Competition takes student entrepreneurship beyond the classroom
By: Christi Fish
PUBLIC AFFAIRS SPECIALIST
UMDI, a team comprised of four engineering students and three business students who developed a prototype electrolytic gastric leak detector (eGLD) and wrote a business plan to market the technology, triumphed this weekend at the $100,000 Student Technology Venture Competition, presented by the UTSA Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship (CITE). The technology, a smart drain with electricity detecting sensors, monitors and reports the balance of electrolytes in patients undergoing gastric bypass surgery.
UTSA teams ATALIS and Voice Detection for the Deaf respectively placed second and third in the business planning competition, held Saturday, April 23 at the UTSA Downtown Campus.
ATALIS offers an RFID-based technology that identifies and weighs bottles stocked by business and bar owners in real-time to determine if the correct amount and type of alcohol is used for a particular drink and to determine if the charge is correct. Voice Detection for the Deaf offers a mobile technology to assist in the awareness of surroundings of the deaf and hard of hearing by integrating an alerting wristband with a mobile phone application.
IDEA Finishing School Chief Financial Officer Rudy De La Garza has now judged three iterations of UTSA’s $100K tech competition. His company identifies new entrepreneurial talent and helps those young entrepreneurs develop their companies and take them to market.
“This year’s presentations were probably the best of all the presentations they’ve had in the past,” De La Garza. “We like the technology we see out of UTSA.”
In all, nine student teams competed this weekend at UTSA’s $100,000 Student Technology Venture Competition. UTSA’s six other competitors included:
- ACESS, which offers a new way to efficiently capture, store and transfer energy using multiple super capacitors in a series in its storage circuit
- B.A.T., which offers a safe and convenient technology to jump-start a battery
- FDIP, which offers an ultra-violet camera system and robotic component to eliminate faulty produce from food packaging lines
- Ortho Applications, which offers the Synergy Wrap, a portable hot/cold therapeutic wrap that is digitally controlled and regulated to provide safe and consistent hot or cold temperatures
- PowerSole, which offers the SolarSole technology, a shoe that harnesses both piezo electricity and solar energy to charge a small back up battery located in its heel for the purpose of charging handheld electronic devices, and
- SCHRUBR, which offers a technology that promotes a clean environment by cleaning and removing bio fouling that has accumulated on the hulls of ships
UTSA’s biannual $100,000 tech competition is the largest business planning competition in San Antonio. UTSA established the competition in 2007 when it observed that its engineering students were developing new technologies and its business students were writing business plans, but neither group of students continued their efforts beyond turning in their projects for a grade. With the competition in place, UTSA’s students are now developing marketable technologies and forming viable new companies based on those technologies.
During competition, teams are judged by local academic, business and entrepreneurial experts on their technology, business plan and presentation.
“The final test of the competition is the venture pitch portion of the competition,” said Cory Hallam, director of CITE. “Each team is given the stage for eight minutes to convince investors to invest in their company. At this year’s competition, investment discussions were initiated between a local investment group and several of the teams the morning of the competition. The outcome remains to be seen, but looks positive.”
Winners receive $100,000 in services and prizes including consulting, marketing and legal services, office space and other benefits.
The $100,000 Student Technology Venture Competition was sponsored the Texas Research & Technology Foundation, Cox | Smith, the Harvard Business School Club of San Antonio, the San Antonio Technology Center, Startech and the UTSA Colleges of Business and Engineering.