May 1, 2008

Prof’s Online Video Library Licensed to Start-Up Company

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Getting the busy CEOs of Citigroup, Nike Inc. or PepsiCo to come to a Cornell classroom is an arduous task. A near-substitute, however, is made possible with eClips, a free and open online collection of nearly 11,000 video clips of interviews and presentations by business experts.
eClips was initiated more than a decade ago by Prof. Deborah Streeter, applied economics and management. Designed for classroom use, most of the clips are only a few minutes long and can be integrated into PowerPoint presentations. The free and open website now boasts users in more than 1,200 universities in over 75 countries.
Recently, Streeter announced that the online video library has been licensed to a startup company called eClipsNet, LLC.
“eClips is what I call an academic entrepreneurial adventure that is now going to have an associated commercial venture,” said Streeter, who is also the Bruce F. Failing Sr. Professor of Personal Enterprise.
Apart from Streeter, other founders include Jamie Kalousdian, applied economics and management, and Kirsten Barker ’92.
According to Streeter, there are several reasons behind eClips’ commercialization. The revolutionary success of the three-year-old YouTube website has changed the market for online video clips, bringing new demands for eClips to do things “that would be very hard to do inside the University,” she said.
The group is also creating ClipWiser, a for-profit website that is aimed for new entrepreneurs.
“We are ‘spinning out’ a new company so we can do things that don’t fit under the banner of the non-profit entity,” Streeter said.
[img_assist|nid=30406|title=Total eClips of the heart|desc=Prof. Deborah Streeter is the founder of eClips, a collection of video clips on entrepreneurship and business.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]In addition, the licensing would also help bring revenue to improve eClips’s content for the student population.
“As a startup new venture based on 14 years of academic research and development, we will certainly have more access to funding and with such an exciting business, we expect to see a lot of interest from media-savvy investors,” Streeter said.
“Think of it this way: the University side of eClips continues to do the research and development and the commercial side works on marketplace applications,” she said.
Apart from showing short clips in a lecture, some instructors at Cornell find eClips a good resource for preparing course materials. James Quest, a visiting lecturer who teaches several Hotel Administration courses, described eClips as “wonderful.” He said he uses the website to find quotes for his lectures.
Although most of the eClips videos provide advice on business management and entrepreneurship, some students claim that it is also a useful tool outside of classroom.
“For example, you want to know what investment banking companies look for in an interview. The quickest way is to go to eClips. You will know in 30 seconds,” said Chi Fan Johnson Cheng ’09, a student representative of eClips.
The founding of eClipsNet is assisted by KensaGroup, which Streeter described as a “great business partner.” Prof. Bruce Ganem, chemistry and chemical biology, co-founder of KensaGroup, said that his firm “creates and builds successful technology companies around university inventions and innovations.”
KensaGroup worked on behalf of eClips in negotiations with the Cornell Center for Technology Enterprise and Commercialization, according to Ganem, who is also the J. Thomas Clark Professor of Entrepreneurship at Cornell.
After the launch of eClipNet, KensaGroup will continue to provide management expertise and network contacts for the startup company. In addition, it will also actively manage the startup at the time of launch, identify management resources and secure early funding, according to Ganem.
Tony Eisenhut ’88, co-founder and managing director of KensaGroup, is optimistic about eClips’s future.
“eClips has the potential to become part of the ‘daily diet’ of entrepreneurs and business people alike,” she said. It is the equivalent of candid talented consultants and career coaches available to you anytime at anyplace.”