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.