Sweet 16 Chosen for 2017 UW Business Plan Competition

AbiliTrek advances to Sweet 16 of UW Business Plan Competition

AbiliTrek was among the top 16 teams chosen to advance to the next round.

Proving your business idea can make it in the real world is tough enough for most experienced entrepreneurs. That is why the journey of the top 16 teams in the UW Business Plan Competition is so special. They convinced nearly 300 judges that their ideas were viable enough to advance past the Investment Round. The semifinalists and two alternates—listed below—were chosen out of a pool of 36 teams at the event hosted by the Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship. Each had about four hours of face time with entrepreneurs, angel investors, venture capitalists, and BPC alumni from the Seattle area.

The teams who did not advance received feedback with the goal of setting them up for future success in the Jones + Foster Accelerator, 2018 competitions, or as startup entrepreneurs. A special group of judges also selected winners of the $5,000 Big Picture and $2,500 Best Idea prizes. Those awards will be handed out at the dinner and awards ceremony following the Sweet 16 and Final Round on May 25.

UW President Ana Mari Cauce at UW Business Plan Competition

University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce offered connections and advice to students.

University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce was among those who directly engaged with student competitors inside the HUB Ballroom. President Cauce spoke with several students—offering connections and advice. That level of personal interaction was present throughout the event as teams answered tough questions on their real world viability, financial projections, and more. Nine of the top 16 teams chosen to advance had previously competed in either the Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge or the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge. Many of the teams also first conceived their ideas in the “Creating a Company” class at the Foster School.

NASTEA and Co. were selected as alternates for UW Business Plan Competition Sweet 16

NASTEA & Co. was selected as an alternate and developed their idea in the “Creating a Company” class at the Foster School.

The 20th Anniversary of the BPC set a new bar for student entrepreneurship at the University of Washington and across the state. The 36 teams chosen to compete in the investment round represented—in total—12 colleges and universities. Teams from UW were comprised of students from 25 departments in 10 colleges and schools, including Bioengineering and Global Health.

The Sweet 16 round of the 20th Anniversary of the UW Business Plan Competition kicks off the morning of May 25, followed by the Final Round that afternoon. Prizes will be awarded later that evening at the BPC Dinner at MOHAI in South Lake Union. The keynote speaker for the night will be Christina Lomasney—President, CEO, and co-founder of Modumetal, Inc.

The new director of the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship will also be introduced at the event. Director Connie Bourassa-Shaw will transition into a new role as co-director of the new Master of Science in Entrepreneurship program at the Foster School before retiring in 2018. The first cohort for MS in Entrepreneurship program begins June 19.

DASO Soccer Smart Wall UW Business Plan Competition Investment Round

DASO Soccer Smart Wall impressed judges at the investment round

The Buerk Center is proud to celebrate the many sponsors who are helping make the 20th Anniversary of the UW Business Plan Competition a reality. In the past 19 years, 4,693 undergraduate and graduate students on 1,453 teams have entered the BPC. Of that group, 154 teams have been awarded almost $1,296,000 in prize money. That number grows to $ 2,210,740 if you include the awards for the Jones + Foster Accelerator program, which many successful BPC teams enter following the competition. Overall, the Buerk Center has awarded more than $2.8 million dollars to students since 1998.


A-Alpha Bio
At A-Alpha Bio, we aim to reduce the number of drugs that fail after reaching late-stage clinical trials by providing the first multiplexed in vitro toxicity screen to quantitatively measure off-target inhibition of protein interactions.
Team Member(s): University of Washington, Seattle—Bioengineering, Business


AbiliTrek provides hotel booking services with a focus on people with disabilities through a user-generated review system of hotels based on their accessibility.
Team Member(s): Western Washington University—Business, Computer Science


Airy provides battery-less, wireless home security solution through sensors that can be mounted on the door or window frame to harvest mechanical energy from the impact produced in the normal operation.
Team Member(s): University of Washington, Seattle—Electrical Engineering, Business


Bellhapp is restaurant technology that links customers to restaurants through a web app during the dine-in experience, improving customer experience and increasing restaurant profits.
Team Member(s): University of Washington, Seattle—Informatics


DASO Soccer Smart Wall
The DASO Soccer Smart Wall is a rebounder that tells the user where to kick and analyzes performance. This information creates a score for gaming and detailed user performance histories that will power an online hub of scouting and competition.
Team Member(s): The Evergreen State College—Business


Discovery Health
Discovery Health is a comprehensive medical risk management program for the maritime industry. We are a team of highly experienced physicians in maritime, emergency, and travel medicine, with an unparalleled understanding of the maritime industry.
Team Member(s): Seattle University—Business


EpiForAll has created an affordable epinephrine auto-injector alternative to existing, expensive auto-injectors. As a business, we plan to provide access to a life-saving drug to consumers currently priced out of the market in the U.S. and abroad.
Team Member(s): University of Washington, Seattle—Mechanical Engineering, Education, Business, Materials Science, Pharmacy


Goodwill Hunting
We get free clothes from our partnership with Goodwill, embroider them with your logo, and sell them to your school, company, or organization. Now, you can show your community without conformity.
Team Member(s): Presidio Graduate School, Seattle—Business


Sustainable, high-quality fish feed at competitive prices by utilizing scientific and engineering innovations that convert retail food waste.
Team Member(s): University of Washington, Seattle—Chemical Engineering, Business


The LC-Tourniquet represents the first pre-hospital treatment for Acute Limb Ischemia, a multibillion-dollar industry.
Team Member(s): University of Washington, Seattle—Business


Lignin Biojet
Our business plan is to scale up a patented jet fuel technology from the current lab scale to pilot scale and eventually to a demonstration plant that can attract licensees, manufacturing partners, and investments.
Team Member(s): Washington State University—Business, Biological Systems Engineering


Membrion believes that filtering molecules should be as simple as making a cup of coffee. We borrow technology from the food packaging industry to make a membrane that lowers the cost of clean water, alternative energy and longer lasting batteries.
Team Member(s): University of Washington, Seattle—Chemical Engineering, Business


Nova Solar Glazing
A long-held dream of both architects and proponents of sustainable cities is to harvest, rather than reflect solar energy, and produce electricity. A way of making solar windows truly practical and affordable had yet to be found, until now.
Team Member(s): Western Washington University—Business, Industrial Design, Chemistry, Electrical Engineering


PlayGait is a non-electronic, adjustable, and low-cost gait improvement device that clinicians and parents can use to support in-home and community walking practice for kids with neuromuscular disorders. Your investment in PlayGait will bring the first non-electronic pediatric exoskeleton to market!
Team Member(s): University of Washington, Seattle—Business, Mechanical Engineering


ShopSight is a data platform that combines RFID technology with patent-pending signal processing and machine-learning algorithms to provide brick and mortar retailers with consumer behavior data that is comparably granular to that of e-commerce sites
Team Member(s): University of Washington, Seattle—Business, Computer Science & Engineering


SwarmFX aims to revolutionize wildfire fighting by implementing small Unmanned Aircraft System fleets with multifaceted payloads. Within a $4 billion market, our first response services are designed to integrate into existing fire agencies.
Team Member(s): University of Washington, Seattle—Chemical Engineering, Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering



At Epiphany, we are introducing an innovative veterinary practice management system that streamlines practice operations for the small animal veterinary clinic segment, while creating a veterinary healthcare data set for the life science industry.
Team Member(s): University of Washington, Seattle—Business


NASTEA & Co. carefully choses each ingredient in our bottled white coffee dirty chai that has the perfect balance of sweet and spicy with white coffee beans that have up to three times the caffeine of regular coffee beans.
Team Member(s): University of Washington, Seattle—Medical Anthropology & Global Health, Visual Arts, Communications


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