Medical technology took the forefront at this year’s New Venture Competition at UCSB, with prizes totaling $33,000 going to three student groups that developed devices for use by doctors and hospitals.
Active Life Technologies took home the top prize for its invention, the Osteoprobe – a device that measures bone density in a living patient. Fourth-year computer engineering major Davis Brimer and fourth-year physics major Alex Proctor, leaders of Active Life Technologies, received $10,000 for the Most Fundable Idea and $5,000 for the Alumni Choice Award.
Hosted by UCSB’s Technology Management Program, the competition drew over 180 guests who crowded into Corwin Pavilion on Friday to watch five finalists present their innovative product ideas. The concepts were graded by a four-person panel of judges that included CEOs and founders of such companies as InTouch Technologies, Inc. and Skyler Technology, Inc. The finalists were chosen in a preliminary round on April 13.
The five monetary prizes – Most Fundable Idea, Best Written Business Plan, Best Pitch, Dow Materials Use and Alumni’s Choice – added up to $33,000. Backing for these awards in part came from sponsors MKA Capital Group Advisors, Inc. and Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP Attorneys at Law.
Beginning at 4 p.m., the five competing groups – Active Life Technologies, Magnetic Mirco Tag, Nanofresh, Power of Minus 9 and Rothman Index (MedAlive)- were allotted 15 minutes to explain their product or idea, identify their target market and outline the financial overhead necessary to execute their plans. Afterward, judges had 10 minutes to inquire about the presentation.
Student Entrepreneur Association President Elaine Woodward, a fourth-year biochemistry and molecular biology major, said the New Venture Competition is a great arena for students to experience the entire product development process.
“We’ve got big investors here today to judge this competition,” Woodward said. “[This competition] is a great experience for all the participants in that it gives them a taste of the entire process, from brainstorming an idea to finance and marketing.”
TMP Program Director Bill Grant said he was pleased with the outcome of the event and the performance of the participants.
“Each year this competition gets better and better,” Grant said. “This year with the Alumni Choice Award made possible by Fredric Steck, we have an extra $5,000 in prize money to award to participants.”
The second highest prize – the $10,000 Dow Materials Use Award – went to chemistry graduate students Arnold Forman and Brandon McKenna of Magnetic Micro Tag. These students developed a new form of magnetic microbeads that would be used in the body to facilitate magnetic resonance imaging cell separation and precise drug delivery.
Psychology graduate student Daniel Rothman, electrical computer engineering graduate student Felix Recht and fourth-year biology major Sam Galle of MedALive received $4,000 for the Best Pitch Award and $4,000 for Best Written Business Plan award. MedALive created “MedAChart,” software that aggregates a patient’s vital signs, test results and nursing assessments into a single score for the purpose of providing graphical information on patient’s health status to be used with clinical assessments.
TMP program student assistant Christian Delgado, a third-year business economics student, said the competition was a great medium for entrepreneurial students.
“I’ve been working for TMP for two years now and this competition keeps getting better,” Delgado said. “More and more students are getting involved and are not only interested in the prize money, but in making a difference in the world.