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MARCH 2011        RSSPrint PrintEller College on Facebook FacebookPrint Twitter     

McGuire Entrepreneurship at Work
Venture Team Updates: MSDx and TruckItNow

The MSDx team
The MSDx team after its McGuire Business Plan
Competition presentation in 2005 (left to right):
Alan Conger, Stephen Bassett, Marie Wesselhoft,
and Simran Nirh.

Over the past five years, the winning ventures in the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship’s year-end showcase and competition have all gone on to launch.

This year, representatives from each of those ventures will speak to the current group of McGuire entrepreneurs during the current students’ capstone class, sharing insights alumni gleaned from the process of transitioning an intensive academic experience into a funded and viable venture.

Two of those alumnus-launched ventures, MSDx, Inc. and TruckItNow, Inc., are the recipients of Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) grants.

MSDx was awarded a grant of up to $226,000 to be used to produce the company’s first research-only product, scheduled for completion by September 30, 2011. This allows MSDx to launch its test kits to the researchers who will use the product in their multiple sclerosis research.

“This ACA grant will enable us to accelerate our progress toward providing a simple blood test for multiple sclerosis, a disease that has not previously had a blood test,” said Marie Wesselhoft, president of MSDx, who completed the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program in 2006.

MSDx is also one of the Arizona companies selected to receive a portion of the $1.5 million Arizona Innovation Challenge award. The Challenge drew entries from 108 companies, and a panel of reviewers selected the final eight recipients. MSDx was awarded two Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project (QTDP) grants totaling $204,671 in November 2010.

The TruckItNow team
TruckItNow venture team members at the 2010
McGuire Center Year-End Showcase (left to right):
Cody Nicholls, Micky Thompson, and Jarret
Hamstreet, with McGuire Center namesake Chris

TruckItNow, helmed by 2010 McGuire Center alumni Micky Thompson and Jarret Hamstreet, will receive a grant of up to $139,000 to commercialize its flagship product, Post.Bid.Ship.℠

“We are excited and humbled to join such a distinguished group of Arizona Innovation Challenge grant recipients. We look forward to putting these funds to good use—creating jobs for Arizonans and continuing to build a successful company,” said Thompson, CEO of TruckItNow.

A key requirement of the Arizona Innovation Challenge grant is the recipient’s ability to bring its product to market by September 2011. Post.Bid.Ship. launched the first version of its product in December 2010, with the full release expected in April 2011.

The ACA grants are part of the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund and Government Services Fund, administered by the U.S. Department of Education and the Governor’s Office of Economic Recovery.

Learn more about current student McGuire Center ventures in action at

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