February 17, 2005
Quadraspec takes top prize in Burton Morgan competition
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. Quadraspec, a Purdue Research Park company, took the top $30,000 prize today (Thursday, Feb. 17) at Purdue University's 18th annual Burton D. Morgan Entrepreneurial Competition.
Quadraspec aims to commercialize protein-diagnostics technology with a wide range of applications, including medical diagnostics for humans and animals, protein research and biodefense. The company's technology, which uses a direct optical protein detection technique and encodes the protein identification results on a compact disk, was developed at Purdue by physics Professor David Nolte.
For the first time, finalists competed in two divisions gold, or open, primarily for teams with faculty, staff, graduate students, alumni and area business people; and black for wholly Purdue undergraduate teams, although these teams may have a faculty adviser.
Quadraspec's Brian Weichel made the winning presentation in the Gold Division. He said the company "aims to shake up and redefine the protein-identification market."
Winning the undergraduate Black Division's top prize of $15,000 was MxTech, which presented a commercialization plan for technology the company developed that increases the speed of commercial Internet transactions by a factor of 10. Himanshu Lal, a senior in computer engineering, made the winning presentation. The company's other principal is Nitant Sethi, a senior in electrical engineering.
The finalists in the two divisions made 15-minute business plan presentations and then fielded 10 minutes of questions from the panel of professors, entrepreneurs and venture capitalist judges. The event took place in Purdue's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship in Discovery Park.
In addition to the $30,000 first prize, Quadraspec won free office space at the Purdue Research Park for one year. In November, Quadraspec won the top prize in the Lilly Endowment-sponsored $50,000 Opportunity for Indiana Business Plan Competition held on campus.
Second place and $15,000 in the Gold Division went to Gestalt Technologies. Third place and $10,000 went to HiFi Computing, and fourth place and $5,000 went to HVACR Automation Inc.
Ice Miller is providing legal and business services for the top three finishers in the Gold Division $5,000 for Quadraspec, $3,000 for Gestalt Technologies and $2,000 for HiFi Computing.
Besides MxTech, other Black Division teams were Xcion Scientific, which took second place and $10,000; RADware, third place and $8,000; Wellner LLC, fourth place and $3.000; and Co-Ed, fifth place and $2,000.
The panel of judges included Don Aquilano, Gazelle Tech Ventures, Indianapolis; Carrie Bates, Triathlon Medical Ventures, Indianapolis; Joe DeGroff, Ice Miller, Indianapolis; Ken Green, Spring Mill Venture Partners, Indianapolis; Sanders Howse, Greater Lafayette Community Development Corp.; Logan Jordan, Krannert School of Management; Peter Kleinhenz, CID Equity Partners, Columbus, Ohio; Jane Martin, Village Ventures Inc., Bloomington, Ind.; and Jean Wojtowicz, Cambridge Capital Management, Indianapolis.
"What we ostensibly saw and heard today were a lot of products based on Purdue technology from a mix of management, science and engineering students," Jordan said. "But what we really saw was Purdue's strategic plan in action."
Richard A. Cosier, Krannert School dean and Leeds Professor of Management, is director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, which sponsored the competition. He said that the center's mission is integral to President Martin C. Jischke's vision of Purdue helping to drive the state's economy with new businesses and graduates who have an entrepreneurial outlook.
"It was a great day with great presentations," Cosier said. "Let's hope we saw the next generation of great companies for Indiana."
Don Blewett, associate director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, said teams were judged on the basis of how well they define and present a clear path to market.
"We were most impressed with the quality of the plans and the enthusiasm of both the presenters and the judges," Blewett said.
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