Wednesday, May 27, 2015

$77,500 awarded to student---led startups

Three hundred judges, mentors and student entrepreneurs gathered at the Bell Harbor Conference Center Thursday evening to award a record number of prizes—14—and a record amount of seed funding—$75,000—to participants of the 18th annual UW Business Plan Competition.

The UW Business Plan Competition, run by the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship at the Foster School of Business, offers innovative and entrepreneurial students an opportunity to turn their ideas into compelling and viable startups. In the past 18 years 1,278 student teams from 16 colleges and universities around Washington State have participated in the competition, and the Buerk Center has awarded over $1.3 million in prize money/seed funding to 140 winning teams—over half of which are still in business.

While this year’s winning teams represent many industries, a significant number are innovating in the area of life sciences. Empreva, for example, has developed a new method of birth control and STI prevention, and vHAB’s technology helps stroke patients rehabilitate their fine motor skills.

The winners will use their prize money to turn their student teams into early---stage startups—some may apply to the Buerk Center’s Jones + Foster Accelerator, which provides mentoring and Guidance through the decisive first six months of the startup process.

Congratulations to this year’s winners:

$25,000 Grand Prize sponsored by the Herbert B. Jones Foundation
Vie Diagnostics (University of Washington)
A significant portion of patients attending STD clinics fail to follow up for treatment, even when tests are positive and the risk for transmission and complication is highest. Vie Diagnostics’ disruptive molecular diagnostic technology will reduce the spread and pain of STD infections by allowing patients to be tested and treated in a single clinical visit. Its tests will provide better patient management, lower costs for clinics, and improve overall public health.

$10,000 Second Place Prize sponsored by WRF Capital
Empreva (University of Washington)
Empreva aims to empower and engage women across the world to take their health into their own hands by providing a safe, convenient and comfortable method for birth control and STI prevention. Empreva is developing birth control and combination birth control/anti---HIV products to benefit the health of women in high---HIV burden areas of the developing world who lack options for protection.  For every purchase of an Empreva birth control product in the U.S., Empreva will donate one combination product to a woman in need in the developing world to help achieve sexual health and empowerment for women everywhere.

$7,520.15 Finalist Prize sponsored by the Friends of the BPC
Hook (University of Washington)
Hook is a home automation hub that offers smart home capability to the price sensitive consumer. Customers are able to convert existing electronics in the home to smart compatible devices, keeping these products up---to---date for years to come. Consumers will enjoy convenience with control via their mobile devices, savings on energy costs, and improved home safety. With an affordable price and remarkable ease of use, Hook aims to make smart home technology accessible to the masses.

$5,000 Finalist Prize sponsored by Fenwick & West
vHAB (University of Washington)
vHAB is a virtual rehabilitation platform that helps patients regain fine motor skills to lead autonomous lives again. vHAB enables occupational therapists to customize patient treatment and accurately monitor progress through engaging and dynamic video games. System portability and precision metrics  pose a competitive advantage for rehabilitation facilities, allowing delivery of quality treatment to patients – anywhere, anytime. vHAB saves rehabilitation facilities time and money. Most importantly, vHAB empowers patients to reclaim their independence.

$5,000 AARP Prize Targeted for teams that best address the challenges faced by low---income seniors: affordable age---in---place housing; affordable healthy food; increased income; and the impact of isolation on physical, mental and emotional well---being.

Co Optical (Washington State University)
Co Optical specializes in lifestyle management technologies, with a flagship product that revolutionizes diabetes management by continuously and non---invasively monitoring blood glucose. This wearable device, structured as a pair of glasses, improves convenience and enhances the overall user experience allowing seamless integration of lifestyle management strategies into the everyday lives of people with diabetes.

$5,000 Wells Fargo Clean Tech Prize Recognizes a venture with products, services or processes that harness renewable materials and energy sources, dramatically reduce the use of natural
resources and cut or eliminate emissions and wastes.

NOVA Technologies (Western Washington University and University of Washington)
NOVA Technologies’ Smart Solar Window uses transparent nanotechnology to create clean, local electricity that can turn skyscrapers into giant solar arrays and reduce HVAC systems costs, an innovative link to a carbon neutral future.

$2500 Best Idea Prizes Best Technology Prize sponsored by UIEvolution
TriboTEX (Washington State University)
TriboTEX aims to extend the operational life---span of industrial machinery by improving efficiency where lubricated friction takes place. TriboTEX’s self---assembling nanostructured lubricious coating provides regenerative effects to frictional surface during normal operation.

Best Marketplace Prize sponsored by ebay
Enterprise Park A Lot (University of Washington)
Park A Lot is a platform connecting private businesses which have unused parking spaces with customers looking for parking. Lot owners sign up on a hop---on, hop---off platform and their lots become available to the public, generating them revenue. Customers use Park A Lot’s website or app to  purchase parking on a lot of their choice from their home or mobile device.

Best Service/Retail Prize sponsored by REI
SmartyPants (University of Washington)
SmartyPants reinvents toilet training and mitigates adult incontinence issues to prevent millions of diapers from ending up as a biohazard in landfills. It predicts impending bowel events and alerts users to get to a toilet. The company’s innovative, first---of---its---kind, technology creates value for the  consumers by saving on diaper purchases and the environment by reducing waste and biohazard from disposable diapers.

Best Consumer Product Prize sponsored by Accenture
Hook (University of Washington)
(See earlier description)

Best Sustainable Advantage Prize sponsored by Sensors In Motion
JikoPower (University of Washington)
JikoPower makes thermo---electric generators to turn ordinary cook stoves into personal charging stations for off---grid households that have small electronic devices in the developing world. JikoPower POWERS devices, but it EMPOWERS people.

Best Innovation Prize sponsored by Perkins Coie
Vie Diagnostics (University of Washington)
(See earlier description)

Best Health/Healthcare Prize sponsored by Cambia
Empreva (University of Washington)
(See earlier description)

Best Idea for the Future Prize sponsored by DLA Piper
miPS (University of Washington)
miPS is the first consumer stem cell generation and cell banking service. miPS allows consumers to store their adult cells to prevent cellular aging, generate stem cell lines for research, and use banked cells for future stem cell therapies.

For more information contact Ellen Pepin.

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