February 19, 2016  

Finalists selected for 29th annual Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Competition at Purdue

Biz plan guarders

2015 Black Division winner.

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Ten Purdue University teams have been selected as finalists in separate divisions for undergraduate and graduate students to make formal pitches next week during the $100,000 Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Competition.

The Discovery Park event, now in its 29th year, is Tuesday (Feb. 23) at Purdue University's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, Room 121. Presentations are scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the awards dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The winner from among the five Gold Division finalists will receive a $30,000 top prize. In the Black Division, five undergraduate teams will compete for the $20,000 top prize, said Joseph Pekny, outgoing interim director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.

"This business plan competition, a flagship event for the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, continues to draw our best students with the brightest business ideas from all across campus. And as we near the 30th anniversary of this competition, the lineup this year is evidence of that," Pekny said. "We have terrific concepts from all of our undergraduate and graduate student finalists, creating a buzz as we ready for a very competitive event."

The five teams from the Gold Division are:

* Aerial Agriculture LLC, which provides Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) imagery maps of entire crop fields through the use of drones, enabling precision agriculture strategies focused on reducing input costs and increasing crop yields.

* Adranos Energetics LLC, which is developing materials such as propellants, explosives and pyrotechnics, including a solid rocket propellant formulation called ALITEC (Aluminum Lithium Technology). ALITEC is more powerful, more efficient and less harmful to the environment than existing solid rocket propellants, allowing missiles and space launch vehicles with greater range and enhanced payload capacity for less cost.

* RoboDesk, which is a robotic motorized desk that's customized to attach to power wheelchairs, recliners and hospital beds for users with disabilities. As the first of its kind in the market, RoboDesk deploys and retracts using just a single switch, and can be customized for those who have severe disabilities using eye-tracking or sip-and-puff wheelchair systems.

* MarginPAT, which offers an intraoperative imaging tool that provides contrast of tumor and non-tumor tissue. The technology enables a surgeon to clear cancer residue during the first operation, potentially reducing the re-operation rate to zero and decreasing the average cost of lumpectomy by nearly 30 percent.

* SensorHound, whose mission is to improve the security and reliability of the Internet of Things (IoT). This breakthrough suite of software products, based on award-winning technology developed over 10 years by leading IoT researchers, can significantly reduce the operational and maintenance costs of IoT deployments.

In the Black Division for undergraduate students, the five finalists are:

* HemoTherm, which focuses on providing accurate, real-time blood oxygenation levels for hemodynamically stable and unstable patients, and provides patient core body temperature control.

* Click, which offers a simple home solution that relies on infrared-based proximity sensors to detect movement in an area and intelligently control lighting. This modular product is easy to implement because it can be mounted in place over existing light switches, eliminating any need for tampering with switch boxes and internal wiring.

* Froyo Xpress, which combines the experience of froyo with the convenience of a traditional vending machine. This business model brings the product to the consumer, reaching locations inaccessible to traditional retailers and allowing consumers to personalize their treat with syrups and toppings straight out of the machine.

* The Sweet Corn Truck, which would be used to travel to customers and deliver premium quality sweet corn in times when it normally would not be accessible.

* Grabbyt, which is a mobile application and online platform that allows users to purchase meal plans from restaurants.

Giving the keynote talk during the awards dinner will be Tomás Díaz de la Rubia, chief scientist and executive director of Discovery Park, Purdue's complex for major interdisciplinary research activities.

Sponsors for this year's competition are the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, Krannert School of Management and the Anvil, Purdue's entrepreneurial incubator, said Bambrah Walker of the Burton D. Morgan Center. Providing in-kind services to the competition's top finishers are the Purdue Foundry and the Indianapolis-based law firm Ice Miller, which has provided scholarship funding for Purdue's Certificate of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program.

Spero Energy Inc. was the 2015 Gold Division winner for its efforts to make high-value renewable chemicals from biomass. Winning the Black Division was Guarders, a company developing a shapewear garter with integrated pockets for women to unobtrusively carry their phone, key, credit card, identification and other belongings.

The annual Purdue entrepreneurship competition started in 1987 with an endowment gift from The Burton D. Morgan Foundation, which also funded the $7 million, 31,000-square-foot Center for Entrepreneurship in Discovery Park.

The Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, through its sponsored initiatives and partnerships - including the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Technology Realization Program, Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy and business plan competitions - aims to stimulate entrepreneurship at Purdue and serves as a state, regional and national resource.

The building also serves as home to the Purdue Foundry, an entrepreneurship and commercialization hub that provides assistance in areas such as product ideation and market analysis as well as business-plan development, alumni and faculty mentoring, and help in finding funding. 

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu

Sources: Joseph Pekny, pekny@purdue.edu

Cliff Wojtalewicz, managing director, Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, 765-496-3961, cliffw@purdue.edu

Bambrah Walker, 765-494-1335, bambrah@purdue.edu 

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