Rensselaer Student Teams Win Big in First Annual NYS Business Plan Competition
The excitement had settled and the crowd had dissipated Thursday night at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany, but the student teams representing Rensselaer were still exuding pride and accomplishment at the close of the 2011 New York State Business Plan Competition.
The title sponsor of the April 28 competition, State Employees Federal Credit Union (SEFCU), allowed for this year’s competition to boast total prize monies greater than one hundred thousand dollars. The large potential payoff attracted college student teams from across the state.
The competition was broken into four tracks: Healthcare, Cleantech/Sustainability, Services/Non-Profit, and Nanotech/HiTech, allowing for a total of twenty-three teams to participate in the full-day event.
The day started with the Healthcare track, in which five teams presented business plans ranging from a safe medication disposal solution to a method of safely securing a medical back brace after invasive spinal surgery. Next up was the Cleantech/Sustainability track, featuring six teams standing behind plans such as an in-wall power supply control and monitoring technology, a high rise hydroponic year-round farm, and a bicycle-powered power plant intended for developing or devastated regions of the world. After lunch, the Services/Non-profit track was up, and five teams presented plans from patent and IP management software and services to an interactive e-commerce website to educate travellers as to what to wear when visiting international destinations. The final track of competition was the Nanotech/Hi-tech track, which had three Rensselaer teams competing in a pool of seven very technical and scientific breakthroughs. This track started with an idea for the lithium ion battery manufacturing market and ended with a solution to wireless data communication and energy delivery.
The business plans presented possessed one common characteristic, creative solutions. Today’s entrepreneurs are solving current and future consumer and industrial problems and inefficiencies. They are attuned to the desires and necessities of twenty-first century end users.
The six Rensselaer teams proved no different. Congratulations to all Rensselaer teams:
MICROrganic Technologies, a two year old Emerging Ventures Ecosystem (EVE) company in the preseed stage, has developed a technology, which converts the chemical energy present in wastewater to electricity. The goal is to make wastewater a net zero energy process by utilizing microbial fuel cells.
Presented by: Brent Solina ’11 BCBP and Mark Lyons ’11 MBA
1st place in Cleantech / Sustainability track $10,000
Fire Department Solutions has developed a modular software technology that will offer volunteer fire companies the ability to record and track the large amounts of data required when responding to an emergency call. Currently, most volunteer fire departments are hand recording this data.
Presented by: Joseph Dougherty ’11 IT & Web Science
2nd place in Non-profit / Services track $5,000
Wavefront Technologies, recent finalists in the MIT-Lemelson Prize, has had many companies knocking at their door since their research went public. This team has found a way to communicate wirelessly through thick barriers. The applications of their technology seem endless and their first market appears to be the U.S. Navy and Department of Defense, where they plan to conduct beta testing on submarines.
Presented by: Jonathan Ashdown, PhD candidate Electrical Engineering
2nd place in Nanotech / Hitech track $5,000
Microwaves for Nanostructures spent two years researching the precise innovative technique for manufacturing nanostructures inexpensively and efficiently. Using microwave synthesis, the team has uncovered large efficiency gains and sees great potential in the coolant-free refrigeration and air-conditioning markets.
Presented by: Rutvik Mehta, PhD candidate Materials Engineering
3rd place in Nanotech / Hitech track $1,500
Betonicarum, a three-month-old company, administrates patent portfolios for small and mid-sized high tech companies. This company also supports clients in the identification of patentable innovations.
Presented by: Ulrike Rehn PhD ’11 MBA
Finalist in Non-profit / Services track
Efficient-C Composites is a manufacturing innovation company, currently focusing on energy efficient processing of advanced composite materials. They see uses in energy, biomedical, aerospace, military, and sporting goods markets.
Presented by Casey Hoffman ‘12 & Jaron Kuppers ’12 Mechanical Engineering
Finalist in Nanotech / Hitech track