UW Business Plan Competition Draws 33 Teams With Ideas for Software, Energy, Healthcare

4/8/09Follow @gthuang

The ballots are in, and the University of Washington’s annual Business Plan Competition is officially under way. The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Foster School of Business has run the event for the past 11 years, awarding some $757,000 in prize money to 71 student companies that have crafted the most compelling and innovative business proposals each year. (We reported on last year’s winner, Impel NeuroPharma, and finalist Voltan Biofuel, which became AXI.)

After a long weekend of deliberations, a screening committee of 81 judges has narrowed down this year’s field of 90 submissions to 33 teams that will present in an “investment round” of pitching to live judges. The investment round takes place on April 28, and the teams that advance will submit full business plans by May 18. The final rounds of the competition and the awards ceremony will take place on May 21.

Most of the proposals are based on novel technologies from the UW, but there are a few from other universities including Washington State and Seattle University. Three of the teams (HydroSense, NanoCel, and Ecowell) already placed in the top three of last week’s Environmental Business Competition at the UW, as Luke reported.

Here are five other teams that caught my eye (and why):

—3 Phase Energy Systems, a UW team developing a way to harness wasted exhaust energy and feed it back into the power grid. (Energy efficiency is a growing market and seems to offer the kind of potential for 10-fold, venture capital-style investment returns.)

—CareerLuv, a UW team working on a proprietary software algorithm to help match job hunters with career opportunities. (It’s a crowded field, but if they have an edge, they could break into the market with very little capital.)

—Dose Safety, a Seattle University team developing software to effectively operate an artificial pancreas consisting of a continuous glucose monitor and insulin pump. (This could serve a critical and growing need for treating diabetes, but the issue is how well it works and how simple it is to use.)

—Soluxra, a UW team working on cheap, energy-efficient solar cells based on organic polymer materials. (This could be an important piece of the renewable energy pie; Rachel profiled the work here.)

—TracRx, a UW team working on a medication tracking service to help patients stick to their prescribed medications and doses. (This project sits at the booming intersection of healthcare and IT, and fills a crucial need to help caregivers keep track of the myriad medications that many patients need to take.)

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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