Top Prizes Awarded at Milestone UW Business Plan Competition

Membrion Wins 20th Anniversary of UW Business Plan CompetitionA team of chemical engineering and business students from the University of Washington earned the top prize at the 20th Anniversary of the UW Business Plan Competition. Membrion won the $25,000 Herbert B. Jones Foundation Grand Prize for its plan to disrupt the alternative energy market with low-cost, high-efficiency membranes for redox flow batteries. Membrion was also awarded the Xinova $2,500 “Best Idea for the Future” prize at the awards dinner at MOHAI, hosted by the Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship.

Discovery Health won the $10,000 Fran’s Chocolates Second Place Prize for its comprehensive medical risk management program for the maritime industry. The Seattle University team featured students with business and medical backgrounds.

LC-Tourniquet won the $7,520 “Friends of the BPC” Third Place Prize for its pre-hospital treatment for trauma that blocks blood flow to a limb. The “Limb Chilling Tourniquet” was developed by the team of team of University of Washington students with backgrounds in mechanical engineering and business.

EpiForAll, fresh off its grand prize finish at the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge, earned the $5,000 Fenwick & West Fourth Place Prize. The team of mechanical engineering, business, and pharmacy students from UW showcased its affordable emergency epinephrine auto injector that uses inexpensive, easily-replaced ampules. EpiForAll also won the DLA Piper $2,500 “Best Idea with Global Reach” Prize.

In its twentieth year, the UW Business Plan Competition has awarded more than $1.3 million dollars in seed funding to more than 165 student teams. More than 2,500 students representing colleges and universities around the state have competed since 1998. This year’s competition featured teams from 12 colleges and universities around the state. University of Washington teams represented ten colleges and schools on campus. This year also involved 598 judges, coaches, and mentors from the entrepreneurial, venture capital, and angel investing community.

Other prizes were awarded to the following teams:

AbiliTrek from Western Washington University won the Accenture $2,500 Best Consumer Product Idea Prize for its hotel booking service that focuses on people with disabilities through a user-generated review system based on accessibility.

A-Alpha Bio from the University of Washington won the Perkins Coie $2,500 Best Innovation/Technology Idea Prize for its multiplexed in vitro toxicity screen that could reduce the number of drugs that fail after reaching late-stage clinical trials.

Shopsight from the University of Washington won the REI $2,500 Best Retail Innovation Idea Prize for its data platform that combines RFID technology with patent-pending algorithms to provide retailers with consumer behavior data.

PlayGait from the University of Washington won the Cambia Health Solutions $2,500 Best Health/Healthcare Idea Prize for its non-electronic, adjustable, and low-cost gait improvement device for kids with neuromuscular disorders.

IndieHarvest from the University of Washington won the eBay $2,500 Best Marketplace Idea Prize for its modular and portable indoor vertical hydroponic farming system.

GreenFeed from the University of Washington won the Smukowski Family $2,500 Sustainable Advantage Prize for its sustainable, high-quality fish feed that sells at competitive prices by utilizing scientific and engineering innovations through the conversion of retail food waste.

Airy from the University of Washington won the $5,000 Xevo “Internet of Things” Big Picture Prize for its battery-less, wireless home security solution through sensors that can be mounted on a door or window frame.

Lignin Biojet from Washington State University won the $5,000 Wells Fargo “CleanTech” Big Picture Prize for its technology that converts Lignin, a natural polymer that’s mainly a byproduct of the paper industry, into biojet fuel to produce a renewable alternative to conventional fuel.

Upshot Nutrition from the University of Washington won the $5,000 AARP Foundation “Aging in Place” Big Picture Prize for its nutrition tracking system that uses data science and AI to lower the data entry burden, and increase the insights users gain.