MBC Teams Advance to the Semi-Finals

Zell Lurie University of Michigan Business Challenge 2016From an original field of 102 teams during Round One in December, 22 teams pitched their business concepts in Round Two of the ZLI Michigan Business Challenge (MBC) last Friday.  Of these student teams 16 presented in the business track and eight in the social impact track; two of the teams were selected to pitch in both tracks.

MBC judges had the challenge of selecting only eight teams to advance to the MBC Semi-Finals. The startups moving forward in the competition include: 

AOE Medical – Arianna Carley (BSE ’17), Eli Fox (BA ’1​5), Darren Cheng  (BSE ’17), Christina Tang (BS ’18), Brandon Boot (BSE ’17)
AOE Med is a medical device company solving the problem of patient transport. Current practices place nurses and patients at risk of serious injury and cost care facilities millions. To put an end to the inefficiencies, high costs, and pain that result from current practices AOE has designed a bariatric patient transfer chair, the Alps Transfer Device, capable of moving the patient from chair to bed and back at the simple flick of a switch.

CARt – Stacey Matlen (MPH ’16), Mikaela Rodkin (MBA/MS ’17), Ali Jensen (MPH ’16), Christine Priori (MBA/MPH ’17)
CARt provides convenient, affordable, reliable transportation for low ­income, food insecure individuals to get to and from supermarkets. We earn revenue through a subscription service fee paid by supermarkets to provide transportation to customers who would otherwise not have access to their locations. CARt increases the number of shoppers and therefore revenue for supermarkets and rideshare services, while improving customers’ access to healthy, affordable food. We are established as an LLC with a strong social mission.

Digital Face – Ivan Chicchon, DDS (MS ’16)
Digital Face provides custom digital solutions to dentists and prosthetists. Specifically, we make facial prosthetics for patients with facial deformities and we make surgical guides for dental implant surgery. As each case is unique, we might be asked to make a custom medical appliance that does not fall strictly under either of those descriptions. By allowing the clinician to use a smartphone as a digital scanner, we can help extend the reach of healthcare solutions.

EVer Solution – Ziqi Guo (BSE ’17), Rui Zhang (MS EE ’17), Qihan Sun (BSE ’17)
EVer Solution is a company that focuses on providing accurate battery mobility and health monitoring tools to electric vehicle fleets. They solve two major problems – range anxiety and battery degradation monitoring – that are unique to electric vehicle users. With their patented technology, they are able to maximize the potential of electric vehicle fleets, save battery maintenance costs, and reduce mobility risks.

Gaudium – David Cai (BS ’16), Amanda Li (MAcc ’16), Kevin Jeon (BS ’16)
Gaudium is a video game development company focused on creating culturally inspired games for underserved audiences. Gaudium’s first release is a mobile collectible card game Armor Blitz. It takes influence from popular Japanese themes and aesthetics while still maintaining the designs of a western game. The Armor Blitz game monetizes with a free-to-play model and allows Gaudium to develop more titles to continue expanding as a studio.

ImMaze – Walker McHugh (MSE ’17), Caroline Landau (MBA ’16)
ImMaze presents MicroKine, a near-bedside diagnostic device for use in critical care and emergency medicine. MicroKine rapidly measures cytokines, proteins which control the body’s immune response. Cytokine measurement can help guide​ clinical decision-making, but current technologies are far too slow for critical care settings. MicroKine delivers this information to physicians in a matter of minutes, instead of hours, enabling precision medicine for the first time in the intensive care unit

Neurable – Ramses Alcaide (PhD ’15), Max Jacobson (MBA ’17)
Neurable has created the first non-invasive brain-computer interface (BCI) that allows for high performance real-time control of applications. Neurable’s technology has demonstrated significantly greater accuracy, faster response speed, lower cost and shorter setup time  compared to eye trackers and competing non-invasive BCI. Neurable has the technology to create the next generation of toys and games that allow full control using brain activity, all at a competitive price point.

Sage & Grace – Holly Price (MBA ’17)
Sage & Grace is a website and concierge service that educates and empowers grieving families to better, and more affordably, navigate the funeral planning process. The company provides tools for end consumers who are planning a funeral while also serving as a bridge between vetted vendors who service the funeral industry and their target audience.

Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 1.09.12 PMThe Social Impact Track, presented by the Center for Social Impact, advanced four teams to the Finals. The startups competing in this track include:

CARt – Stacey Matlen (MPH ’16), Mikaela Rodkin (MBA/MS ’17), Ali Jensen (MPH ’16), Christine Priori (MBA/MPH ’17)
CARt provides convenient, affordable, reliable transportation for low ­income, food insecure individuals to get to and from supermarkets. We earn revenue through a subscription service fee paid by supermarkets to provide transportation to customers who would otherwise not have access to their locations. CARt increases the number of shoppers and therefore revenue for supermarkets and rideshare services, while improving customers’ access to healthy, affordable food. We are established as an LLC with a strong social mission.

Kulisha  Eric Katz (BBA ’17)
Kulisha is a sustainable aquafeed company. We produce a commercial grade fish feed from insects and cater to small-scale aquaculture farmers in Kenya. Kulisha helps to divert food waste going to landfills, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and stop trawling. Kulisha’s superior product has the potential to increase the the yields of farmers, helping to increase their profitability while supplying the food insecure in the region with more healthy animal protein.

Project MESA – Katherine Chen (BSE ’17), Molly Munsell (BSE ’18), Bharathi Ram (MPH ’17), Monica Patel (BSE ’17), Maddie Price (BSE ’18), Jen Spiegel (BSE ’19), Shreya Wadhwani (BSE ’19)
Project MESA aims to transform maternal healthcare in rural Nicaragua through the design, manufacture, and distribution of portable gynecological exam tables to mobile clinics.  The table provides an accurate, sterile, and comfortable environment for general examinations and for cervical cancer diagnosis. We plan to operate as an integrated, 501(c) non-profit organization and will expand by capitalizing on our existing relationships with NGOs and healthcare clinics in Nicaragua.

StepFor – Jordan Golshan (BBA ’17), Andy Jinseok Lee (MS ’17), Hyorim Kim (BS ’17)
StepFor is a mobile platform that allows users to translate their daily steps into charitable contributions, backed by corporate sponsors. It enables users to give meaning to their steps while providing companies with consumer engaging charitable campaigns. The app interfaces with various activity trackers such as Fitbit, so that users can support causes of their choice in their everyday lives. With StepFor, changing the world starts at your feet.

​The Social Impact Finals, MBC Semi-Finals and Finals will be held at the Ross School of Business on February 19. For 2016, ZLI is introducing a trade show where MBC teams have the opportunity to present their startup concepts to their peers and the public.

The Michigan Business Challenge is a campus-wide, multi-round business plan competition where students have the opportunity to win cash prizes totaling over $85,000, gain feedback from judges and expand their business network. All University of Michigan students who would like to put their ideas and skills to the test against other entrepreneurs are encouraged to participate in the Michigan Business Challenge. Student entrepreneurs who advance also have the opportunity to compete in additional business plan competitions hosted by other universities.

Michigan Growth Capital Symposium Announces Plans for 35th Annual Event

Organizers of the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium (MGCS) today unveiled initial plans for the 2016 conference, the premier event for Midwest venture capital, that will be held May 17-18 at the Marriott Resort in Ypsilanti, Mich. More than 450 attendees from throughout the Midwest are expected to attend the Symposium, including leading venture capitalists and the best of the Midwest early stage and emerging, high-growth companies in the region that are seeking institutional investment.

Michigan Growth Capital Symposium Zell Lurie Institute Ross School University of MichiganFor the 35th year, approximately 40 companies will be chosen to present to potential investors and stakeholders, and for the third year, the Symposium will feature its successful University Research track to showcase the commercialization landscape and emerging startups coming out of Midwest-based schools. The Symposium will also feature guest speakers and panel presentations hosted by some of the nation’s leading investors and entrepreneurs. Past keynotes have included Brad Keywell, CEO of Lightbank, and Bill Coughlin, president and CEO of Ford Global Technologies.

“The entrepreneurial ecosystem around the country continues to grow, and the Midwest is no exception to that,” said finance professor David Brophy, MGCS founder and director of the Center for Venture Capital and Private Equity Finance at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “In the past, companies looking for funding have moved to the coasts—but the market is broadening, and investors will find good companies wherever they are. By attracting money to and creating better deals here in the Midwest, the stronger of an ecosystem we create.”

Armune BioScience, a Michigan-based company that develops and commercializes blood tests for cancer, presented at least year’s MGCS in the hopes of raising visibility and funding. “The Symposium is a great forum to drive awareness of our business and to begin to forge relationships,” says David Esposito, president and CEO. “We still have an ongoing dialogue with some of the venture capitalists who saw us present, and we did secure angel investment as a result of our appearance and subsequent follow-up.” To date, Armune BioScience has raised approximately $6.8 million in convertible notes and grants for the development and validation of Apifiny, its flagship product that tests for prostate cancer, and is currently raising its Series A.

The annual Michigan Growth Capital Symposium is hosted by the University of Michigan’s Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Ross School of Business, with support from the Michigan Venture Capital Association and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Organizers are currently enlisting sponsors for the 2016 event, with packages ranging from $1,000-$10,000. Applications for companies to present will be available online January 4, 2016. For more information or to become a sponsor, please visit http://www.michigangcs.com/.


2016 VCIC Teams Selected for Regionals & Finals

Last Friday, Michigan Ross MBA and BBA students turned the tables and played the role of VC’s to three local startups; ContentOro, OriginalStix, and SnapSuits. Six teams participated in the Michigan Ross Internal Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC), a highly interactive simulation of the VC process in which they were the VC’s – real startups came to pitch, and VC judges assessed their performances.

The Ross MBA student teams competed for the opportunity to represent  Michigan Ross at the VCIC regional competition at University of Colorado, Boulder on February 5. The winning team was comprised of the following students: University of Michigan Zell Lurie Institute Entrepreneurs Venture Capital Investment Competition

Paige Bayless, MBA ’17
Spencer Heaton, MBA ’17
Abby Poats, MBA/MA ’17
MacCalvin Romain, MBA ’17
Gabriel Siegle, MBA ’17

VCIC culminates every April  at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, NC, with the International Finals, where the winning teams take home $10,000 in prize money. Last year’s Michigan Ross team won their regional event at Rice University and brought home the Entrepreneurs’ Choice award from the Global Finals.

The Ross BBA team headed to the Undergraduate Venture Capital Competition  – uVCIC Global Finals on January 23, 2016 at University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill includes:

Joseph Cueter, BBA ’17
Adam Levine, BBA/BA ’17
John Mannes, BA ’17
Michael Whinfrey, BBA/BS, ’17
Johnson Yang, BBA ’17

Zell Lurie Institute has sponsored the participation of University of Michigan teams at VCIC events since 2000. The 2016 VCIC program includes ten regional and 78 single-school events, with teams competing on three continents. For more information, visit: http://www.vcic.org/ 

2016 Michigan Business Challenge Round One Finalists

Round One of the 33rd Michigan Business Challenge (MBC) hosted over 100 student teams from across the University. Of these, 22 teams will compete in Round Two on January 22, 2016.

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 2.59.28 PM

AOE Medical – Arianna Carley (BSE ’17), Eli Fox (BA ’17), Darren Cheng  (BSE ’17), Christina Tang (BS ’18), Brandon Boot (BSE ’17)
Durable Medical Equipment manufacturer that solves complex problems by creating innovative solutions.

CarePRN – Michael Lang (PhD ’17)
A trusted digital marketplace providing on-demand and scheduled access to certified in-home care.

CARt – Stacey Matlen (MPH ’16), Mikaela Rodkin (MBA/MS ’17), Ali Jensen (MPH ’16), Christine Priori (MBA/MPH ’17)
Coordinating rides for low-income, low-vehicle access individuals to get to and from supermarkets so they have increased access to healthy, affordable food.

Digital Face – Ivan Chicchon (DDS, MS ’16)
Fabricates facial prosthetics in an efficient digital workflow and allows clinicians to incorporate these workflows into their practices.

EVer Solution – Ziqi Guo (BSE ’17), Rui Zhang (MS EE ’17), Qihan Sun (BSE ’17)
Battery management solution for EV manufacturers that helps their users better interact with the EV battery and maximize its potential.

Flowgram – MacCalvin Romain (MBA ’17), Elizabeth LaCroix (MBA ’17), Aditya Pradhan (MBA ’17), Antonio Scaramuzzino (MBA ’17)
SaaS platform to design and collaborate on complex cloud architectures.

G2V Space Systems – Jason Wallace (MBA ’16), Caue Borlina (BSE ’16), Roshan Radhakrishnan (BSE ’16)
G2V plans to deliver unprecedented space weather forecasting and warning time to help protect vital technologies from catastrophic solar disturbances.

Gaudium – David Cai (BS ’16), Amanda Li (MAcc ’16), Kevin Jeon (BS ’16)
Video game development company focused on developing eastern inspired games starting with their first product, Armor Blitz.

Idea Ninjas – Spencer Heaton (MBA ’17)
Facilitates medical and engineering collaboration in product development, design and manufacturing, with an emphasis on intra-operative medical devices.

Ideaction – Brad Cawn (PhD ’17)
Web-based learning platform that provides just-in-time, practice-centered professional development to teachers and schools.

ImMaze – Walker McHugh (MSE ’17), Caroline Landau (MBA ’16)
Using a patent-pending diagnostic near-bedside device to rapidly determine correct medication.

MedAdvocate – Audrey Spalding (WMBA ’16), Abhijith Ajanahalli (WMBA ’16), Torey Hovest (WMBA ’16), Imad Nassar (WMBA ’16), Nancy Sidrak (WMBA ’16), Scott Skelton (WMBA ’16)
Fee-for-service, web-based solution where American Board-certified physicians provide personalized second opinions to cancer patients in India, empowering them with information to advocate for their best care.

Neurable – Ramses Alcaide (PhD ’15), Max Jacobson (MBA ’17)
Brain-computer interface(BCI) company, changing the way humans interact with their environment and transforming the lives of people with high-to-severe movement and speech impairments.

PadPick – Brandon Hodges (MBA ’16), Joe Price (MBA ’16), Ryan Steele (MBA ’16)
Dynamic real estate platform that helps home buyers and real estate agents better navigate the entire real estate process, from search, to selection, to post purchase needs.

Perfarm – Luiz Roberto Sodre (MBA ’16)
Application that improves management and optimizes resource use among farmers, primarily in Brazil.

Sage & Grace – Holly Price (MBA ’17)
A website and concierge service that educates and empowers grieving families to better, and more affordably, navigate the funeral planning process.

Skillet – Abigail Schachter (MPH ’16), Margaret Dowling (MPH ’16), Lily Hamburger (MBA ’16)
Convenient grab-and-go dinner kits containing a recipe and fresh ingredients for a nutritious home-cooked meal, sold through self-service kiosks.

socFoodBank – Suchandan Pal (PhD ’16)
Platform to reduce food waste by connecting small businesses, restaurant owners, and event organizers with volunteers.

StepFor – Jordan Golshan (BBA ’17), Andy Jinseok Lee (MS ’17), Hyorim Kim (BS ’17)
Maximizing the marketing value of every dollar spent on corporate donations by effectively engaging users through fitness powered crowdfunding.

WagePit – Nathan Brown (BS ’19), Joe Lacy (BA ’19), Michael Tang (BS ’19),  Kyle Zappitell (BS ’19)
Online real money wager matches for the casual gamer.

 In addition, nine teams will advance to the Michigan Business Challenge Social Impact Track Semi-Finals. Hosted by the Center for Social Impact in partnership with the Zell Lurie and Erb Institutes, the Social Impact Track supports the creation of new businesses, products, or services that promote social or environmental impact.


CARt – Stacey Matlen (MPH ’16), Mikaela Rodkin (MBA/MS ’17), Ali Jensen (MPH ’16), Christine Priori (MBA/MPH ’17)
Coordinating  rides for low-income, low-vehicle access individuals to get to and from supermarkets so they have increased access to healthy, affordable food.

GoodVest – Mohsen Ghazi (JD ’16)
Using advanced algorithms to provide data-driven insights into the social impact and financial strength of publicly traded companies.

Inverxion – Marco A. Hidalgo (MBA ’16)
Alternative investment firm that supports minority-owned businesses with capital investments of $10,000 or more.

Kulisha – Eric Katz (BBA ’17)
Offering a superior aquafeed using insects that adds value to aquaculture operations and reduces environmental impact.

LiquidGoldConcept – Jeff Plott (PhD ’16), Rachel Atwood (MHI ’16)
Fostering an open exchange of breastfeeding knowledge to develop evidence-based lactation education tools for parents and providers.

NELO – Chiedozie Okafor (MBA/MA ’16)
Online tool and app envisioned with students first to improve the number of at-risk students that not only graduate, but are positioned to be competitive in the job market.

Project MESA – Katherine Chen (BSE ’17), Bharathi Ram (MPH ’17), Molly Munsell (BSE ’18)
Designing a portable gynecological exam table to help rural clinicians in developing countries conduct more effective and frequent women’s examinations in mobile health settings.

socFoodBank – Suchandan Pal (PhD ’16)
Platform to reduce food waste by connecting small businesses, restaurant owners, and event organizers with volunteers.

StepFor – Jordan Golshan (BBA ’17), Andy Jinseok Lee (MS ’17), Hyorim Kim (BS ’17)
Maximizing the marketing value of every dollar spent on corporate donations by effectively engaging users through fitness-powered crowdfunding.

During each round, teams will pitch to a panel of judges comprised of entrepreneurs and investors. The winners from Round Two will advance to the MBC Semi-Finals on February 19, 2016. Select teams will then move forward to the Michigan Business Challenge Finals and compete for more than $85,000 in prizes. For more information on the competition visit: www.zli.bus.umich.edu/.


100 Student Startup Teams Kick Off 33rd Annual Michigan Business Challenge

The Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studiesat the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business announced the kick off of its annual business plan competition, the Michigan Business Challenge. Round one of the competition will take place today where participating teams will present their pitch to a panel of judges, and several of the top teams will be selected to advance to round two to compete in January. Now in its 33rd year, the Challenge continues to thrive as interest in entrepreneurship at the collegiate level is growing rapidly across a wide variety of disciplines and student degree programs.

Michigan Business Challenge, the University of Michigan’s annual campus-wide business plan competition, exposes students to a rigorous, multi-phase business development and planning process. Open to all current undergraduate and graduate students, more than 100 student teams from medicine, engineering, and a number of other different disciplines are expected to participate. These teams will have the opportunity to win a variety of cash prizes totaling more than $85,000, gain feedback from judges, and expand their business network with entrepreneurs and prospective investors.

“As interest in entrepreneurship continues to grow among students, we at the Zell Lurie Institute are proud to offer a competitive and intensive program to help both business and non-business majors gain experience building a business concept, developing it, and moving it toward launch,” said Sarika Gupta, managing director of the Zell Lurie Institute. “We engage students from all areas of study to test and validate their business concepts, and provide them with valuable feedback from seasoned entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.”

Last year, the Michigan Business Challenge debuted a social impact track in response to heightened interest in startups that have a social mission at their core. This track is presented in partnership with the Frederick A. and Barbara M. Erb Institute and the Center for Social Impact and was created to stimulate the creation of new businesses, products, or services that have a mission-driven goal or prioritize social and/or environmental considerations. In 2015, Blueprints for Pangaea was selected as the recipient of the Social Impact Award and $15,000 for the company’s work collecting unused medical supplies from local hospitals and shipping them to emerging nations that lack such supplies.

In 2015, the Pryor-Hale Award for Best Business and $20,000 cash prize was awarded to Companion, which launched a peer-to-peer safety app and participated in the Desai Accelerator. The early-stage accelerator is jointly managed by the Zell Lurie Institute and the College of Engineering’s Center for Entrepreneurship. Winners in past years have represented a wide range of industries, including educational tech, fashion, bio and medical tech, and app-based businesses.

For more information on the Michigan Business Challenge competition, deadlines, process, and eligibility, please visit: http://bit.ly/UM-MBC16.

Read the full press release here: http://bit.ly/PR-MBC16.

Entrepreneurship Course 2016 – Biomedical Commercialization

Entrepreneur BioMedicine Univeristy of MichiganAre you thinking about a career in healthcare consulting, investment banking, private equity or in-house business development? Or do you wish to join a healthcare product development and commercialization team in an established or an early-stage company?

If you are considering these options, you might find this interdisciplinary course from ZLI (ES 720) a worthwhile career booster or simply interesting. The class was developed at Johns Hopkins and is taught Winter A on Mondays, 6:30-9:30p.m.

Registration is open to MBA students and to graduate students in medicine, bioengineering, pharmacy, life sciences, law, public health, and health management.

The course is taught by ZLI Associate Director and Clinical Assistant Professor Eric Gordon. Professor Gordon’s areas of interest are entrepreneurship and technology commercialization, the biomedical industry (pharmaceuticals, devices and biotechnology), venture capital, private equity, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, and digital and mobile marketing. He also is a professor at the School of Law. He has served as an adviser or co-founder to numerous companies.

For more information email: rmegordo@umich.edu (Erik Gordon)

University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and the Zell Lurie Institute Named a Top Graduate Program in Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneur Ranking ZLI top four business schoolThe Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business has been nationally recognized for its visionary leadership, continuing innovation and high standard of excellence in entrepreneurship education. The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine named the Institute the No. 4 Graduate Program in Entrepreneurship in the U.S., in a joint ranking of the top 25 graduate entrepreneurship programs for 2016. This marks the sixth consecutive year the Institute has placed among the top five graduate programs in the nation. In addition, the University of Michigan was named the No. 7 program for undergraduate entrepreneurship education.

“As interest in entrepreneurship grows at a rapid pace, we at Michigan Ross are here to help students learn and determine if entrepreneurship is the right choice for them,” said Alison Davis-Blake, dean of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “The Zell Lurie Institute provides a number of world-class courses, programs, internships, and competitions that are a critical part of that process. Our focus on action-based learning, and the opportunity to manage real funds, develop real projects and interact with mentors who are successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists themselves is what sets Ross apart.”

The Zell Lurie Institute plays a formative role in the University’s thriving ecosystem of entrepreneurship education through its ongoing development of robust programming, comprehensive coursework, experiential learning and professional mentoring at Michigan Ross. The Institute’s cross-campus collaboration with the College of Engineering’s Center for Entrepreneurship has created valuable synergies and supported the launch and operation of the jointly managed TechArb student start-up business incubator and the new Desai Family Accelerator. Working with strategic partners at the University and in the business community, the Institute also has developed an impressive platform of annual symposia spanning entrepreneurial business, venture capital and private-equity investment that engages students with leading alumni, serial entrepreneurs, business practitioners and investors. In July 2015, the Zell Lurie Institute received a pledge of $60 million from the Zell Family Foundation, which provides additional endowed support for the continued delivery and development of entrepreneurship programs for students and alumni.

“What sets us apart year after year is our commitment to pushing the boundaries of entrepreneurship education and delivering the action-based learning experiences that prepare our students for career success, whether they are launching a start-up venture, driving innovation in an established company or pursuing a pathway in the venture-investment industry,” said Stewart Thornhill, executive director of the Zell Lurie Institute.

Since its inception in 1999, Zell Lurie has fostered the growth and enrichment of entrepreneurship education at Ross and across the University campus by awarding nearly $4.4 million in funding and engaging more than 5,500 students through its entrepreneurial program portfolio, which includes four student-led venture funds, Dare to Dream grants for student start-ups and the Michigan Business Challenge. These venues allow students to test and validate business ideas, procure funding at strategic stages of business development, connect and form management teams with their peers and receive coaching from seasoned entrepreneurs and prospective investors.

Michigan Ross has been widely recognized as a national leader in entrepreneurial business education. In addition to The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine ranking, the school earlier this year placed among the top 10 in a ranking of best business schools for entrepreneurship education by US News & World Report. To learn more about Ross and the Zell Lurie Institute, please visit michiganross.umich.edu/.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 530 other followers