Welcome to GSVC Matchmaker

This blog has been created by GSVC to facilitate matchmaking among entrepreneurs with business plans and potential entrants. Business students looking for ventures and ventures looking for business school students are encouraged to share opportunities and interests here!

For ventures seeking student talent:

Please send a short description of your venture, including stage, sector, geographic location, specific project you need student help with, and contact information to gsvc [at] haas.berkeley.edu. Please keep your business background and description to 1-2 paragraphs, and your summary of desired talent characteristics to 1 paragraph or several bullets. Please also include your location, contact information, and preferred method of contact.

All of this information will be posted by GSVC as an Entry on this site.

For students seeking a venture:

Please browse the ventures posted here and contact them either by posting a comment to the appropriate venture, or by contacting them directly.

If you have any questions about GSVC's entrant requirements, please consult the GSVC website: www.gsvc.org.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Social Pain
Government and non-profit disaster preparedness initiatives have failed. By the Red Cross’ own statistics, only 6% of Bay Area families are prepared for a disaster. Aside from lacking a compelling product, the major reason these groups have failed is that they market from the top down. They post billboards on the side of the freeway and blanket the airwaves with commercials, but people don’t listen.

The Solution
LReady solves this problem by approaching preparedness from the bottom up and leveraging the power schools and families have over parents. In the same way students spearheaded antismoking efforts after learning about the harmful effects of cigarettes in school, LReady will educate students about disaster preparedness so they can get their parents to take action at home.

LReady does this by providing schools with the tools they need to get prepared internally and educate their students about emergency safety. For example, LReady provides schools with curriculum materials that culminate in a homework assignment to build a disaster plan at home with the web-based LReady platform. The LReady website provides its users with the tools they need to quickly build disaster plans, buy the proper emergency supplies, and stay connected with a multi-channel messaging system during a actual emergencies.

To see exactly how this works, please visit our product demo at www.lready.com/schools.

What We Need
We are looking for a graduate student who wants to lead the development of our GSVC business plan entry and perhaps have an ongoing role in the company. We need specific help with sales, strategy, and software development.
We will provide all student team members with a modest stock options package. If you happen to be a programmer with experience in Flash, Flex, or ActionScript, we can send some cash your way too.

The Company
LReady is a for-profit corporation. The beta version of the non-messaging planning system will be launching in January. Schools are signed up for the pilot launch, and the company is revenue generating through its brick and mortar channels.


Chris Hulls, chris@lready.com, (415) 462-0002 x706.


We're building a community website for avid book readers.

This can be a highly profitable venture by monetizing a mature, educated and affluent audience and by enabling authors, small publishers and independent booksellers to connect with communities of dedicated and intellectually engaged readers.

It can also have positive social impact by resisting the homogenization of culture and promoting literacy, especially among the younger population, by adding a social dimension to books.

We're looking for a current graduate business student or recent grad to contribute to our social and marketing strategy and help us win the Global Social Venture Plan Competition.


Those interested please contact florianpestoni at hotmail dot com.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Market for Change

Vision and Scope

Millions graduate from sub-Saharan Africa's tertiary institutions each year and face unemployment rates of over 60%. Educated young people have two options: either stay in their home countries and face unemployment, or go overseas and contribute to the "brain drain."

Outsourcing customer support and back office functions has provided over a million jobs in India, China and the Philippines. We believe the same thing can happen in Africa, if two major hurdles are addressed: negative perceptions of the continent (fueled by a belief that all countries and locations carry the same risks) and of outsourcing in general, and structural problems with current business models for brokering outsourcing deals to Africa.

Market for Change aims to tackle these challenges by:

1.Developing a global set of quality and fair trade/social impact ("Responsible Outsourcing") standards designed for small and medium-sized companies in developing countries

2.Creating a web-based brokerage and escrow service that screens vendors according to these standards and acts as a legal and financial intermediary between US clients and African firms

3.Showcasing social impact with a custom-built wiki for content generated by students and workers in the industry

Opportunities for Graduate Students

We are looking for students for a range of roles. Most critically, MfC needs help developing a marketing plan to pitch outsourcing services to non-profits and socially-responsible businesses in the US. We are also looking for help with our financial plan and revenue model (based on commissions from the brokerage service).

Contact Information

Leila Chirayath
Market for Change | www.marketforchange.org
mobile: +1 917 856 9933
skype: leila.chirayath

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


People and technology making language learning come alive

InterLangua provides ‘foreign’ language tutors from developing countries to U.S. universities, corporations and individuals. The tutors live in their own countries and work over Internet using a high quality, low bandwidth video conference. Currently Spanish language tutors from Guatemala work with U.S. students at Yale, Duke, Marist College and Nextel, among others. InterLangua-Chinese will launch from Shenzhen, P.R. China in January 2008, the only wholly foreign-owned company located in a Chinese government sponsored business incubator..

InterLangua is committed to training knowledge workers in emerging economies. Our tutors provide U.S. clients with one-to-one tutorials in their native language. The student logs on to their language tutorial from the convenience of their laptop or desktop. Tutor and student see each other with full-motion video, and hear and speak synchronously. These one-on-one sessions, based solely on the curriculum needs of the student, allow for maximum language speaking fluency and convenience. The tutors also learn how to use an advanced set of technologies and to develop collaborative teaching methods. By moving their language tutoring skills from isolated locations to the U.S., tutors earn substantially more than they otherwise would.

InterLangua seeks assistance to resolve issues pertaining to scaling an entrepreneurial, transnational service business. Some of the business skills we seek include the following:
  • Analysis of current consolidated business plan
  • Prepare current business financial model for venture financing
  • Synthesize marketing and coordinate sales strategies in new market segments
  • Provide cross-cultural training and team development systems

Explore our website at www.interlangua.com to understand our exciting services. Please note: the InterLangua-Chinese website will launch in two months so all available tutorial services are currently for Spanish.

InterLangua contact information:
Elisabeth Montgomery, Ph.D. – General Regional Manager/Pacific Rim
Office: Emeryville, CA Contact: 510-301-2104

Kid Scoop

Kid Scoop is a newspaper feature published in more than 400 newspapers in the United States, Thailand, Uganda, Canada, and Korea. The page’s weekly circulation is 7.5 million.

As a company, Kid Scoop addresses two key issues: youth disenfranchisement and the state of journalism.

Research and educational experts agree that disenfranchisement, a lack of connection to school and community, and low academic skills lead to problems that diminish human potential creating serious social problems.

Kid Scoop’s program provides community newspapers with proven tools and structures to improve literacy rates and provide children a way to connect with their community.

Kid Scoop’s potential for integrating its proven and easily replicated educational program into the structures of thousands of community newspaper business models worldwide opens a door for global communication and understanding on a weekly, even daily basis.

The goal of the Kid Scoop Foundation is to develop funding for outreach and educational programs that support community newspapers in setting up partnerships with schools to forward literacy and civic participation.

A graduate student would assist in the development of a strategic plan, identify potential funders and partners and develop proposals for these potential funders and partners. We are particularily interested in a student with knowledge of the web and how we can expand training and programming to small newspapers around the world in a cost-effective way using the internet.

Vicki Whiting
President and Founder
Kid Scoop
(707) 996-6077
181 Andrieux Suite 200
Sonoma, CA 95476

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Catalog Choice

Catalog Choice - a national direct mail opt-out site. The site currently focuses on catalogs but can easily be expanded to other forms of mail. The service is free to consumers. There is a companion service that we are offering to Merchants whereby we provide them with the list of opt-out requests in machine readable form. The service is provided by Catalog Choice, a project of the Ecology Center; National Wildlife Federation and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). You can visit the site at www.catalogchoice.og. Our merchant service is profiled at www.catalogchoice.org/merchant. The site launched on October 9, 2007. Within four weeks, we have 100,000 registered users opting out of over 750,000 catalog titles.

Chuck Teller
Executive Director
Catalog Choice at chuck@catalogchoice.org

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Consume Alert

Consume Alert is a FOR-Profit start-up with a social mission. Through a suite of web-based applications and services, Consume Alert will protect consumers from unknowingly purchasing or retaining recalled and otherwise hazardous products, vastly reducing the 27,100 deaths and 33.1 million injuries related to consumer products that occur each year in the US alone. Consume Alert is currently being developed by a team grad students, with input from several faculty advisors, from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and School of Information (formerly SIMS).

Our greatest need for the founding team is for web-developers, especially those with skills in MySQL, PHP and XML.

There are also several other areas in which students could get involved for class projects and b-plan teams:

- Web Design
- Market research
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Issues related to IP and the Web
- Financial modeling and analysis
- Social impact analysis

In addition to the GSVC, we will be entering the Berkeley B-plan competion, and potentially other business plan competitions. We are also scheduled to present to VCs in December. Any student working on the b-plan or otherwise involved with the project will have the opportunity to participate in these events.

Jennifer P. Toney
MBA Candidate, 2008
Haas School of Business
University of California, Berkeley

Investment Tool

I would like to develop an online investment tool to help independent investors invest in SRI funds and responsible companies.

While working at KLD Research and Analytics (a socially responsible investment research firm), I became aware of the lack of SRI tools for independent investors. Most SRI funds and research outfits work primarily or exclusively with institutional investors and large public pension funds. There is a lack of awareness among independent investors about SRI funds, opportunities to invest in more environmentally/socially responsible companies, and information about the ROI on those SRI opportunities. As a result, individual investors who might be interested in SRI must do their own SRI research (which makes them absorb an opportunity cost for that time). It also forces investors to locate and pay for an advisor that specializes in this, which raises fees and may not deliver a return that matches the fees.

My idea is to create some type of online tool to help independent investors invest in SRI funds and companies with positive social/environmental performance. It would kind be an SRI version of Ameritrade or E*Trade on which investors can learn about and invest in a variety of SRI funds or make single trades based on companies’ social and financial performance. My theory is that if you can make SRI more accessible to independent investors and demonstrate that returns can be decent, you can tap into a large market of socially-minded independent investors and small social ventures who like the idea of SRI but have limited means and time to find a money manager knowledgeable about SRI strategy. My goal is for the holdings to be quite liquid so that lower-net-worth investors (i.e. younger people) have an incentive to save and invest their money but still be able to “withdraw” it easily. The tool should focus on ease of use, point-of-investment information about social responsibility, and quality of investment opportunities.

Ways that others can help/get involved in launching this business plan:
  • Web-development and software engineering
  • Research – researching ROI of SRI funds; developing and executing framework to select socially responsible companies
  • Marketing – assessing market for individual investment in SRI
  • Product development
  • Business plan development
  • Development of SROI (social impact assessment)
Megha Doshi | MBA Candidate 2009 | UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
1.224.875.2368 (mobile) | megha_doshi@mba.berkeley.edu

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Sophia's Garden

The mission of Sophia’s Garden Foundation is to proliferate a compassionate and highly effective way of caring for children with life-threatening conditions, a way that enables families to take charge of their child's health care to ensure the quality of all their lives. We call this approach Healing in Community. It is our belief that healing is, inherently, a community endeavor and that the healing in community approach can:

  • Improve the quality of life for child and family
  • Expand society’s capacity for caregiving, while reducing social costs of illness
  • Create a wellspring of growth and healing for all community members
  • Develop an open, living knowledge base of healing that is accessible to all
  • Focus on living fully and embracing transformation
Our first initiative is to create an integrated, Web-based survival kit for families of children diagnosed with life-threatening conditions, Healing in Community™ Online, that informs, supports and enables families to harness the power of community to address all of their needs—physical, emotional, financial, social, cultural and spiritual.

Graduate Student
A graduate student could play in the development of the venture: We are in start-up mode and have no paid staff a t this time. I am working, as a volunteer, to develop the Business Plan, and would welcome help from a grad student who is familiar with (or would like to research) effective funding models for non-profit social entrepreneurs.

Chuck Walrad

Berkeley Sourcing Group

I have a small business which provides turn-key manufacturing solutions to American businesses looking to produce their products in China. I have partnered with a Chinese gentleman who helps manage overseas offices and employees allowing us to remain small but have access to substantial engineering, sourcing, and quality control resources with over 200 hundred employees in seven offices located throughout China. While we service a vast range of industries, our focus is on innovative products for clients with net sales between $2-20 million/annum.
One of my personal goals in developing this business is to use our purchasing influence to improve working and environmental conditions in China. I believe there are a couple different ways in which a graduate student could learn a lot and contribute to our efforts. After operating for two years we have recently landed a couple major clients and I would like to develop a marketing plan which can:
  1. Effectively use our newly acquired capitol to grow our business
  2. Develop our brand name with an emphasis on social responsibility
  3. Identify advantageous marketing channels
The second is that I have recently come across a newly developed product from a Chinese manufacturer who would like my help to market and distribute his product in America. For this project I am also looking for help with a marketing plan and distribution channels. The product is a high-tech cell phone accessory. I would be interested in attending the lunch session and discussing more about these opportunities with you and the other students.

Berkeley Sourcing Group
2012B Hearst Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94709
Phone: (415)646-5440
China Cell: (86)13434459223
SkypeIn: (415)315-9804
Fax: (510)665-4127
e-mail: gfisher@berkeleysg.com
web: www.berkeleysg.com