A wide variety of student-led startups scored thousands of dollars in seed capital at the most-recent Michigan Business Challenge.
The annual business-plan competition at the University of Michigan awarded $113,000 from the Michigan Business Challenge and Dare to Dream grant program. The competition awarded money to 16 teams that ranged from $200 to teams that made it past round one to $20,000 for the top placer. Among the winners were clock generator technology for the microprocessor market and a workout water bottle that can be turned inside out so it can be washed.
"When you have that kind of diversity of really smart people all in one place it is unusual if you don’t see that sort of breadth of diversity when these competitions come up," says Stewart Thornhill, executive director of the Zell-Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies
, which organized the competition.
Among the top winners are:
Movellus Circuits won the Pryor-Hale Award for Best Business (worth $20,000) for its patent-pending clock generator technology for the microprocessor market.
Flipsi won the Pryor-Hale runner-up award for best business ($10,000) and the marketing award ($2,500). Flipsi is creating a reusable drinking bottle that flips completely inside out to facilitate easier cleaning.
A group of three U-M graduate students studying engineering ands business won the Erb Institute award for Sustainability ($7,500). The trio is developing an energy system that installs heavy-duty power electronics and battery storage units in commercial buildings for fast-charging services to electric vehicle drivers.
MyDermPortal won the Outstanding Presentation award ($2,000) and the Marketing award ($2,500) for its web-based app for dermatologists to provide follow-up treatment via the Internet for the most common diagnoses in significantly less time than an in-person visit.
Lab Compass won the Most Successful Undergraduate Team award ($2,500) for its cloud-based software enabling more efficient collection, storage and sharing of sensitive healthcare data used in medical research.
Nodify won the Best Written Plan award ($2,000) for its mobile apps that automatically refine a user’s professional network into a manageable group of important contacts and suggests relevant reasons to stay in touch.
"The ones that did emerge at the tip of the heap are the one that showed the most promise," Thornhill says.
Source: Stewart Thornhill, executive director of the Zell-Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies
Writer: Jon Zemke