Month: October 2016

Revamped Wolff New Venture Competition Surprises Audience with Two Medical-Device Champs

Posted on School of Business website, October 18, 2016, written by Claire Hall.

2016-10-12_wolffThe late Thomas John Wolff ’56 was an entrepreneur, and UConn School of Business alumnus, who ran five businesses simultaneously. He exemplified values like enthusiasm, mentorship and appreciation.

If he were here to witness the revised Wolff New Venture Competition on Sept. 29, his children said, there is no doubt he would have loved it all—especially the hard-fought, unexpected, first-place tie that crowned two UConn-led medical innovation teams as the champions.

The two winners were ProtectiScope, a hands-free method to improve stethoscope hygiene in health-care settings, and LambdaVision, a protein-based retinal implant for the treatment of blinding degenerative eye diseases. Both startups will be able to take new steps on their path toward market readiness because of their victories and $15,000 in prize money.

“I was pretty excited. This award is exactly what we needed to propel forward with our next step,” said ProtectiScope inventor Elizabeth Pouya. “We’re looking to speak with people in healthcare about what we should include in the design in order to make it attractive to buyers. It’s really important to validate our market before we invest a lot in the development.”

Read full article here.

Accelerate UConn Fall 2016 Winners Announced

Posted from Office of Vice President for Research news announcement.

Dr. Jeff Seemann, UConn/UConn Health Vice President for Research and Dr. Timothy B. Folta, Professor of Management and Faculty Director of the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, are pleased to announce the teams selected to participate in the Fall cohort of Accelerate UConn, the University’s National Science Foundation I-Corps site. The following teams will receive special training and a $3,000 seed grant to help understand whether and how their technology might create customer value:

  • Challa Kumar & Melissa Limbacher (Faculty & Graduate Student), GlowDots, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Department of Chemistry
  • Radenka Maric & Claire Leonardi (Faculty & Industry), Health eSense, School of Engineering, Departments of Materials Science and Engineering and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
  • Pishikesh Pandey & Dr. Tulio Valdez (Faculty), Raman spectroscopy based approach for middle ear disease diagnosis, School of Medicine/Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics
  • Neil Howard (Student), Verge Finance, School of Business, Department of Management
  • Seyed Mohamad Amin Salehizadeh (Recent Doctoral Alumnus), Pediatric Wearable Health and Activity Status Monitoring Headband, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Department of Psychological Sciences
  • John Settlage & Kevin Agnello (Faculty & Doctoral Candidate), STEM Achievement Data Gap Analysis Tool, Neag School of Education, Department of Teacher Education
  • Rajesh Lalla & Sarah Goldstein (Faculty & Doctoral Candidate), A novel long-acting topical anesthetic agent for pain secondary to oral mucositis and other oral ulcerative conditions, School of Dental Medicine, Department of Oral Health and Diagnostic Sciences
  • Guanwei Tao (Graduate Student), Prevention Preventable

In cases where a single faculty member or student was accepted into the program, the AU staff helped identify appropriate Academic or Entrepreneurial Leads or Industry Mentors to round out the team.

Accelerate UConn, an NSF I-Corps Site to move technologies more quickly and successfully from the lab to the market

Accelerate UConn, an NSF I-Corps Site to move technologies more quickly and successfully from the lab to the market

Accepted teams recently participated in the Accelerate UConn kick-off event. The program includes six weeks of intensive training to evaluate their business ideas and conduct customer discovery activities.

The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) and the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CCEI) jointly operate Accelerate UConn (AU).  As an NSF I-Corps Site program, AU was formed to foster entrepreneurship resulting in technology commercialization.  I-Corps Sites are academic institutions that catalyze the engagement of multiple, local teams in technology transition and strengthen local innovation.

For more information about Accelerate UConn, visit www.accelerate.uconn.edu or email accelerateuconn@uconn.edu

Medframe, LLC (Protectiscope) wins Entrepreneur Innovation Award

protectiscope

On September 13, 2016, Medframe, LLC, a UConn entrepreneur founded by Senior Elizabeth Pouya, was awarded a $10,000 Entrepreneur Innovation Award by CTNext for their product Protectiscope.  CTNext is Connecticut’s go-to resource for entrepreneurial support.  The Entrepreneur Innovation Awards (EIA), a competitive pitch event, are designed to help Connecticut’s promising early-stage companies develop their ideas and get products to market faster.  It is a Shark-tank style event.  They have awarded $446,000 to 44 companies across Connecticut since launching the program in 2013.

ctnext

LambdaVision and Protectiscope win Wolff New Venture Competition

Two distinguished entrepreneurial teams were the recipients of the 2016 Wolff New Venture Prize on Thursday, September 29th. Congratulations to LamdaVision (Dr. Nicole Wagner, Dr. Jordan Greco, Audrey Gallo, and Molly Zgoda) and Protectiscope (Elizabeth Pouya and Ryan Cordier) for their hard work, commitment, and persistence in continuing to move forward with their business ventures.

Two distinguished entrepreneurial teams were the recipients of the 2016 Wolff New Venture Prize on Thursday, September 29th. Congratulations to LamdaVision (Dr. Nicole Wagner, Dr. Jordan Greco, Audrey Gallo, and Molly Zgoda) and Protectiscope (Elizabeth Pouya and Ryan Cordier) for their hard work, commitment, and persistence in continuing to move forward with their business ventures.

The Wolff New Venture Competition was held on September 29, 2016 at Alumni Association’s Grand Hall, with the top 5 teams from CCEI’s Summer Fellowship Program presenting in front of a panel of venture experts to select the winner of the Wolff New Venture Competition, and the $15,000 award that accompanies the title.

In an unexpected turn of events, the judges were divided, with two teams being positioned at top, and CCEI operating team decided to offer Wolff Prizes to both teams (rather than it being shared between them).  Congrats to LambdaVision and Protectiscope for both winning Wolff New Venture Competition prizes!  Well deserved!  The other three teams rounding out the top-five pool were Eleframes (Rosse Gates and Gazment Sosoli); EVA Systems (Joe Warren and Penny Vlahos); and Oral Fluid Dynamics (Gopi Rajadinakaran and Robert Kelly).

The process started with 10 entrepreneurial teams selected from an applicant pool of 27 teams.  These 10 teams participated in the CCEI Summer Fellowship program.  The purpose of the program is to lengthen the runway of support for the university’s top entrepreneurial teams to take them beyond business concepts and toward market readiness and keep their focus on venture concepts.  These teams received a $15,000 fellowship award for participation in the intensive program, which was 3-days per week for 8 weeks.  In addition, teams received support, mentoring, networking, and professional accounting and legal services from program sponsors, Updike-Kelly-Spellacy, and Fiondella-Milone & LaSaracina LLP.

The Wolff Prize is endowed through the Thomas John and Bette Wolff Family Chair in Strategic Entrepreneurship, established to provide leadership for teaching and research in the field of strategic entrepreneurship.  The Wolff family has a long tradition of business success, personal philanthropy, commitment to the University of Connecticut, the UConn Business School, and the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.