Friday, May 23, 2014


This is the best night of the year, said Craig Sherman, partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, as he took the stage at the 17th annual University of Washington (UW) Business Plan Competition (BPC) awards ceremony. His sentiment was no doubt seconded by a room of over 250 investors, entrepreneurs and mentors, all gathered to celebrate the innovative and inspiring student-led startups that competed in this year’s BPC.

Among those celebrating the teams’ achievements was keynote speaker Dan Price, CEO of Gravity Payments. Price, a BPC alum (he won the 2nd Place Prize in 2007) delivered an inspiring message, telling the teams that if they want to be successful, they should be true to themselves, continue learning and improving, and always be willing to roll up your sleeves, dive in, and get it done. Prices’ advice was taken to heart, especially by the winning teams, who will be using their seed funding to move their business a few steps closer to reality.

Congratulations to this year’s UW Business Plan Competition winners:

$25,000 Grand Prize: Projected Talent (UW) (Grand Prize sponsored by the Herbert B. Jones Foundation)
Projected Talent is an online marketplace that connects skilled undergrads to businesses on short, meaningful, paid projects.  This allows students to gain valuable, relevant work experience and businesses to find and audition the best talent while accomplishing important tasks.  By lowering the time, space and financial commitment, more companies than ever are now able to connect with students. Team: Samir Diwan, MBA, Foster School of Business; Bilal Aijazi, MS, UW Computer Science & Engineering; Julie Maas, MBA, Foster School of Business; Max Weissman, MBA, Foster School of Business; Jeff Shulman, nonstudent

$10,000 Second Place Prize (Second Place Prize sponsored by WRF Capital)
Flu Finder (UW) Current flu diagnostic tests are unable to achieve effective early diagnosis for most flu-infected individuals. Flu Finder has created a flu test that is accurate, inexpensive and can be administered by anyone, anywhere, with results in less than 20 minutes. Team:  Carly Holstein, PhD, UW Bioengineering; Gina Fridley, PhD, UW Bioengineering; Alyssa Hochman, MBA, Foster School of Business; Jonny Holz, MBA, Foster School of Business; Joel Loveday, MBA, Foster School of Business

$7,520.14 Finalist Prize ($7,520.14 Finalist Prize sponsored by the Friends of the BPC)
OlyKraut (BGI) OlyKraut combines local produce, the magic of fermentation and delicious original recipes to create sauerkraut that's more than a condiment--it's a health tonic, a kick in the tastebuds and an investment in the local food system.Team: Sash Sunday, MBA, Bainbridge Graduate Institute; Michelle Anderson, MBA, Bainbridge Graduate Institute; Domonique Juleon, MBA, Bainbridge Graduate Institute; Dorothy Mitchell, MBA, Bainbridge Graduate Institute

$5,000 Finalist Prize: Korvata (UW) ($5,000 Finalist Prize sponsored by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati)
Korvata Inc. creates cutting edge alternative chemistry products that enable companies to mitigate their environmental impact. Korvata, a Delaware Corporation, received the top award at the 2014 UW Environmental Innovation Challenge (EIC). Its patent-pending technology enables customers in the food & beverage and CPG industries to significantly reduce their carbon footprints. 
Team: Chris Metcalfe, MBA, Foster School of Business; Soleil Kelley, MBA, Foster School of Business; Brendan Trickey, MBA, Foster School of Business; Devapratim Sarma, MBA, Foster School of Business; Taylor Brugh, MBA, Foster School of Business;

Best Idea Prizes

$2,500 Best Technology Idea (Best Technology Idea Prize sponsored by UIEvolution)

Aurora Plasmonics (University of Washington) Blood clots are a major problem during dialysis—an average of 400,000 de-clotting procedures take place each year in the U.S. Aurora Plasmonics has developed cost-effective, non-invasive therapeutic and diagnostic technologies for de-clotting procedures. These technologies offer reduced procedure times and costs, improved outcomes and increased patient comfort. Team: Michael Lombardo, Undergrad, UW Chemical Engineering; Thomas DeMaria, MBA, Foster School of Business; Jess Little, Undergrad, UW Chemical Engineering; Wayne Monsky, nonstudent; Rainie Nelson, Undergrad, UW Chemical Engineering

$2,500 Best Service/Retail Idea: (Best Service/Retail Prize sponsored by DLA Piper)
FastBar (UW Bothell) Everyone hates long bar lines, and payment processing at pop-up bars—temporary bars for special events that don't have built-in point of sale systems —can mean especially long wait times. FastBar provides a simple, high-speed payment solution for pop-up bars that uses RFID wrist bands. Team: David Goecke, Undergrad, UW Bothell Business; Chris Li, non student; Brenton Webster, non student

$2,500 Best Sustainable Advantage Idea (Best Sustainable Advantage Idea Prize sponsored by Sensors in Motion)
Mobile Foam (Washington State University) 1.6 billion people worldwide live in substandard housing. Humanitarian organizations are trying to address this by building more homes, but construction is often low-quality and lacks energy efficiency. Mobile Foam empowers humanitarian organizations to build higher quality homes with their building kit: floor-plans, consulting and the necessary chemicals and portable molds to produce polyurethane blocks on-site. Team: Chris Routen, Undergrad, WSU Mechanical Engineering; Dane Baird, Undergrad, WSU Mechanical Engineering; Austin Carter, Undergrad, WSU Marketing; Bettina Ernst, Undergrad, WSU Civil Engineering; Kelsi Lakey, Undergrad, WSU Computer Engineering

$2,500 Best Innovation Idea (Best Innovation Idea Prize sponsored by Perkins Coie)
Flu Finder (University of Washington) Current flu diagnostic tests are unable to achieve effective early diagnosis for most flu-infected individuals. Flu Finder has created a flu test that is accurate, inexpensive and can be administered by anyone, anywhere, with results in less than 20 minutes. Team: Carly Holstein, PhD, UW Bioengineering; Gina Fridley, PhD, UW Bioengineering; Alyssa Hochman, MBA, Foster School of Business; Jonny Holz, MBA, Foster School of Business; Joel Loveday, MBA, Foster School of Business

$2,500 Best Consumer Product Idea (Best Consumer Product Idea Prize sponsored by Accenture)
Trestle (University of Washington) Trestle converts your smart phone into a touchscreen interface for your Wi-Fi router. With Trestle, complicated configuration tasks are automated making your home network a breeze to set up and your Internet security and speed are continuously optimized. It's so easy that even your grandma can do it! Team: Kris Hunt, MBA, Foster School of Business; Matt Gryll, MBA, Foster School of Business; Aneesh Kulkarni, Grad, UW Computer Science & Engineering; Raj Makker, Grad, UW Computer Science & Engineering

$2,500 Best Cleantech Idea (Best Cleantech Idea Prize sponsored by Fenwick & West)
IonoMetal Technologies (University of Washington) Gold-plated surfaces used in computer chip testing wear down with repeated use and must be replaced. Each test board costs upwards of $40,000, and there is currently no available cost efficient repair option that satisfies industry standards. IonoMetal Technologies has developed technology that lowers the costs of manufacturing new gold-plated test boards by 10x. Team: Pritam Das, MBA, Foster School of Business; Trevor Braun, PhD, UW Chemical Engineering; Britton Stamper, Undergrad, UW Chemical Engineering; Alison Keeney, Undergrad, UW Chemical Engineering; Andrew Carlson, Undergrad, UW Chemical Engineering

$2,500 Best Marketplace Idea (Best Marketplace Idea Prize sponsored by eBay Enterprise)
Stash (University of Washington) Stash has created an affordable storage platform by connecting people who need storage to those who have extra space around their house or garage. Team: Katie Fraser, Undergrad, Foster School of Business; Aaron Goff, non student; Chris Goolsbee, non student; Robert Sanders, non student; Chad Robischo, non student

$5,000 AARP Prize for low-income senior service
FDCARES (University of Washington) Fire departments use up valuable time and money dispatching Emergency Medical Service in response to non-urgent 911 calls—up to 40% of fire department medical responses are for non-emergencies. FDCARES saves fire departments millions of dollars and improves their 911 response efficiency by integrating a Non-Emergency Medical Service division into their operations. Team: Adam Davis, UW Doctorate of Nursing Practice; Mitch Snyder, non student; Jim Webb, non student

Ellen Pepin, Assistant Director, Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, 206.616.3691

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Grant Competition for Accelerators

The U.S. Small Business Administration is launching a $2.5 million competition for accelerators and other entrepreneurial ecosystem models to compete for monetary prizes of $50,000 each to fund operating budgets.

To award the prizes, applicants will be judged by an expert panel that will consider each applicant's stated mission, founding team members and business goals among other core components. The application deadline is August 2, 2014.

The panel will give particular attention to, and the SBA encourages, applicants that fill geographic gaps in the accelerator and entrepreneurial ecosystem space. It is well known that the most successful accelerators to date were founded on the coasts. Through this competition, we are looking to support the development of accelerators and thus startups in parts of the country where there are fewer conventional sources of access to capital (e.g., venture capital and other investors).

In addition to accelerators which fill the gaps described above, we are also seeking out accelerators which are run by and support women or other underrepresented groups. Lastly, special consideration will be given to any accelerator models which support manufacturing.

This contest was designed to provide winners with supplemental and critical capital to the operating budgets of entrepreneurial ecosystems across the United States. With access to capital via this highly competitive process, applicants will have greater opportunity to scale up (if already existing) or to launch something completely new. The basic tenet is simple: the startup world and a portfolio's survival is driven by a game of numbers. More quality startups supported by more well-funded entrepreneurial ecosystems leads to successful startups growing into competitive, exciting and high-value job creators.

Over the coming months, SBA will be working with a number of partners such as the Global Accelerator Network (GAN) and others to host a number of Demo Days across the country. Demo Days provide opportunities for networking and the sharing of best practices among accelerators and other entrepreneurial ecosystem models.

The first Demo Day of 2014 was held in Austin, TX at the Capital Factory and concurrent with the South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival. Thirteen accelerators across multiple industries and geographies gave five-minute pitches to a room full of their peers. SBA is working to develop more of these events to happen in different cities around the country in 2014. Finalists in the competition will also be participating in a Demo Day remotely, thus there is no requirement for applicants to participate in the in-person events.

Here is the link to the application.

If you have questions, please contact by email.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Pitches Pay Off at YEA! Investor Panel

Five high school students from the Tacoma-Pierce County area pitched their business ideas before a panel of five investors to compete for funding at the first Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Investor Panel Presentation Event at Pacific Lutheran University.

The students presented before representatives from some of the area’s biggest companies as well as an audience filled with family, friends and members of the community for the opportunity to gain funding for their original ideas- that could be the next big thing!

About 40 people attended the event, held inside the Regency Room on PLU Campus. This year’s YEA! class is comprised of public students from Tacoma Public Schools and Bellarmine Prep. The Investor Panel Event is one of the program’s three “big events” that take place over the duration of the program.

On Wednesday night, the Investor Panel donated monetary contributions as well as their support and encouragement in their belief that entrepreneurs can make a job—not just take a job—at any age.

The investor panel consisted of the following business professionals:

Mitch Anderson, Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
Gary Brackett, Business & Political Manager, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber and TacomaAngel Network Coordinator
Beth Delmore, Senior Financial Services Representative, Opus Bank
Skip Haynes, Chairman, Rainier Connect
Heather Joy, Manager, Spaceworks Tacoma & Small Business Owner of HOLDstudios

The funds were divided and allocated accordingly to businesses that the investors felt had a well thought out plan and an idea that had a good chance at success

The investments were as follows:

•    Teen Tech Tutors, providing one-on-one technology support services to the community, especially the elderly or otherwise challenged, received $1,000. Owner Sam Wheelock is a freshman at Stadium High School.

•    Sunny Beginnings, producing fresh, individually-jarred breakfast muffin and oatmeal mixes that make creating a homemade breakfast easier, received $1,000. Owner Jessica Bokoskie is a senior at Mount Tahoma High School.

•    Portz, would produce athletic shoes that incorporates sewn-in ankle braces which stabilizes the ankle and helps prevent injury, received $500. Owners are LaMondtra Atkins, a junior at Stadium High School and Arthur Hagen, a senior at Lincoln High School.

•    Shout!, would produce a consumer app that allows its users the benefit of receiving feedback about their daily outfits and current fashion trends, received $400. Owner Gracie Weiss is a freshman at Bellarmine Prep.

Also at the event were two businesses that are still in the research and development process:

•    The Art of Memories, would provide customized memory books featuring personalized portrait and stylized drawings from the artists/owners that are tailored to each individual clients’ needs. Owners are Madison Chavez, a junior at Tacoma School of the Arts and Lyric Swanson, a senior at Mt. Tahoma High School.

•    Re’Ussu, a customized clothing company that specializes in T-shirts and hoodies, providing each client with a piece of fashion they think of as their own. Owner Cyrus Singleton is a senior at Lincoln High School.

Students will now begin marketing and selling their products and services, and preparing for the YEA! Trade Show to showcase their goods to the general public.  The Trade Show will be held on June 1, 2014 at the South Tacoma Farmer’s Market held at the STAR Center.  This event is free and open to the public.

Pictured (l. to r.): Jessica Bokoskie, Sam Wheelock, Madison Chavez, Gracie Weiss, Cyrus Singleton, Lyric Swanson, Arthur Hagen and LaMondtra Atkins.

About the Young Entrepreneurs Academy
The Young Entrepreneurs Academy or YEA!?, is a groundbreaking educational program that takes students in grades six through twelve through the process of starting and running real businesses over the course of a full academic year.

Students work in close cooperation with local leaders of industry, community members, and educators to develop ideas and objectives, write business plans, pitch potential investors, obtain funding, register with governmental agencies, develop their brand identity and much more!

By the end of the class, students own and operate fully functioning businesses that can be carried on after graduation. Students learn to make a job--not just take a job! YEA!’s? direct mission is to help students embrace their passion, energy, creativity and talents, launch a venture, and view entrepreneurship as synonymous with success and freedom.

In 2008, YEA!? “spun-off” from the University of Rochester, where it was formed in 2004 with support from the Kauffman Foundation, to create its own not-for-profit corporation, YEA! Inc., which is currently launching sites in colleges, universities and high schools across the country to provide comprehensive, exciting entrepreneurship education, leadership development and innovation training to youth between the ages of 11 and 18 years old in the United States thereby making the program available to students at a variety of geographical regions, and providing them with skills they need to succeed in the 21st Century.

For more information about the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, please call 253.682.1726 or visit

Monday, May 5, 2014

Congratulations to the 2014 UW Business Plan Competition Sweet 16

On April 29, 36 student-led startups from colleges and universities across Washington state gathered at the University of Washington to compete in the Investment Round of the annual UW Business Plan Competition.

This years’ teams, selected from a pool of 92 applicants, demonstrated innovation and inspiration across sectors—solar energy, wearable technology, public health and safety, even sauerkraut! After four hours of pitching to 300+ judges—entrepreneurs, lawyers, investors, and other top professionals—the sixteen top-scoring teams were announced. These teams will move on to the next round of the 2014 BPC, and a chance to win the $25,000 Grand Prize! Stay tuned.

Top Teams: (University of Washington – Tacoma)
Outsource your life and empower a veteran. ChooseVets is a web based, peer-to-peer market through which customers can hire local military veterans to complete common or specialized tasks, jobs or errands. ChooseVets will charge a brokerage fee for connecting its customers with its military veteran independent contractors. ChooseVets' contractors can perform a diverse range of personal services and labor, ranging from landscaping to remodeling houses. Through ChooseVets, businesses and individuals can not only find reliable, skilled people to get needed tasks accomplished, they can show their support for America’s veterans and help them reintegrate back into their local communities.

Aurora Plasmonics (University of Washington)
Aurora Plasmonics has developed a new, non-invasive theranostic agent that allows for a new blood declotting procedure with simultaneous imaging capabilities.

FastBar (University of Washington - Bothell)
FastBar increases bar revenue and improves the attendee experience with a cashless RFID payment system designed for pop-up events.

FDCARES (University of Washington)
FDCARES, LLC is an evidence-based training, safety and quality assurance company dedicated to transforming and improving fire department services for non-emergency patient care. FDCARES supplies fire departments with products and services that optimize their medical response system for non-emergency 911 callers and high-volume users of Emergency Medical Services and Emergency Department care. The results are better care, fewer costs, and safer communities.

Flu Finder (University of Washington)
Current flu diagnostic tests are unable to achieve effective early diagnosis for most flu-¬infected individuals. Flu Finder has created a flu test that is accurate, inexpensive, and can be administered by anyone, anywhere, with results in less than 20 minutes.

Innovii (University of Washington)
The Innovii Challenge is a competition where teams of 3 to 5 high school students are given a twenty dollar bill and ten days to create, develop, and execute a profitable micro-venture. 

IonoMetal Technologies (University of Washington)
With its revolutionary patented technology and demonstrated tool, Ionometals will not only make the earth a better place to live by reducing landfill of semiconductor waste, but also help save approximately $0.5MM for every semiconductor testing company.

Korvata (University of Washington)
Korvata Inc. creates cutting edge alternative chemistry products that enable companies to mitigate their environmental impact. Korvata, a Delaware Corporation, received the top award at the 2014 UW Environmental Innovation Challenge (EIC). Its patent-pending technology enables customers in the food & beverage and CPG industries to significantly reduce their carbon footprints.

Loopool (Bainbridge Graduate Institute)
Loopool is both a technology and a philosophy for the management of a sustainable textile and apparel supply chain ecosystem.  It is a process used to reclaim textile and apparel waste and convert it into high quality bio-based fiber for the creation of new textiles and apparel. Loopool is a holistic closed-loop garment recycling system and a business model representative of the new era circular economy.

Mobile Foam (Washington State University)
Mobile Foam provides companies with the necessary chemicals and portable molds to manufacture polyurethane blocks, allowing for organizations to bypass shipping costs of individual blocks by manufacturing their own building materials on the site of construction. This method will allow organizations to construct houses in a faster, more cost effective manner, allowing for increased housing production rates while creating long lasting quality homes.

NOVA Technologies (Western Washington University)
As the thirst for energy increases, the world’s superpowers are becoming dangerously covetous. In desperation to stave the inevitable, the most pristine natural wonders are sacrificed in the name of progress. Pipelines, mines, fracking sites, nuclear deposits, and coal dust risk the stability of a delicate environment; yet we continue. Imagine if the entire surface area of a skyscraper could function as a solar system. Thousands of square feet of solar windows, entire buildings, entire cities generating localized power. NOVA Technologies is proud to present the very first fully transparent photovoltaic solar window: the NOVA Solar Window.

OlyKraut (Bainbridge Graduate Institute)
OlyKraut combines local produce, the magic of fermentation, and delicious original recipes to create sauerkraut that's more than a condiment--it's a health tonic, a kick in the tastebuds, and an investment in the local food system.

OpsMagic (University of Washington)
OpsMagic combines off-the-shelf cameras and advanced computer vision to automate observational studies, empowering businesses to tune operations to consumer demand.  By building software intelligence and analytics on top of everyday video infrastructure, we solve the pain of a person using a stopwatch and some paper to measure business processes.  Instead, we enable businesses to quickly understand customer demand, rapidly iterate on continuous improvements, and immediately see cause and effect.  OpsMagic solves a major hassle in business operations measurement by tapping into new source of big data in video.

Projected Talent (University of Washington)
Projected Talent is revolutionizing the way that businesses hire student interns. It's online platform allows businesses to "audition" multiple candidates on short-term projects, avoiding the commitment of a long-term hire until they find the right fit. It also provides students with the opportunity to gain experience in a variety of fields by working on projects for a number of different companies.

Spectral DNA (University of Washington)
Spectral DNA's goal is to deliver a conformable solar fabric that can be fully integrated into a multi-use model for ubiquitous power generation. We aim to micro-design these 3D conformable fabrics into clothing, and other needed uses and applications for ubiquitous power. This can be used as a mobile power generation house without connecting to wires.

Trestle (University of Washington)
Trestle is the answer to the question "what would it look like if Nest built a router?" - our passion is simplifying the complicated process of setting up a wireless router and increasing network speeds by up to 10x, and our goal is delighting our customers with the most user friendly technological experience they've ever had. Trestle is hassle-free software to set up, secure and optimize your wireless network so easy that even your grandma can do it.

vHab (University of Washington)
vHab is a rehabilitation technology platform that allows clinicians to follow a stroke patient's recovery throughout the entire course of their treatment and adds a gamified patient environment that will improve recovery outcomes. Designed to be mobile and integrative, vHab aims to use advances in motion capture, electromyography, and virtual reality to engage the patient in a dynamic, gamified therapy environment while recording precision metrics and seamlessly reporting to their clinician.

Legato (University of Washington)
Legato is a convenient mobile application that provides an interactive speech therapy solution for children.

Want to know more?
•    Follow the progress of the 2014 BPC on Twitter: #UWBPC2014
•    Join in for the Final Round on Thursday, May 22, 1-4:30pm in Dempsey Hall