Grand Prize winner ($20,000): NIR Diagnostics
Second Prize winner ($10,000): Cuddlebots
Third Prize winner ($5,000): Realistic Eye
Undergrad Prize winner ($5,000): StealthRowing
People’s Choice winner ($3,000): NIR Diagnostics
Edit: added RIMS video.
The main event was over already, but the eight hopefuls gunning for the Wharton Business Plan Competition had a chance to bag an extra $3,000 by convincing the dinner audience that they were deserving of the People’s Choice Award.
Each company sent a representative to the steps in the basement of Wharton’s Huntsman Hall to plead their case to roughly 100 attendees who may or may not have been taking advantage of the free food. Approaches ranged from the youthful, energetic charisma of StealthRowing’s Daniel Harbuck (covered earlier this week by TP) to the frank nature of Cuddlebot’s owner, who told the crowd, “we’d love your cash.” After the pitches were finished, the judges huddled to decide the grand prize winner as the audience members dropped ballots in a silver box carried around by the organizers sporting yellow ribbons.
Hours later, NIR Diagnostic came out of the four-round competition $23,000 richer, bagging the $20,000 grand prize as well as the $3,000 people’s choice award. The company is developing a wound diagnostic device that would bump accuracy up to an estimated 85 percent from 50 percent.
After the jump we summarize and comment on each company’s elevator pitch and tell you which one is most likely to lead to a Terminator-like future.
1. Realistic Eye
What: Prosthetic eyes.
Why: Current prosthetic eyes look realistic except for their non-dilating pupils, which Realistic Eye attempts to fix. During their elevator pitch, the company told the story of Mary, a car accident victim who lost an eye in a car accident. Mary’s prosthetic has served her well, except when she meets with clients in her job as an accountant. In an indoor environment, she felt it was painfully obvious that she was wearing a prosthetic.
Result: Third Place.
2. Remote Integrated Monitoring Solutions (see the video)
What: Glucose monitoring device
Why: Currently, diabetics have to pierce their skin with a small needle if they want to get their glucose reading. RIMS would manufacture a wristwatch(!) that would automatically be able to take sugar readings using light waves, then sending those metrics to a patient’s doctor or, in the case of a minor, a parent. The concept of sending data automatically to doctors in a digital format is almost as cool as a non-invasive method of testing blood sugar and anything that helps out diabetes patients is a win.
Result: Did not place.
What: A rowing training device.
Why: Undergrad Daniel Harbuck found that rowing training devices ran in the six-figure range, making them usually only accessible to the traditional “old boys club” of rowing. Harbuck found himself convincing friends to hold a boat to the side of the pool so he could train in his native Salt Lake City. He sought to solve the problem of expensive and exclusive training equipment by inventing the Stealth007, a training device that would not only making training cheaper, but more accessible to inner city youth. We covered SealthRow earlier this week.
Result: Undergrad prize winner. Though, if the event’s program is correct, Harbuck was the only undergrad in the finals.
What: A payment tracking system
Why: The Paydivvy crew once lived in a house with five people with seven bills and divvying the money ended up being a hassle. PayDivvy would keep track of bills to assure that everybody pays their fair share. We’re not quite sure how PayDivvy would be adopted amongst the younger crowd, and aren’t there free Facebook applications that serve this very function?
Result: No Money.
What: A doctor’s appointment scheduling service.
Why: DocASAP aims to be “Open Table” for doctor appointments. DocASAP would automatically notify patients if someone backs out of an earlier appointment. The service aims to reduce no-show appointments and streamline the workflow of overwhelmed office managers.
Result: No Money.
6. NIR Diognostics
What: A wound diagnosis device.
Why: See above. Essentially NIR ups the accuracy of wound assessment using a non-invasive device.
Result: Grand Prize and People’s choice winner.
What: A robotic toy.
Why: Sort of like Webkinz on steroids, Cuddlebots would be a fully programmable robotic toy with an open source programming platform that would allow developers to code their own education programs to supplement proprietary offerings. The aim is to lower the barrier of children becoming familiar with computers and technology. While the concept sounds damn cool and TP wants one of these things to play with, at the $300 price point we’d guess that most kids would want a PS3. And seriously, “Cuddlebots”? Don’t blame us when the Cuddlebot uprising happens.
Result: Second Place.
8. My Videoport
What: An online video distribution platform.
Why: While this could be because we were not able to sit in on the company’s 20 minute presentation, it is unclear exactly the product being offered. From what we can gather, the company aims to be a broker of professional video content to YouTube, Vimeo and related companies. It is unclear how the company would make a dime or compete with TubeMogal.
Result: No Money.
More official details from Wharton.