One last pitch for fall term: students wow judges with big ideas

BA 260 teams, Launch Academy students and “Next Great Startup” pitch competitors wow judges with big ideas

Three minutes to pitch, another three to take questions, and then a few moments for judges to make notes. Through two days of competitions, hours of presentations on three separate competitive event platforms, the College of Business and OSU entrepreneurs filled Austin Hall awaiting their chance to pitch – and their chance to win startup funds.

This is InnovationX, the OSU Center of Excellence for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which serves students of all majors across the university.

Launch Academy and BA 260 “Introduction to Entrepreneurship”

The second-year students of BA 260 “Introduction to Entrepreneurship,” and the business startups enrolled in Launch Academy incubator courses (BA 367 and BA 368) appeared in Stirek Auditorium Friday for their reckoning. These were the survivors – through the various elimination rounds across three separate panels of judges.

Team Creative Hub took the top prize of $1000 for BA 260 students, besting the elevator pitches of the more than 350 students enrolled in the course.

Among the Launch Academy competitors, ShoeBio, Medivac and Melaknow were the top-funded businesses of the 14 teams. Altogether Launch Academy startups earned more than $15,000 in support from the Giles Student Entrepreneurs Fund.

OSU Advantage Accelerator “Next Great Startup”

At the Thursday event, the engineering and business students competing in OSU Advantage Accelerator’s annual “The Next Great Startup” appeared for the preliminary showdown. Of those teams, Melaknow and Kickback will advance. These finalists from the preliminary competition will compete against student teams from across OSU during a university-wide competition held winter term.

There are patents pending; there are companies with legit annual sales; there are seasoned startup teams that have been catching the eye and ear and pocketbook of venture capitalists throughout the region. Here’s some more details of our students’ work and their incredible business ideas:

Medivac system refrigerates medications

Noah Hoffman opened his pitch with a dramatic statistic from the Hurricane Maria aftermath in Puerto Rico – in just two months after the disaster, deaths attributed to diabetes increased by 46 percent. He points out that insulin degrades within six hours at temperatures higher than 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

His startup Medivac provides a portable, reliable, and long-lasting refrigeration unit offering freedom and security for diabetics. His product is a hybrid cooling box about the size of a lunchbox that mixes passive and active cooling methods to provide long-lasting and secure cold storage for any biologic medication.

“Not only do we provide peace of mind for those without power, but we also enable everyday people who rely on temperature-controlled medications to travel, camp, and venture further than they’ve ever been able to before,” Hoffman said.

Medivac earned $2,000 in funding from the Giles Fund.

MelaKnow app screens moles for cancer

Eli Winkelman, for MelaKnow, points out that the most significant factor for surviving a skin cancer diagnosis is early detection. He also cites data that nationally dermatologists are in short supply, with appointment windows opening only six months into the future. Long enough for a patient to worry, or simply forget and move on.

MelaKnow is a skin cancer screening tool for primary care providers to better diagnose cancer with their smartphones. With MelaKnow’s machine-learning, primary care providers improve their diagnosis from 50 percent accuracy to 90 percent accuracy.

MelaKnow, which is currently applying for NSF grant funding, also earned $2,000 in funding from the Giles Fund. streamlines online shoe shopping

Benjamin Steinhorn, presenting, describes it as “Trivago for sneakers.” His team harnesses big data with a patent-pending normalization algorithm to streamline the buying process, create price alerts for deals or other alerts for styles and sizes. His polished, functioning platform earned $2,500 in funding, but seeks six digits worth of capital investments.

“ShoeBio has a variety of monetization strategies,” Steinhorn explains. “Our largest revenue stream is affiliate marketing. We are in the process of becoming affiliated with all of the websites that we search which allows custom URL coding for each link. We have applied for 250 and will be approved for them within a week of when we applied. We will apply for new programs as soon as we find them, when new websites are added to the platform. Additionally, each affiliate program averages 7 to 8 percent commission payout.”

Dotmap Knife interface assists gaming event organizers

Graham Barber’s entrepreneurial passion is dotmap, a company that creates tools for game developers. Graham presented Knife, a platform that makes it easy to organize and sustain events called game jams, where people create games in a limited period of time.

Knife provides a robust, customizable web-based interface that helps organizers track participants, teams, submissions, and more — all of the moving parts of their event. With Knife, game jam organizers can spend less time building their own management system, and spend more time engaging with their community to run a better event.

Knife earned $500 in funding from the Giles Fund.

[Event photos]

Complete list of winners

Two finalists advance to the next stage of the Advantage Accelerator’s Next Great Startup. They’ll compete against the best OSU teams that survive the winter-term elimination rounds and were each awarded $500 cash prizes.

  • Melaknow
  • Kickback

BA 260 “Introduction to Entrepreneurship” class winners:

  • Creative Hub – $1,000
  • UpSprout – $500
  • Dress to Impress – $300

Other BA 260 that reached the final round (and winners of $100):

  • NannyNow
  • Impact Systems
  • Go Find Me
  • PassportBox
  • Endless Energy

Launch Academy (the incubator for OSU student entrepreneurs) awarded winners:

  • ShoeBio $2,500
  • Medivac $2,000
  • MelaKnow $2,000
  • Zazu $1,500
  • Soulful Boards $1,500
  • Poppins $1,000
  • PAI $1,000
  • Kickback $500
  • Sanctuary $500
  • Rental Consultant $500
  • BrakeBoy $500
  • Knife $500
  • Halo Holds $500
  • Gigspace $500
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