BUSINESS PLAN COMPETITION
With more than 80 teams registering, an unprecedented number including 1/3 international teams, the first round of the LESF International Business Plan Competition is complete. The submissions showcased the brightest new businesses and product plans from both domestic and international teams from near and far, including Canada, Hong Kong, and India. The 8 teams will be moving forward to compete for 4 prizes: The Grand Prize, International Prize, Members’ Choice, and the Best Student Team. Many thanks to the mentors and first round judges who helped get the teams and Competition progress through the first round. The LES Foundation also expresses gratitude to the in-kind contributions of the IP Toolkit sponsors.
The teams, listed in alphabetical order, include:
- Advanced Resin Therapeutics (USA) – Hailing from San Francisco, CA, Advanced Resin Therapeutics (ART) is a specialty pharmaceutical company. They have developed a novel, resin-based, drug delivery system that promotes topical and transmucosal delivery of medications more efficiently and effectively than current technologies. The core of the Company's technology, protected by a broad IP portfolio (11 issued, 28 pending patents), is the art and science of combining natural resins with specific medications to make them act quicker and for a longer period (than market leaders in a variety of categories) in a safe and effective manner. ART's lead product opportunity is NicoSwab(TM), a fast-acting, long-lasting nicotine replacement product (NRT) that outperforms market leader Nicorette Gum. The ART team is being mentored by LES member Paul Germeraad.
- ClearFlame Engines (USA) – This Stanford University (California) team, being mentored by Ted Izen, strives to revolutionize the trucking business. In an industry that is looking for alternatives to fuel heavy-duty (HD) vehicles, ClearFlame Engines is stepping into the arena to develop an innovative approach to HD engine operation. ClearFlame's technology leverages low-carbon liquid fuels in HD engines to produce up to 30% more engine power, at higher efficiency, and with significantly cleaner exhaust emissions. This engine technology further benefits from the use of a simple and inexpensive after-treatment system (a three-way catalyst), unlike current Diesel engines. ClearFlame's engine technology centers on the development of a combustion system that integrates compression-ignition of a direct-injected, low-sooting fuel (such as ethanol or methanol) in a thermally insulated combustion chamber. Direct-injected CI operation ensures high power density, and allows for a high compression ratio, increasing efficiency.
- Garbage Clinical Insurance (Indonesia) - Garbage Clinical Insurance(GCI) is a micro health insurance program which uses garbage as a financial resource. The team from Brawijaya University has developed a method for turning “trash into treasure.” With this program, the community pays clinical services by using garbage within an insurance system. The main principle of Garbage Clinical Insurance is organizing communities to create sustainable financing from their own resources to improve the access and quality of public health programs from the promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative aspects. In general, residents must pay a fee to the [local] government to dispose of their garbage, but GCI offers residents the opportunity to submit their garbage to them. It is then used to cover their health care in a holistic manner, including covering the patient's treatment(curative), creating health care quality improvement programs (health promotion), preventing illness (preventive), and providing rehabilitative health care, such as free treatment, in-clinic counseling, laboratory check, etc.
- NERv Technology Inc. (Canada) – The University of Waterloo’s NERv Technology team is a startup Medical Research and Development company working on a revolutionary biochip platform for detecting postoperative complications, such as internal bleeding, fatal changes in pH, septic shock, blood poisoning, and staple line breakages. The platform aims to save lives, reduce the risks that are associated with surgeries by monitoring a patient's health after a surgical procedure, and decrease the number of unnecessary follow-ups that the medical facility must perform. By placing the biochip close to the surgical sight, the biochip oversees and assesses the body's natural biomarkers, identifying the kind of complication taking place and sends feedback to the caregiver based on the changes happening inside the body. NERv aims to detect complications at earlier stages and prevent the development of any further complications thus eliminating the stress that physicians and patients go through due to post-operative complications. Many thanks to LES mentor Joe Wyse for working with the NERv Technology team.
- Porous Carbon Materials Company (USA) – LES mentor Les Goff worked with the Porous Carbon Materials Company from the University of Colorado at Boulder. The inefficient use of catalyst can increase capital and operational costs of chemical production. This team is developing a low-cost and highly porous catalyst support material that more efficiently utilizes space and expensive catalysts. Their innovation approach uses the unmatched efficiency of a biological system to simultaneously produce a sophisticated material and clean food processing wastewater during production.
- Solve for Alpha (Hong Kong) – The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology team is focusing on education as they provide simplified knowledge and skill data to facilitate productive communication between parents and teachers. Communication is enhanced by data gathered through unobtrusive assessment techniques, which will support the cognitive development of children in secondary education. The Solve for Alpha team was mentored in round 1 by LES member Raghid Shreih.
- Takachar (USA) – The Takachar team has pioneered a process for low-cost pretreatment and densification of biomass at source (i.e. at the level of small farms where biomass originates). Because this process immediately improves the quality of biomass in terms of shelf life, density, and transportability, it becomes much more economically feasible to source and sell the biomass-based commodities over long distances. This opens up new rural areas with biomass that previously have been deemed too far away to serve as an economic fuel. The creation of new values from low-quality biomass is also expected to increase incomes for distributed small-holder farmers. This startup company includes members associated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
- TheraB Medical Products – Including team members associated with Michigan State University, TheraB, Inc. is a startup medical device company based in East Lansing, Michigan. The company is formed around its product, SnugLit, a novel patient-centric method to administer phototherapy to infants with jaundice. SnugLit is a portable phototherapy garment that incorporates blue LEDs to safely and effectively treat jaundice. Unlike current solutions, SnugLit is a wearable treatment, alleviating the need to constantly monitor the device position. This design facilitates closeness and allows the parent to freely hold, interact and bond with baby during the first days of life. Many thanks to TheraB team mentor Daisy Rivera-Muzzio for her work through the first round of the Competition.
These teams deserve congratulations for making it thus far in the Competition. As you can see, the future is bright in the various industries represented by the promising projects and products outlined briefly in this article. As those involved in the Intellectual Property realm, it is encouraging to know that innovations are constantly in the works to contribute advances in technology and communications throughout the country and the world. This is the benefit of hosting the LESF International Business Plan Competition and why we appreciate the generous donations of LES members to continue this legacy of encouraging the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators.
The final round of the International Business Competition will take place on May 8th in Washington, DC, with winners announced during the LES Spring Meeting.