Posted on 4/4/2013. Interview by Howie Rhee
Tell us about yourself
Albert Hu ‘14: I'm a junior in biomedical engineering from Toronto, Canada.
Tell us about your time at Duke, what were you involved in?
Mike: My time at Duke has been truly amazing. I have participated in the Duke Start Up Challenge all 3 years. I am also involved with the Duke Smart Home and IM basketball. Throughout these first 3 years at Duke, I truly learned a lot, not only academically but also about how to approach and resolve problems. My time at Duke has truly taught me a lot and I hope to bring these into my life later on to help me succeed.
What's your major/program and when will you be graduating? Tell us something about your educational experience at Duke.
Mike: BME and finance and I will be graduating in May 2014.
Albert: Biomedical engineering, May 2014.
Tell us about your idea.
Fish filleting is the most common type of fish processing that occurs in North America and it generates a lot of fish byproduct including organs, bones, tails, and heads. These are treated as waste when in fact they are not. In China, there is currently a great lack of raw materials for fish oil and meal. The fish byproduct waste from North America can be used to supply this demand in China in creating the needed fish oil and meal.
How did you come up with your idea? When did you come up with it?
Mike: This idea occurred to me a few years back on a trip to Alaska with my father. I saw that a lot of fish processing companies were dumping this waste into the ocean. I later found out that these companies lacked a better way of dealing with this waste. After further research, FishCycle was born.
How did you meet your team members?
I first met Albert Hu during my freshmen year. He lived in the room next to mine in Epworth dorm. We are both BME majors and had very similar interests and we have been the best of friends ever since.
How has the Duke Start-Up Challenge been helpful to you?
Mike: The Duke Start Up Challenge has been extremely helpful in helping us further edit and improve FishCycle. We have had many judges look at our business plan and operations and all their feedback has been invaluable.
Albert: -Exposed us to many interested advisors
-Judges feedback shaped our ideas in business strategies
-Helped us recruit potential members
The Duke Start-Up Challenge provides a lot of feedback from over 100 judges. Can you talk about that experience of reviewing the feedback?
Reviewing the feedback was a great experience in that it not only helped us address our previous concerns, but it also brings up some new issues that we might not have thought of. This allows us to greatly improve FishCycle to ensure smoother operations.
Did you connect with any judges for advice, and if so, who were they and was it helpful?
Mike: Yes, we connected with Mr. John D.C. Miles and he was very helpful.
Albert: Judges come from various background, including many business consultant, marketing professional, lawyers and business development officials. Their opinions gave a wide range of excellent advice.
What advice do you have for Duke students that are thinking of starting a company?
Mike: I think it is very important to be observant of things around you and reach out to other entrepreneurs for advice and experiences.
Albert: Explore all resources, DUhatch, summer entrepreneurship internship, Duke Start up challenge, join Duke Venture Forward, inCube etc.
Want more? Watch the videos and read the other interviews for all of the Round 3 teams in the Duke Start-Up Challenge
And join us for the Grand Finale with David Cummings ’02 for the 14th Annual Duke Start-Up Challenge on Thursday, April 11th, 2013 at 7:30pm ET at Fuqua’s Geneen Auditorium. RSVP on Facebook
Not able to attend in person? Watch the livestream on Duke’s YouTube channel.