Church holds that “pure startup is absolutely different from buying a business; it is better because creativity is always better,” he believes.
Robert Payne Lecture Series     Jeff Church     NIKA Water
Tower Paddle Boards Founder Meets with Lavin StudentsThe Lavin Entrepreneurship Center was honored to welcome Mr. Stephen Aarstol, the founder and the owner of Tower Paddle Boards, on Friday, April 12, 2013. This young company has been labeled a “top 10” by the ABC TV show “Shark Tank.” Mr. Aarstol met with the Lavin students and discussed the difficulties the entrepreneur faces when establishing a new company, especially the difficulty in raising capital. “Nowadays, raising money is extremely difficult,” he said. “You should utilize every opportunity to promote your company; for me, “Shark Tank” was not only a great investment pitch, it was also a chance to expose the business to 7 million viewers.” Mr. Aarstol spoke about what he had to do to grow his online start-up into a multi-million paddle board retailer within only 3 years.
Mr. Stephen Aarstol decided to launch a stand up paddle board (SUP) company, after a paddleboard session in La Jolla Shores in 2010. Less than a year after opening the online store, Tower Paddle Boards was selected to be on ABC’s TV show “Shark Tank” to pitch to their panel of investors. During the show, Mark Cuban, the owner of Dallas Mavericks and Landmark Theaters, offered him a deal to invest $150,000 for a 30% stake in Tower Paddle Boards with the 1st right of refusal to invest in any future business ventures of Mr. Aarstol. Tower Paddle Boards made $1.7 million in sales last year, and is expecting to reach $4 million in 2013.
"Shark Tank" on ABC     Mark Cuban     Tower Paddle Boards     Stephen Aarstol
Domain Associates Gives SDSU MBA Students an Investment InsightOn April 10, 2013, Domain Associates, LLC held its April monthly meeting in the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center on the SDSU campus. SDSU MBA students enrolled in the graduate class “Managing a Growing Firm,” taught by Alex F. DeNoble, Professor of Management in the College of Business Administration (CBA) and the Executive Director of the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center, had a unique opportunity to witness the venture capitalists’ decision making process and obtain unique experience from listening to the partners’ conversations. The students learned first-hand about cram-down deals, crossover investment strategies and the importance of private investments in public equity (PIPE) from Domain Partners.
Domain Associates, founded in 1985, is a venture capital firm with a focus in life sciences and biotechnological companies. It has $2.4 billion in capital under management and has grown 240+ life-sciences companies over the last 28 years. Among the most well-known portfolio companies are Align Technoligy Inc. (Invisalign® invisible braces), Goodwell Technologies, Inc. (IT to allow for remote doctor-patient interaction), and IntraLase Corporation (devices for laser correction of vision). Mr. Brian H. Dovey, a Senior Partner with Domain Associates, and Dr. DeNoble have fostered a long-term relationship between the firm and SDSU CBA. This relationship has allowed graduate students to learn about common growth challenges of young companies from the perspective of premier venture capitalists. Mr. Dovey has participated in SDSU graduate classes for over fifteen years. He co-teaches six sessions of the management course and brings Domain Partners’ April Meetings to the SDSU campus.
Domain Associates, LLC     Brian H. Dovey      Invisalign®
Start-Up @ State Fuels Early Stage Companies in San DiegoStart-Up @ State is an annual event designed to unite the local San Diego young companies with SDSU students. This year, the event was hosted by Start-up Circle, SDSU Entrepreneur Society (ES) and the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center on April 15th, 2013. The first part of the event was a panel of start-up founders, including Kristian Rauhala from PEAR Sports, Ryan Jones from MOGL, Alan Cole from TakeLessons and Juliet Oberding from Predictably Well. The entrepreneurs shared their adventurous start-up stories and interacted with students during a Q&A section. Next, students attended a career fair where thirty-five local start-ups recruited them for internships, part-time, or full-time jobs. The companies were from diverse industries ranging from sporting goods to high technology fields. The students and start-ups enjoyed the interaction. Brian Kidwell, the President of the Entrepreneur Society and an undergraduate business student, described it as an “incredible experience.” Sharee Loeffler, the founder of GetMeRated, noted there was a "high caliber of students."
Start-Up @State     PEAR Sports     MOGL     TakeLessons     Predictably Well     GetMeRated
Student Profile – Jon TuckerJon Tucker graduated Summa Cum Laude from SDSU with a degree in Marketing in 2009. While on campus, he was President of Entrepreneur Society, a member of the inaugural Lavin Entrepreneur Program, and finalist in the Lavin Business Plan Competition. During his school years, Jon began a number of businesses, including a marketing agency designed to help businesses grow online. By leveraging opportunities such as internship programs and the mentors in the Lavin VentureStart Program, Jon was able to grow Compete Marketing Group significantly through his years at SDSU.
Since graduating in 2009, Jon has built Compete Marketing Group to work with businesses across the US and Canada and has launched multiple online businesses through Compete Enterprise Group. He continues to stay active on campus through the Entrepreneur Society and Lavin Entrepreneurship Center, as he feels these programs were instrumental in his entrepreneurial path thus far.
Compete Marketing Group      SDSU Entrepreneur Society