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Draper Fisher Jurvetson, DFJ Frontier, and Zone Ventures Award $250,000 to NeuroVigil in Fourth Annual DFJ Venture Challenge.

UC San Diego Startup Bests 16 Teams from 12 Universities in Competition for Seed Funding

MENLO PARK, Calif. -- Leading early-stage venture capital firms Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) and its network partners DFJ Frontier and Zone Ventures hosted the fourth annual DFJ Venture Challenge in Menlo Park on Wednesday. With a grand prize of $250,000 in seed stage funding, the competition is believed to be the largest winner-take-all business plan competition for university students. During the morning session, 16 teams from 12 universities on the West Coast presented business plans to a panel of 10 judges, comprised of venture capitalists from the DFJ Network. Six teams were selected as finalists and presented extended versions of their business plans and answered further questions from the judges in a second round of competition in the afternoon.

Following the final round of judging, NeuroVigil was awarded $250,000 in seed funding. NeuroVigil is poised to revolutionize brain analysis and plans to target the sleep, transportation, and pharmaceutical industries. The company, which comprises several Nobel Laureates and leading business strategists, was founded in 2007 by Dr. Philip Low, who, as a graduate student at the Salk Institute, developed a new way to analyze brain activity using a single non-invasive probe. Dr. Low has formed collaborations with organizations ranging from MIT to Novartis to use sleep patterns as indicators of illness.

Other finalists included Advanced Enological Closures (UC Davis), Athleon (University of Washington), Cascade Clean Energy (Stanford University), City Media (UCLA), and Impel Neuropharma (University of Washington).

"Every year, the competing teams present more innovative ideas and stronger business plans than the previous year," said Tim Draper, managing director, DFJ. "With a number of potentially successful business plans covering a wide range of industries, it always comes down to a tough choice, but this year, NeuroVigil stood out from the pack. We're excited to have chosen NeuroVigil, and we look forward to helping them flourish."

"We are honored to receive this recognition, especially given the strength of the other teams and the experience of the judging panel," said Dr. Philip Low, chief executive officer and founder of NeuroVigil. "We are eager to work with the DFJ team and network to launch NeuroVigil into higher orbits."

An audience of angel investors, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, service providers, and others was in attendance, providing an excellent networking opportunity for all competitors. The sponsors of this year's Venture Challenge include ATEL Ventures, MacCorkle Insurance Service, law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips,, and public relations firm Prequent, Inc.

About Draper Fisher Jurvetson

Draper Fisher Jurvetson is the pre-eminent venture capital firm with global presence through a network of affiliated funds, with offices in more than 33 cities around the world and over $5.5 billion in capital commitments. DFJ's mission is to identify, serve, and provide capital for extraordinary entrepreneurs anywhere who are determined to change the world. Over the past twenty years, DFJ has been proud to back more than 300 companies across many sectors, including such industry-changing catalysts as Hotmail (acquired by MSFT), Baidu (BIDU), Skype (acquired by EBAY), United Online (UNTD), Overture (acquired by YHOO), Interwoven (IWOV), Four11 (acquired by YHOO), Parametric (PMTC), and Digidesign (acquired by AVID). For more information, visit:

About DFJ Frontier

DFJ Frontier is a venture capital fund known for early stage investing in a broad range of technology companies throughout the West Coast. DFJ Frontier backs passionate entrepreneurs and provides business assistance, not just capital. The firm typically leads the first round of investment, taking a significant stake in the company and an active role on the Board of Directors. DFJ Frontier is an affiliate of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and has offices in Sacramento and Santa Barbara, California. For more information, visit:

About Zone Ventures

Zone Ventures is a partnership funded by institutional investors for the purpose of providing equity capital to early-stage high-growth companies, with a focus on information technology businesses. Zone is located in Los Angeles and has been instrumental in building the Southern California Technology Community, forging relationships with universities, R&D labs, entrepreneurs and financial institutions to bridge the gap between the revolutionary technologies of tomorrow and the investment capital of today. Besides capital, Zone Ventures provides strategic development and relationships to its portfolio companies. They are active board members and have the energy, experience and contacts to help take the company to the next stage and beyond. For more information, visit:
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:May 30, 2008
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