UW Business Plan Competition Yields $25K Awardee, Nanocel, and Many Other Winners

5/22/09Follow @gthuang

From an initial field of 90 teams last month, down to 33 presenters, and the sweet 16 and finals yesterday, the business plan competition at the University of Washington has captivated us with the spirit and determination of these student innovators and their veteran advisors. Some 30 judges from the Seattle-area innovation community participated in the final rounds as well, including Rebecca Lovell of the Northwest Entrepreneur Network, Bill McAleer and Geoff Entress of Voyager Capital, and Adrian Smith of Ignition Partners.

The sweet 16 were whittled down to five finalists in the morning (and nary a software or Internet play among them):

—Energizing Solutions, a UW team working on making motors more efficient to reduce unplanned downtime in industrial facilities

—Hydrosense, a UW team developing a low-cost, sensing system for tracking water use in the home

—Nanocel, a UW and Seattle University team making a liquid cooling system for electronics

—Shockmetrics, a UW team with novel medical technology to detect shock in patients before it’s too late

—Soluxra, a UW team commercializing cheap organic solar cell technology for residential solar panels, electricity-producing windows, and other applications

At the evening awards ceremony at the Bell Harbor conference center, all of the teams in the competition were honored. The $25,000 grand prize went to Nanocel (see co-founder Daniel Rossi’s post going into the finals here), with Energizing Solutions as the runner-up. It’s interesting that both companies are fundamentally about making physical equipment more efficient.

But there were many other prize winners as well. Here’s a quick rundown (including some teams that didn’t make the final five in the grand prize competition):

$25,000 Grand Prize: Nanocel

$10,000 Second Place: Energizing Solutions

$5,000 Finalist Prize: Shockmetrics

$5,000 Finalist Prize: HydroSense

Best Tech Idea: Nanocel

Best Consumer Product: Big Canvas (UW team developing rich media and art for mobile communications)

Best Innovation Idea: Shockmetrics

Best Service/Retail Idea: Ecowell (Washington State University team developing litter-free vending machines that let you customize your drink)

Best Sustainable Advantage: Sisalwood (UW team with a sustainable alternative to hardwood for interior design)

Best Clean Tech Idea: HydroSense

(Congratulations to all the teams, and see you again next year.)

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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