Urbana, IL - April 16, 2013
Eight student startups competed for over $110,000 in funding and in-kind prizes, during the 13th annual Cozad Competition this weekend.
The Technology Entrepreneur Center (TEC) hosted the Cozad semi-finals on Friday, where 20 teams gave timed presentations which were challenged by questions from an esteemed panel of judges. Twenty teams were cute down to eight for Saturday's finals.
First place for Most Fundable Venture, a $25,000 prize, was awarded to Servabo, a personal protection technology company which provides 'one-click access to safety'. On top this win, the team also won acceptance into the I-Start Program through EnterpriseWorks and legal services from Meyer Capel. Servabo was founded by Nishana Ismail and Tim Deppen, both Graduate Students in Mechanical Engineering.
Wedlum, a startup that provides a suite of online tools designed to inform and connect wedding vendors with "to-be-wed" couples, took second place, granting them $10,000. They also won mentorship and clubhouse membership from TechNexus and legal services from Meyer Capel. The Wedlum team includes Owen Carr and Igor Arouca, both MBA candidates.
CELLular Diagnostics took home third place, $5,000, for their venture that is developing a smartphone biosensor for on-site diagnosis of disease and malnutrition. They also won legal services from Meyer Capel. The CELLular Diagnostics team includes Kenneth Long, Graduate Student in Bioengineering and Medical Student; Jenni Salisbury, Masters Student in Accountancy; Dr. Brian Cunningham, Professor in Bioengineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering; and Hojeong Yu, Graduate Student in Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Farm Hand won the Adobe Innovation Prize, consulting from Cogent Innovations in the area of SBIR grant writing, incubation space in EnterpriseWorks for 12 months, and legal services from Singleton Law Firm, PC. The Farm Hand team, which includes Preston Schrader, Masters Student in Crop Science, and Ivan Dozier, undergraduate in Crop Science, is working on a startup that provides the agricultural industry with essential solutions to questions concerning pest management and yield protection.
Freyr Technologies, Inc., a startup that brings intelligence to farming, also won incubation space in EnterpriseWorks. Their team includes Jing Jiang, Masters Student in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Tristan Wietsma, PhD student in Civil Engineering.
Global Petals LLC - a web marketplace unifying the flower world to exchange insight and products, which includes worldwide buyers, sellers, and enthusiasts - won space in Chicago's 1871 for this summer. The Global Petals LLC team includes Michael Lyons, undergraduate in Finance; Jay Cupp, undergraduate in Accounting; and Jack Berg, undergraduate in Civil Engineering.
The SuperGirl Group, startup that connects physical dolls to an online community that lets girls unleash their imaginations on real world challenges, won the Adobe Technology Innovation Prize, semester-long consulting from Illinois Business Consulting, and business formation services from Synergy Law. The SuperGirl Group was founded by Janna Eaves, undergraduate in Materials Science & Engineering, and Supriya Hobbs, undergraduate in Chemical Engineering.
Toolkitt - a startup that helps creative professionals build stunning web portfolios that give them a competitive advantage—won space in 1871, the Adobe Technology Innovation Prize, consulting services from Serra Ventures, and business formation services from Synergy Law. Founder, Ben Ng, is an undergraduate in Computer Science.
Decanto was awarded consulting and business formation services from Synergy Law. This startup, led by Jason Roesslein and Andrew Bell who are both undergrads in Mechanical Engineering, creates a packaging innovation that aerates boxed wine as it is dispensed from the box.
The Cozad Competition was sponsored this year by EnterpriseWorks, Meyer Capel, 1871, Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership, Adobe, Fox Development Corporation (FDC), IllinoisVENTURES, Singleton Law Firm, P.C., Synergy Law Group, LLC., TechNexus, University of Illinois Webstore, Cogent Innovations Incorporated, Cozad Asset Management, Inc., Illinois Technology Association, WeGather.com, HydePark Venture Partners, lightbank, Origin Ventures, Serra Ventures, TINITT Ventures, Venture Investors.