Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship

Mission MatchUp, Microfluidic Innovations take top prizes at Purdue business plan competition

January 21, 2009


An Internet-based company that helps raise money for mission trips and a chemical and biological analyses concept were the big winners Tuesday (Feb. 24) at Purdue University's 22nd annual Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Competition in Discovery Park.

Mission MatchUp, led by Kristeen Hudson and Brian Paplaski, won the $20,000 first prize in the Black Division for Purdue undergraduate students. Microfluidic Innovations, led by Ahmed Amin, was top presenter in the Gold Division for graduate students, claiming the $30,000 prize.

"Every year the quality of these presentations and the sophistication of their products or services rises," said event organizer and professor Kenneth Kahn, the Avrum and Joyce Gray Director of the Burton Morgan Center. "All the finalists this year did a terrific job and all are winners. But we have room for only one winner in each category, and Mission MatchUp and Microfluidic Innovations stood above the rest."

In the Gold Division:

* Liquid Qinetics, a company focused on manipulating liquid droplets through a light-pattern technology, won the $15,000 second prize. Presenters were mechanical engineering students Aloke Kumar of Calcutta, India; Han-Sheng Chuang of Taiwan; and Stuart Williams of Louisville.

* SiMetal, a company developing an LED manufacturing method that uses silicon wafers instead of sapphire or silicon carbide, claimed $7,500 for third place. Presenters were MBA students Carlos Kemeny, Jimmy Cruse and Derrick Deardorff.

* True North Performance and BIOSCAT each received $3,750 for fourth and fifth places. Led by Krannert MBA student Brady Kalb, True North is developing an Internet-based assessment tool for the market research industry. BIOSCAT, led by Nan Bai, Hsin-tsai Liu, Monica Chiang and Euiwon Bae, specializes in identification instruments for biological samples.

Division winner Microfluidic Innovations is developing a general-purpose, programmable lab-on-a-chip device to perform chemical and biological analyses with more precision, speed and lower cost than its bench-top counterparts. Amin, the team presenter, is a native of Cairo, Egypt, who is studying electrical and computer engineering. He was joined by engineering students Mithuna Thottethodi and T.N. Vijaykumar.

In the Black Division:

* MuZation LLC, an Internet site that helps music composers connect, took the $10,000 second prize. The company is headed Niranjan Venkatesh, an industrial engineering student, and Joshua Hall, who is studying computer information technology.

* Adventure Lust, an Internet company for adventure seekers led by David Busch and Elliott Steward, won the $5,000 third prize.

* Hide and Seek and SystemConv Solutions each received $2,500 for fourth and fifth places. Hide and Seek is an aircraft design and building company headed by aeronautical and astronautical engineering students Matthew Cherry, Anthony Braun and Nathan Forton. SystemConv Solutions, a data, voice and video service company, is led by electrical engineering students Kiran Akkineni and Adrian Delancy and computer engineering student Madhur Srivastava.

Division winner Mission MatchUp is a social networking Web site that provides custom interfaces for individuals to create, distribute and raise funds for service trips. Team leaders Hudson is a computer graphics technology major from Schererville, Ind., and Paplaski of Libertyville, Ill., is studying accounting.

In addition to the prize money, Ice Miller LLP will provide free legal and consulting services for the top three finishers in the Gold Division. The value of those services is $5,000 for first place, $3,000 for second place and $2,000 for third place. The top three winners in each division also receive affiliate status at the Purdue Research Park, enabling them to access business services there.

Teams made 20-minute business plan presentations and then fielded 10 minutes of questions from a panel of 12 judges from industry, academia and the venture capital sectors. The winners were announced at a reception and dinner Tuesday night (Feb. 24) at Burton Morgan's Venture Café.

The late Burton D. Morgan was a Purdue alumnus who started 50 companies, six of which have become major corporations, including Morgan Adhesives, one of the world's largest makers of pressure-sensitive adhesives. Morgan established the entrepreneurship competition in 1987 with an endowment gift to Purdue. The Burton D. Morgan Foundation funded the $7 million, 31,000-square-foot Center for Entrepreneurship in Discovery Park.

The center also leads Purdue's Kauffman Campuses Initiative, which is focused on making entrepreneurship education available across the university's main and regional campuses, enabling any student, regardless of field of study, access to entrepreneurial training.

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