Varsity, Malleable Medical Take Top Honors at CU-Boulder Competition

4/23/14Follow @MichaelXBD

College life can be overwhelming for some students. There are so many events to attend, clubs to join, classes to take—and parties to go to—that finding out about the coolest stuff and what’s right for you can be a challenge.

Varsity, a mobile application designed by a team of University of Colorado at Boulder computer science and business school students, aims to change that. The team presented its app Tuesday night at CU-Boulder’s New Venture Challenge and walked away with $10,000.

Varsity split the $20,000 top prize with Malleable Medical Tech, a team of materials chemists that has developed a new type of plastic that can be used in prosthetics and orthopedic devices.

The New Venture Challenge is CU-Boulder’s top event for student and faculty entrepreneurs. This year it drew 48 teams from the business and music schools, computer science and chemistry departments, and Boulder Digital Works, a design program for graduate students that is affiliated with the university.

Five teams competed in the finals in front of about 250 people who packed an auditorium in the CU Law School.

Varsity founder Devon Tivona described his app as a tool “designed to help students find what they love through a personalized feed of events, clubs, and classes based upon their interest.” He said it would replace the cluttered bulletin boards and e-mail event lists that few people read.

Students sign in with their university IDs and find their class schedule already loaded. They then answer a few questions about their interests, and the Varsity software goes to work providing recommendations.

But Varsity isn’t just for students, and the team would market it to colleges. The data it collects can be used by universities to see which activities draw attendees and what their students are interested in, Tivona said.

The universities could then use the data to streamline marketing efforts and tailor event programming to their student bodies.

Malleable Medical Tech won its share of the grand prize for work on a new type of plastic

The way plastics are made is undergoing a revolution, Malleable Medical founder Philip Taynton said, and “the first thing it’s going to revolutionize is the world of orthopedic and prosthetic devices.”

Taynton said the plastic his company is developing is twice as strong and can be molded at half the temperature of traditional plastics. He expects podiatrists will be able to use the commercially available product to make devices that cost 25 percent less than those made using current methods. Making a device could take as little as 10 minutes, he said.

Malleable Medical Tech would originally focus on orthopedic devices, but it could be used “anywhere where you want to mold something hard and tough to fit your body,” Taynton said.

NeuroPractice, a startup out of the college of music, finished third and received $1,000 from the judges. The company has created a headset that measures brainwaves and … Next Page »

Michael Davidson is the editor of Xconomy Boulder/Denver. He covers startups, venture capital, clean tech, energy, aerospace, telecoms, and whatever else happens above 5,280 feet. Contact him at mdavidson@xconomy.com. Follow @MichaelXBD

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