BPC teams head for the Sweet Sixteen

Photo Apr 27, 2 14 24 PM

At the nineteenth annual UW Business Plan Competition (BPC) Investment Round, student innovations took center stage. This tradeshow-style round involved 335 judges listening to the 36 teams’ pitches for technologies ranging from chocolate-covered espresso beans to self-recharging, implantable GPS for pets. A total of 96 teams applied for the BPC — 36 of those teams were selected for the Investment Round on Thursday, April 27 and competed for spots in the Sweet Sixteen, which will take place on May 26.

For 19 years, the BPC has been a powerful catalyst for turning student innovation into new ventures. More than 100 companies that came through the BPC are still in business, including Experiment, Uphill Designs, and NanoString Technologies. This year’s teams and technologies were more impressive than ever. Judges commented on the teams’ incredible pitching ability and how well-developed the companies and ideas were.

The BPC is best known for the visibility it provides student entrepreneurs and the connections that are made among judges and students. This year, a total of $85,000 will be awarded, from the $25K Herbert B. Jones Foundation Grand Prize, the $10K WRF Capital Second Place Prize to the seven $2.5K Best Idea Prizes. This year’s Best Idea Prizes include REI’s Best Retail Innovation Idea and Cambia Health Solutions’ Best Health/Healthcare Idea. New this year are the Big Picture Prizes, including UIEvolution’s $5,000 Internet of Things (IoT) prize and AARP’s Aging in Place prize. Best Idea and Big Picture prizes were decided during the Investment Round but will not be announced until the end of the competition.

Learn about the Sweet Sixteen teams below and read more about the BPC 2016 sponsors and prizes here.

Di Sun, Mariko Howard, Adam Zhu, Jenny Wang, Bruno Out, David Zerby; UW Electrical Engineering, UW Bothell Electrical Engineering, UW Bothell Mechanical Engineering, UW Japanese, UW Political Science, UW Foster School of Business

Aquapel patented technologies create a self-cleaning system for solar panels by creatively manipulating water droplets movement on the panel’s surface. By doing this, we eliminate labor cost, minimize water usage, and cut back the payback time by 25 percent.

Rishabh Jain, Corey Cole, Trevor Allen, Max Schreiber; UW Foster School of Business, UW Informatics, UW Human-Centered Design and Engineering

Bellhapp is a technology startup dedicated to revolutionizing the way restaurants do business. We work with restaurants that want to move part of their customer interaction onto an adaptive mobile platform by providing an ecosystem that links the consumer, waitstaff, and management team better than ever before.

Decaf Style
Chun-Chia Kao, Archana Narayan, Yu-Liang Liu, Muhamad Said, Matthew Willett; UW Chemical Engineering, UW Foster School of Business

Decaf Style: Decaf On The Way to Go is currently developing new natural and cost-effective materials that provide instant beverage decaffeination without use of chemicals or affecting the taste.

Emily Willard, Katherine Brandenstein; WSU Bioengineering

Engage develops medical technology for developing countries with a shortage of resources, initially through the product SafeShot to reduce the spread of bloodborne diseases.

Daniel Behrman, Ryan Gerber, Ken Horenstein; UW Foster School of Business, UW Human-ComputerInteraction and Design

Hitch’d is the world’s first mobile-forward, data-driven booking solution for couples looking to plan their dream wedding. Our goal is to create a streamlined service that simplifies and accelerates the wedding planning and vendor booking process.

Ionic Windows
Anthony Moretti, Ian Hochstein; UW Chemical Engineering, UW Foster School of Business

Ionic Windows provides membranes to flow battery manufacturers that enable a 25 percent capital cost reduction, making grid-scale renewable energy economically viable.

Michael Jooste, Marene Wiley; UW Foster School of Business, UW Political Economy

At JikoPower, thermoelectric generators harness wasted energy and convert it into electricity to charge cell phones, LED lights, and other small devices. By doing this, JikoPower is able to provide safe, sustainable energy to people around the world.

Joe Chocolates
Renee Chang, Sam Tanner, Grace Bentson; UW Visual Communication Design, UW Foster School of Business

At Joe Chocolates, the mission is to make the best chocolate-covered espresso beans, allowing people to take their favorite Seattle coffees with them around the city and around the world.

Christopher Joyce, Ryan Delacruz, Colin Johnston, Omeed Faghih; UW Biochemistry, UW Foster School of Business, UW Pharmacy

MetRS has discovered new antibiotics that have great potency against drug-resistant bacteria like MRSA and Staph. If approved this drug could save approximately $27 million in healthcare costs and 55 lives daily.

miPS Labs
Alex Jiao, Jenna Strully, Ned Whalen, Rob Thomas, Aakash Sur, Winnie Leung; UW Bioengineering, UW Foster School of Business, UW Biomedical and Health Informatics

Preserve your cells today. Regenerate your body tomorrow. miPS Labs offers consumers cell preservation and personalized stem cell generation for stem cell therapies and diagnostics.

MultiModal Health
Brian Mogen, Lars Crawford, Tyler Libey, Dimitrios Gklezakos; UW Bioengineering, UW Neurobiology, UW Computer Science & Engineering

MultiModal Health develops connected platforms using affordable sensing and analytic technology to understand and improve health for everyone.

Shane Colburn, Nerea Alayo, Alan Zhan, Snigdha Singh, Lionel Wang; UW Electrical Engineering, UW Physics, Foster School of Business

Ocumen offers a sensor for mobile, instant monitoring of eye pressure to assist in glaucoma management. The sensor will be implanted through a well-known sutureless surgery procedure, which is critical for the acceptance of the sensor.

Ipolitas Dunaravich, Ashley Smith, Javier Schialer, Alex Zhouk, Sebastian Schialer; UW Foster School of Business

The world’s first self-recharging implantable GPS, created to effectively help recover lost or stolen pets.

Smart Charger Pro
Yanbo Qi, Yutian Qian, Samson Smith, Niccolo Fortes, Nannan Jiang; UW Chemical Engineering

The Smart Charger Pro offers customers a smarter and customizable way to charge their electronic devices; utilizing flexible rates, a quicker charge or a longer life per charge and improved battery health can be achieved while reducing battery waste.

Kevin Ye, Nick Mao, Keegan Farley; UW Psychology, UW Foster School of Business, UW Informatics

Teams are currently juggling three different tools just to talk internally, and the worst part is none of the tools talk to each other. Tack provides a mobile platform that helps non-technical teams collaborate by combining communication and task management

Z-ion+ Technologies
Marvin Mecwan, Ruying Chen, Sabrina Kamran, Marleny Santos, Mackenzie O’Berry; UW Bioengineering, UW Pharmacology, UW Foster School of Business

Z-ion+ technologies utilizes patent-pending technology to make non-stick, long-lasting, durable coatings that can be applied to any vascular medical device to prevent complications due to blood clots.


Jack Parker, Spencer Seim, Ryan Kadletz; Pinchot University MBA

Marketing automation software for the commercial real estate industry that increases broker efficiency by eliminating manual, repetitive data entry.

Weston Dotson, Jeremy Gratz, Megan Tollefson; Eastern Washington University Mechanical Engineering

Rite-Rain is the first product that controls hose-attached lawn irrigation sprinklers using ground moisture sensor technology, resulting in water cost savings and increased convenience for homeowners.

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