February 26, 2014
A Web-based app for follow-up dermatologist treatment, clock generator technology for microprocessors, and an energy system that quickly charges electric vehicles at commercial buildings were among student startups that will share in $113,000.
Winners in the 31st annual Michigan Business Challenge were announced Monday along with recipients of grants targeted at promising student-led startups by the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business.
"Through a combination of education and action-based learning experiences, we are preparing our students — the next generation of entrepreneurs and venture investors — for the real-world processes that go into establishing and growing new ventures," said Stewart Thornhill, executive director of the Zell Lurie Institute.
"For more than 30 years, the Michigan Business Challenge and Dare to Dream grant programs have helped us with these endeavors, and each year, we've been more and more impressed by the quality of the businesses and determination of the student entrepreneurs all across campus."
The Michigan Business Challenge is a four-month, multiround competition that began in the fall with 68 teams of students from across U-M's 19 schools and colleges. Last week, four finalist teams were chosen to present their businesses in an interactive session with professional investors.
The Pryor-Hale Award for Best Business for $20,000 went to Movellus Circuits, represented by Muhammad Faisal, a doctoral student in electrical engineering and computer science, and MBA student Daniel Andersen for their patent-pending clock generator technology for the microprocessor market.
"Winning the Michigan Business Challenge gives us financial resources and confidence for interactions with system-on-chip companies such as Qualcomm and Psikick — our potential customers," Andersen said.
Other winners included:
• Flipsi: U-M alumni Jeff Plott and Chris Plott, both of whom earned master's degrees in engineering, were awarded $12,500 for their reusable drinking bottle that flips completely inside out to facilitate easier cleaning.
• Keravnos Energy: Rupert Tull de Salis, a graduate student in electrical engineering; Dimitris Assanis, a doctoral student in mechanical engineering; and MBA student Johannes Kristinsson were awarded $7,500 for their energy system that installs heavy-duty power electronics and battery storage units in commercial buildings for fast-charging services to electric vehicle drivers and reduced building utility costs.
• MyDermPortal: Paul Robichaux, a graduate student in business and public health, and Vanessa Pena-Robichaux were awarded $4,500 for their Web-based app for dermatologists to provide follow-up treatment via the Internet for the most common diagnoses in significantly less time than an in-person visit.
The Dare to Dream Grant program funds students looking to test their business idea, formulate a plan and work toward launching their business while earning their degree. It awarded grants to Flipsi, Movellus Circuits and MyDermPortal, among others.