Twelve teams of young innovators pitched their business ideas and shared more than $10,000 in prize money during the University of Massachusetts Innovation Challenge Executive Summary & Elevator Pitch Competition held Dec. 3. Each team leader presented a two-minute pitch to a panel of judges from the private sector with wide-ranging expertise in creating new ventures.
The winners of the largest prizes of $1,500 apiece were the Clearocin, Fiberessence, Leaf, and Rescue Collar teams.
- Clearocin provides a unique solution for acne by using antimicrobial proteins produced naturally by bacteria, known as bacteriocins, to eliminate the acne-causing bacterium, Propionibacterium acnes, on the skin.
- Fiberessence addresses the widespread problem of hospital-associated infections, which annually infect 1.7-million patients and cause 99,000 deaths. They incorporate essential oils into a polymeric material, allowing for an extended shelf life and long-term release.
- Leaf, which finished sixth in the recent Yale Hackathon, is a digital bracelet that allows people to exchange contact information just by shaking hands, thereby trading personal information, managing data, and staying connected effortlessly.
- Rescue Collar allows pet owners to find their pets by using the Rescue Collar App for IPhones and Android devices.
In addition, there were four $1,000 prize winners:
- Kloudbook, which also won the People’s Choice award of $250 from the audience, is a social networking site that makes it easy to maintain a private, portable, persistently up-to-date contact directory of friends, family, and business associates.
- mDiagnostics develops low-cost medical devices and health monitoring systems, including a reliable, portable, single-use, low-cost, hepatitis C screening device projected to save up to 123-million lives and $49.2 billion globally.
- Nensure has developed special drag-reducing films, which can line the surfaces of boat hulls, aircraft exteriors, and pipeline interiors, thus slashing their energy consumption by up to 6 percent.
- Nine Brainis a socially enabled professional network for academic inventors to post up-to-date, online, technology resumes for empowering rapid technology transfer by attracting potential partners.
The campus co-sponsors of the Innovation Challenge are the College of Engineering, the College of Natural Sciences, the Isenberg School of Management and the UMass Innovation Institute.