Lassonde New Venture Development Program

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Pizza Restaurant Project

One-on-one interaction with a family business, interested in opening a pizza restaurant in the Salt Lake City Valley. Xan analyzed the current competitive landscape, created a full-blown marketing campaign, and hypothesized market entry. He was part of a team of three members.

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The Pierre and Claudette MacKay Lassonde New Venture Development Center, a division of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah, provides an opportunity for graduate students to work side-by-side with faculty inventors, providing them with business advice and strategic planning to bring their product into the marketplace.

Over the course of the year-long program, New Venture Development Center student associates engage with on-campus resources and business professionals, while building out a lasting professional network. The program is open to graduate students from any major at the U.

http://lassonde.utah.edu/new-venture-development/


Lassonde Institute

The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute is a nationally ranked hub for student entrepreneurs and innovators at the University of Utah and an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business. The institute provides many programs to help students master the enterpreneurial mindset and launch new companies and initiatives. Xan is part of the Lassonde New Venture Development Program.

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Lassonde NVD Mission

The Lassonde New Venture Development Center’s mission is to assist researchers with breakthrough technologies and determine the commercialization potential of those ideas while providing students a unique educational experience in new business development.

The New Venture Development Center is comprised of graduate students from engineering, science, business and other majors. The center is run by an accomplished local entrepreneur, with an advisory board made up of venture capitalists and inventor/entrepreneurs.

How the Program Works

During a year-long program, students receive weekly mentoring and teaching from both the executive director and local professionals. Students are trained in the various disciplines involved with early-stage business development, from intellectual property to market analysis and strategy to writing a business plan. While receiving this training, students work in teams to evaluate and develop business opportunities based on real technologies coming out of the labs at the University of Utah. The result is an unparalleled, real-world education in technology entrepreneurship that will create future leaders in the high tech industry.

How We Help Faculty/Companies

The Lassonde New Venture Development Center’s aim is not only to ensure university technologies for education, but also to use the educational process to add value to a potential high-tech company. The transition from breakthrough invention to a marketable product and startup company is a leap of faith, often requiring a large investment of both time and money from the inventor. The New Venture Development Center works to narrow that gap and decrease risk for the entrepreneur. The services we offer for technologies that pass preliminary evaluation criteria include:

  • Finding and evaluating market applications for the product(s)
  • Extensive research into the size, growth, and direction of potential markets
  • Developing competitor profiles and market penetration strategy
  • Evaluating and developing business models
  • Consulting on funding strategies

In order for the New Venture Development Center to provide the highest quality of work, it is expected that the participating researcher will help students gain a general understanding of the technical aspects of their product and help in mentoring for specific projects. A confidentiality policy has been developed with legal counsel to ensure the protection of the intellectual property interests of the inventor.


During the 2015-2016 school year, Xan had the incredible opportunity to work side-by-side with Vivint, Inc. on multiple innovative, game-changing projects into new product categories.

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About Vivint

As a leading smart home technology provider, Vivint offers home security, energy management, home automation, local cloud storage, and high-speed Internet solutions to more than 850,000 customers throughout the United States and Canada. The end result is a smart home solution that saves you time and money and ultimately simplifies your life.

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The Beginning

In 1999, Todd Pedersen saw an opportunity in the security solutions market to sell a high-quality product using a personal approach. Now, with more than 13 years of experience, the company has grown to service more than 850,000 installed systems across the United States and Canada and retains over 7,000 employees.

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Ready for Growth

Between 1999 and 2005, the company experienced healthy growth marketing third-party security products and services. In July 2006 it signed a US$75 million credit facility agreement with Goldman Sachs to research new market opportunities and expand into Canada.

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Between 2005 and 2010, the company expanded its customer base by 825% and its financial agreement to $440 million. To complete its transition to a nationwide, full-service residential security company, APX Alarm acquired a monitoring station in St. Paul, Minnesota, and opened its new corporate headquarters in Provo, Utah.

Innovative Technology

APX Alarm further expanded its product set and capabilities in October of 2009 with the release of the first self-contained, remote-access touchscreen panel.

With the successful launch of the touchscreen panel and the threat of higher energy prices, APX Alarm expanded from a security-only company to a provider of simple, affordable home automation solutions. Within six months, more than 15,000 customers had added these features.

A New Name

In late fall 2010, the company launched a company-wide rebrand to better represent the potential and future direction of the company. On February 1, 2011, APX Alarm changed its name to Vivint.

Based on the words “vive,” which means “to live,” and “intelligent,” Vivint is dedicated to helping its customers live intelligently by providing simple technology for a smarter life. In June 2011, Vivint’s Home Automation and Advanced Security packages received a Consumers Digest “Best Buy” rating.

Expanded Offerings

Vivint’s products and services have continued to grow. In October 2011, the company launched Vivint Solar, which has now become the fastest growing solar company using the power purchase agreement model.

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Vivint Solar provides service in California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. In 2012, Vivint also introduced a new secondary touchscreen panel and severe weather alert services.

The Next Steps

In June 2012, Vivint reached yet another milestone of US$30 million in recurring monthly revenue, becoming one of only three companies in the industry to reach this financial marker. Then in September 2012, the Blackstone Group acquired Vivint for in excess of $2 billion, giving Vivint the resources to continue expanding and developing new services.

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Now with more than 850,000 customers, Vivint has become one of the largest smart home technology providers in North America.

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