Dartmouth Entrepreneurs Forum Draws Record Crowd to Campus

Tuck, Thayer, and Dartmouth collaboration win the top prize at startup competition.

Clairways, a maker of lung monitoring technology that was founded by Dartmouth, Thayer, and Tuck graduates, won the Jeff Crowe ’78 grand prize at this year’s Dartmouth Entrepreneurs Forum, netting the company $25,000 in cash and $25,000 in in-kind startup help and advice.

The competition was sponsored by the Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship, the organizer of the forum, which drew a record 433 attendees to the Dartmouth campus on March 29.

The forum featured a keynote discussion with Mark Mader ’92, CEO of Smartsheet collaboration software, and Jeff Crowe ’78, managing director of Norwest Venture Partners, Dartmouth trustee and chair of the Magnuson Center board of advisers. The day included a number of panel discussions, networking opportunities, awards presentations, and speeches, including remarks by Rick Magnuson ’78, founder of GI Partners, a private investment firm whose gift, made with his wife, Allison, laid the foundation for the Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship.

“I am humbled and honored by the response to this year’s Dartmouth Entrepreneurs Forum,” says Jamie Coughlin, director of the Magnuson Center. “The participation by all our stakeholders— students, faculty, staff, alumni and our greater Northeast community—the diversity of its content, and the vitality of its participants make it a high impact event that has become one of the hallmark programs of our entrepreneurial community.”

entrepreneurs_startup-810.jpg

Participants celebrating after the final round
Participants celebrating after the national startup competition final round are, from left, Jamie Coughlin, director of the Magnuson Center; Travis Gere and Heather Gere, founders of third-place winning startup campersAPP; Steve Kahl, faculty director of Tuck’s Center for Entrepreneurship; Justice Amoh’13, Thayer ’13, and Jeff Bemowski, Tuck ’18, founders of grand prize winner Clairways; Ted Pine; Hugh O’Reilly ’86, Jonathan Fisher ’86, and Carla Emmons ’97, creators of second-place finisher Cognaisent; Laura Rippy ’89, Steve Rodgers ’93, and Phil Ferneau ’84, startup competition judges; and Jeff Crowe ’78, Dartmouth trustee and chair of the Magnuson Center. (Courtesy of the Magnuson Center)

Hanover-based Clairways, which took the top prize out of a field of 80 startup contestants, was founded by Justice Amoh ’13, Thayer ’13, a PhD candidate at Thayer; Jeffrey Bemowski, Tuck ’18; and Associate Professor of Engineering Kofi Odame. The company makes a wearable device that automatically tracks lung function, designed for use in pharmaceutical clinical trials. Clairways also won the People’s Choice Award at the final event in the startup competition, which brought an additional $2,500 in cash.

Also at the forum, Dartmouth’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer presented the Dartmouth Technology Innovation and Commercialization Award and named Professor of Engineering Laura Ray and Associate Professor of Engineering B. Stuart Trembly this year’s recipients. In addition to serving as interim dean of Thayer and teaching thermodynamics and engineering design, Ray has founded two medical technology companies. In addition to teaching, Trembly is the inventor and co-investor of 12 patents owned by Dartmouth College.

Professor Eric Fossum, associate provost for entrepreneurship and technology transfer, says this year’s technology innovation and commercialization awards highlight two individuals who, through their inventive and entrepreneurial talents, have made strong contributions to Dartmouth and society. 

“Professors Laura Ray and Stu Trembly are great examples of why this award was created and showcase the strength of our Dartmouth faculty,” Fossum says.

In addition to Coughlin, the selection committee for this year’s award included Provost Joseph Helble; Professor Dean Madden, vice provost for research; Associate Professor Steven Kahl ’91, faculty director of the Tuck Center for Entrepreneurship; Associate Provost Fossum, the John H. Krehbiel Sr. Professor for Emerging Technologies; Jeffrey Crowe ’78, Dartmouth trustee and chair of the Magnuson Center; Nila Bhakuni, director of the office of technology transfer.

The Magnuson Center was established to attract and support more entrepreneurially minded students, faculty and alumni at the College, offer co-curricular programs for developing diverse new ventures, and connect students, faculty, and staff with successful alumni ventures. The center, which is currently located at 4 Currier Place, will be located in a new building now under construction on the west end of campus.

William Platt can be reached at [email protected].