UM $75K Biz Plan Competition Winners Announced

UM $75K Biz Plan Competition Winners Announced

UM $75K Biz Plan Competition Winners Announced

Prof. Carol Espy-Wilson
Prof. Carol Espy-Wilson

The Clark School's Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) has announced the winners of the University of Maryland $75K Business Plan Competition.

Winners were selected from nine finalists who presented their venture concepts on May 7 to teams of judges from the startup venture community in three categories: high technology, biotechnology, and undergraduate, while three teams also received Warren Citrin Social Impact Awards.

Winners include:

OmniSpeech LLC, a company developing speech extraction technology for cellular and other communications, won the high technology category and $25,000. The company also won a $15,000 Warren Citrin Social Impact Award.

Omnispeech's technology solves a major problem—background noise in cell phone conversations—with cost-effective software, while current solutions require bulky, cost-intensive hardware.

"When you get the combination of an easy-to-describe problem and an elegant solution that is very low cost but can scale into billions, you are inherently exciting," says Morgan O’Brien, co-founder of Nextel Communications, current chairman of Cyren Call Communications, and an advisor to Omnispeech.

"We are honored to be selected for these awards among distinguished competitors," says Carol Espy-Wilson, professor of electrical and computer engineering and founder of Omnispeech. "We plan to leverage the credibility that comes with winning this competition and the funding to rapidly get our product to market."

Omnispeech’s team also includes Tarun Pruthi, a research associate in the department of electrical and computer engineering.

Aeramatics won the biotechnology category and $15,000. The company is developing a spirometer, which measures the volume of air inspired and expired by the lungs, that reduces post-operative complications by reminding patients to use it, tracks usage, and sets targets.

Aeramatics' team includes Eranga Fernando, an undergraduate in the department of criminology and criminal justice, and Himali Fernando a 2009 alumnus of the Fischell Department of Bioengineering.

DoseSpot won the undergraduate category and $10,000. The company also won a $5,000 Warren Citrin Social Impact Award.  The company has developed an easy- to- use and easy- to- integrate Web-based medication prescribing system that connects medical technology vendors to the SureScripts electronic prescribing network.

DoseSpot’s team includes Greg Waldstreicher, a Hinman CEOs Program undergraduate student in the department of accounting & information assurance, and Gideon Platt.

CloudSolar also won a $5,000 Warren Citrin Social Impact Award. The company is developing a system to capture solar thermal energy to heat swimming pools, with plans to later enter additional markets.

CloudSolar’s team includes: Michael Armani, a Ph.D. student in the Fischell Department of Bioengineering; Ramik Chopra, a UM alumnus from the department of electrical and computer engineering and current UM MBA student; and Danny Lee, a 1989 UM alumnus.

"This was one of the strongest sets of finalists we have seen in the ten years we have offered this competition," says Dean Chang, director of Mtech's venture programs. "They not only addressed real market needs with unique, viable solutions, but also demonstrated compelling early evidence of customer validation and customer traction. This group of companies should have significant economic and social impact in Maryland and beyond."

High technology and biotechnology winners also earned automatic eligibility for Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Cisco's 2010, by-invitation-only, $250,000 DFJ - Cisco Global Business Plan Competition, and an upcoming Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) Power of Ten Investor Forum. All category winners are eligible to attend TEDCO workshops for one year as a TEDCO affiliate and receive complimentary admission to TEDCO showcases for one year. The high technology winner also earned a complimentary admission to the 2010 Mid-Atlantic Venture Association (MAVA) Capital Connection Venture and Private Equity Conference.

Sponsors of the competition included: Fish & Richardson P.C., Nixon Peabody LLP, SAIC, and Warren Citrin.

Judges included:

Undergraduate Category

  • Bill Bellows, serial entrepreneur and entrepreneurship instructor
  • Jay Calhoun, Associate, Nixon Peabody LLP
  • Adam Donovan, Marketing & Business Development Manager, Fish & Richardson P.C.
  • Craig Dye, Director of Venture Investments, Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship
  • Ben Hallen, Assistant Professor of Strategy, Robert H. Smith School of Business
  • Anik Singal, CEO, Lurn Inc.

Biotechnology Category

  • Henry Ahn, Program Manager, Technology Funding Programs, Maryland Technology Development Corporation
  • Rudhir Patel, Associate, Fish & Richardson P.C.
  • Steve Dubin, CEO, Martek Biosciences Corporation
  • Michael Gutch, Member, Life Sciences Team, H.I.G. Ventures
  • Mark Kass, Partner and Chair, Israel Business, Nixon Peabody LLP
  • Matt Zuga, Managing Director, Red Abbey Venture Partners

High-Technology Category

  • Steve Carchedi, CEO, Zoom Intelligence LLC
  • Warren Citrin, Co-founder and Board Member, Gloto Corporation and Co-founder, Solipsys Corporation
  • Sam Feigin, Partner and Chair, Israel Business, Nixon Peabody LLP
  • Mark Grovic, Co-founder and General Partner, New Markets Venture Partners
  • Kiran Hebbar, Partner, Valhalla Partners
  • Karl Renner, Principal, Fish & Richardson P.C.

The tenth annual University of Maryland $75K Business Plan Competition promotes the commercialization of innovative ideas and university-created technologies by offering faculty and students prizes for the best new venture plans. The competition emphasizes learning through coaching and the experience of presenting ideas to an expert panel of judges.

Since its inception in 2001, the BPC has awarded $536,000 in prizes to University of Maryland faculty, students, and alumni to help them launch their innovative new ventures.

Previous winners include five multi-million dollar ventures; two of those were among the 500 fastest growing private companies in America according to Inc. Magazine in 2009.

The UM $75K Business Plan Competition was founded and is managed by the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech).  The Competition was part of the University of Maryland's 2010 UM Business Competitions Day organized by the Mtech and the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship.

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May 11, 2010

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