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The Technology Management Program’s New Venture Competition Finals awarded $10,000 to a team of graduate students yesterday at Corwin Pavilion for their business start-up ShadowMaps, an application using cloud-based GPS technology to achieve more accurate navigation in urban areas.
After nine months of creating, building and fine-tuning their start-ups, the 22 student entrepreneurs from April’s TMP New Venture Fair advanced to yesterday’s finals with six teams pitching their ideas to a panel of judges. In addition to winning the grand prize, ShadowMaps won an additional $10,000 for having the greatest contribution to technology or science, accumulating a total of $20,000 in prize money.
TMP Entrepreneurial Programs Manager Mike Panesis said yesterday’s New Venture Competition Finals was the culmination of many months of students’ hard work in business development and presentation. Regardless of whether or not a team won, they will all continue to be successful in their future ventures, Panesis said.
“Tonight’s NVC Finals are the result of a school year of work on the part of the student teams in the TMP [that] have each developed a startup idea,” Panesis said. “I am excited for the opportunities that await all six teams, regardless of what cash prizes they took home tonight.”
The six finalists were divided into two three-team categories: a “Tech Push,” consisting of ventures that make a scientific or technological contribution and a “Market Pull” track consisting of ventures that make a contribution to address existing customer needs. Bottle Branders, Salty Girl Seafood and Echo were assigned to the Market Pull category while Cayuga Biotech, Fluency Lighting Technologies and ShadowMaps made up the Tech Push category.
ShadowMaps took first place in the Tech Push category while startup Cayuga Biotech, a breakthrough drug that can treat internal and external hemorrhage by clot initiation, and Fluency Lighting Technology, which use a white laser diode as a more energy efficient way to illuminate outdoor areas, shared second place and were both awarded $2,000.
In the Market Pull category, Bottle Brewers, a company facilitating the beer distribution process for small and local breweries, won the $5,000 first place prize. The second place award along with $2,500 went to Salty Girl Seafood, a company featuring an online site that sources fresh seafood directly from fishermen to restaurants. Salty Girl Seafood also won both the People’s Choice award and Elings Prize, drawn by lottery, for $5,000 each.
The Echo team took the final and third-place prize for the Market Pull track, winning $1,000 for creating a smartphone application that allows customers to order and pay for meals on their mobile device. According to Echo team member, alumnus and computer engineer Eric Goodman, his group initially started with a completely different venture idea called Snug Plugs, which featured vibrating ear plugs that could function as a silent alarm clock.
“Snug Plugs were not the best idea and probably would not pan out for the TMP class, so we came up with application that would allow people to order through Bluetooth, which we called Echo,” Goodman said.
Goodman said his team conducted an informal survey to determine how they should focus their Echo project.
“One weekend we walked around downtown Santa Barbara and talked to at least 15 restaurant owners, listened to their suggestions and incorporated them into our application,” Goodman said.
John Greathouse, a lecturer for the TMP and a partner at Rincon Ventures, said he feels proud of the publicity surrounding the TMP and NVC at UCSB.
“It is a thrill to see UC Santa Barbara’s Technology Management Program achieve international recognition,” Greathouse said. “Videos of our speakers and the New Venture Competition are viewed by millions online of entrepreneurs across the planet. The global startup community has discovered what we already knew: UCSB’s curriculum is pragmatic, hands-on and game changing.”
This story is a Daily Nexus online exclusive.