Innovative pizzeria, wound-care technology are top winners at Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Competition

February 22, 2012

Brad Niemeier, a senior studying hospitality and tourism management, delivers the winning presentation for his restaurant concept aimed at the fastest expanding sector of the industry, known as fast-casual, where customers can choose their toppings while the pizza is made. Niemeier won the $20,000 top prize in the Black Division for undergraduate students on Tuesday (Feb. 21) at Purdue's 25th annual Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Competition. (Purdue University photo/Vince Walter)

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - An innovative pizzeria concept and a company developing a wound-care technology took the top honors Tuesday (Feb. 21) at Purdue's Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Competition, a $100,000 event celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Azzip Pizza, led by Brad Niemeier, won $20,000 as the top finisher in the Black Division, which was open to all Purdue undergraduate students. Niemeier, a senior studying hospitality and tourism management and a member of the Boilermaker football team, is developing a restaurant concept aimed at the fastest expanding sector of the industry, known as fast-casual, where customers can choose their toppings while the pizza is made.

Medtric Biotech LLC won the $30,000 top prize in the Gold Division, which was open to graduate students. Led by Sean Connell, Jianming Li and Robert Einterz, Medtric is developing its treatment for infected wounds, using nanotechnology for topical antiseptic, acute and chronic wound use. The treatment also has shown promise in minimizing scar formation.

"The student-led business concepts, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, were among the most impressive and market-ready we have seen in this annual competition," said Richard Cosier, the Avrum and Joyce Gray Director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship and Purdue's Leeds Professor of Management. "What a terrific way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of this exciting event that draws participants from all across campus."

Runner-up in the Black Division was Kyk "Kick" Energy, which received $10,000 for its proprietary flavor-neutral energy powder that can turn any drink into an energy drink. Andrew Linfoot and Chris MacPherson are the team leaders.

PlayitSafe, which is developing a head impact monitoring system that facilitates early detection of increased risk of sub-concussive neurotrauma, claimed the $5,000 third-place prize in the Black Division. Team members are Ashley Eidsmore, Aditya Balasubramanian, Jeff King, Jake Gilfix, Paul Rosenberger and John Maselli.

Gamers' Esc, a video gaming center concept led by Ah Young Park, and Dentural, which is developing an all-natural adhesive for dentures, each received $2,500 as finalists in the undergraduate division. David Barron and Monica Harvey lead Dentural.

In the Gold Division, Tymora Analytical LLC finished second and claimed the $15,000 prize for its platform technology to address unmet needs in the analysis of protein phosphorylation, which relates to the onset of numerous diseases, most notably cancer. Its two lead products, PolyMAC and pIMAGO, equip researchers with tools and new directions to combat disease. Don Stocks, Anton Iliuk and Andy Tao lead this team.

REDD Science, an engineering services company in the Gold Division, received the $7,500 third-place prize. The company, led by Jeffrey Ackerman, Ankur Ashtekar, Lokesh Awasthy and Nick Weinzapfel, is developing a load-carrying solution for the military and consumer market. Its product, Rhotek, is a tool that can be attached to a suitcase, for example, to increase the energy efficiency of walking and running while reducing the user's muscle strain.

Spill-to-Still, which is developing computer software for assisting first responders at offshore oil spills, and etownr, a social networking concept developed by Praveen Saxena, each received $3,750 as Gold Division finalists. The Spill-to-Still team is led by Xiangyu Wang, Steve Wereley, Ahmed Amin and Jeffrey Marker.

Deborah Hoover, president and chief executive officer of The Burton D. Morgan Foundation, was the keynote speaker for the awards dinner that followed the daylong event, which was held in Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.

The finalists who presented Tuesday were selected from an initial list of 68 Purdue student business-plan submissions. Event sponsors were The Burton D. Morgan Foundation, Purdue Krannert School of Management, Purdue Research Foundation and Ice Miller LLP.

The Burton D. Morgan Foundation established the competition in 1987 with an endowment gift to Purdue, making it the nation's third longest-running business plan competition. The Burton D. Morgan Foundation also funded the $7 million, 31,000-square-foot Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, the first building to open in Discovery Park in 2004.

Glytrix won the $30,000 top prize in the Gold Division in the 2010 competition, and TerraSolutions LLC won the Black Division for undergraduate students.


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

Source: Richard Cosier, 765-494-4366, rcosier@purdue.edu