Entrepreneurs at Three Massachusetts Colleges Rake in the Prize Money

4/15/08

While the rest of us have spent the last few days getting ready to turn our money over to state and federal governments, several area colleges have been giving theirs to student entrepreneurs.

First up was Harvard, which last Wednesday awarded more than $50,000 in prizes to the winners of the I³ Harvard College Innovation Challenge, which was run by the Harvard College Entrepreneurship Forum with help from Harvard Student Agencies and the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard. Next came Babson College, which handed out almost $100,000 in cash and services to the winners of its graduate and undergraduate business plan competitions. (Babson claims to have been first in a different sense, though, touting itself as the first academic institution to run a student business plan competition; the school’s undergraduate contest dates back to 1984.) And yesterday Boston University chimed in, announcing the winners of its $50K Business Plan Competition, run by the school’s Institute for Technology Entrepreneurship & Commercialization.

So what nascent companies are the proud recipients of all this prize money?

I³ Harvard College Innovation Challenge

Cookie Crumbs ($15,000)
This mobile service lets users write and view geographically relevant notes using mobile devices such as cell phones, PDAs, and laptops.

Groupspeak ($15,000)
This site bills itself as “a chat site without chat rooms” that links members in different cities and networks based on their interests.

VoteGopher.com ($10,000)
This is a non-partisan, interactive 2008 election website created by Harvard students.

PaperG ($5,000)
This online advertising network just released its first product, the self-serve virtual bulletin board called Flyerboard.

UniThrive ($5,000)
UniThrive is developing a platform for peer-to-peer, alumni-to-student loans.

Rover
With launch planned for September, Rover is aiming to deliver Let’s Go travel guides to cell phones.

Cheapside Foodery
This student service offers online ordering and free delivery of food for student organization meetings and parties.

Babson College Douglass Foundation Graduate Business Plan Competition

Incentive Targeting (First Place, $20,000)
Incentive promises “true behavioral marketing at low cost and with minimal overhead.”

InCytu (Second Place, $10,000)
This cell therapy company’s first product is a patch to help heal diabetic foot ulcers.

Atayne (Third Place, $5,000)
Business cooperative Atayne offers “high performing, planet- and people-safe sportswear” using incentives to encourage the use of recycled raw materials.

Babson College John H. Muller, Jr., Undergraduate Business Plan Competition

Before The Stores (First Place, $5,000)
This e-commerce/market-research firm sells and collects data on “As Seen on TV” products

Chaska Hotel & Spa (Second Place, $2,500)
Chaska is an eco-friendly hotel “committed to improving the quality of lodging in Peru’s Sacred Valley of the Incas while allowing visitors to embrace Incan culture and the area’s beautiful natural surroundings.”

Treating Eating (Third Place, $1,000)
An anonymous online community for people with eating disorders and their friends and families.

Boston University ITEC $50K Business Plan Competition*

Essense Medical (First Place)
Essense is developing disposable devices for cancer diagnosis and treatment.

RemesaTel (Second Place)
Offers text-messaging based tools to allow Mexican citizens in the U.S. and Mexico to transfer funds without paying exorbitant fees.

AutoNAIS (Third Place)
AutoNAIS is developing a lab tool to dramatically simplify the separation and sampling procedures typically necessary to prepare DNA samples.

*The dollar values of the individual prizes were not announced, but I’ve got calls in to track them down.

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  • http://Rrankk.com Erik Sebesta

    Wonder how much competitive due diligence is done by the awards committees.

    Some examples:

    InCytu –> strong competition from Advanced BioHealing, the emerging leader in Diabetic Foot Ulcer care.

    Cookie Crumbs –> How does it distinguish itself from SpotStory and similar competitors ?

    Cheapside Foodery –> Wasn’t there a Harvard startup which tried to deliver McDonalds on campus but soon folded?

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