15 MSU student startups to compete April 17 for $40k in prizes

EAST LANSING—The Burgess New Venture Challenge (BNVC) has announced 15 finalists for its first annual venture competition at Michigan State University.

BNVC finalists will pitch their ideas to a panel of expert judges on Wednesday, April 17 at the Jackson and Christman Lounges of the Wharton Center for the Performing Arts in East Lansing. Teams will compete for more than $40,000 in cash. The competition’s top prize, sponsored by the Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, is $15,000.

“BNVC is more than a competition,” said Ken Szymusiak, managing director of the Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the center for entrepreneurship activities in MSU’s Broad College of Business. “Our goal is to create a valuable learning experience for student entrepreneurs here at Michigan State.”

The competition is a collaboration between the Burgess Institute and Spartan Innovation, the agency that provides educational and financial support to turn MSU research into successful Michigan businesses. It’s an early-stage pitch competition bringing together student entrepreneurs and small business supporters from across Michigan’s entrepreneurial community to celebrate MSU’s entrepreneurial spirit and highlight top talent.

Merging two pitch competitions, GreenLight Michigan and the Broad Business Model Competitions, BNVC requires interested students to complete a battery of workshops, receive feedback from business leaders and mentors, and form teams around submitted ideas.

Paul Jaques, director of student and community engagement at Spartan Innovations, has been helping Michigan State University students build their businesses for nearly a decade. “We wanted to create a program that culminates in a competition, where students spend time refining their ideas, building their skills, and taking interesting risks that lead to innovation,” he said. “The Burgess New Venture Challenge celebrates a year of hard work for these finalists.”

The teams to be showcased at the event are:

BioSolution Innovations LLC
Team: 
Traverse Jurcisin (jurcisi1@msu.edu), Josh Murray (murra178@msu.edu), and Jonathan Ristola (ristolaj@msu.edu)
BioSolution Innovations makes smart technology for professional plant growers. Through automating irrigation and fertilizer management, they help growers reduce costs, increase yields, and eliminate crop loss from mismanagement.

Brightside Coffee Co. LLC
Team: 
Marisa Weyn (weynmari@msu.edu) and Hunter Shoemaker (shoema92@msu.edu)
Brightside Coffee is a mobile pop-up café serving events in and around Lansing and Grand Rapids.

Burgundy Labs
Team: 
Charlie Kolacki (kolacki@msu.edu) and Trevor Murphy (tmurphy@burgundylabs.com)
Burgundy Labs is a software development company aimed at technology used on college campuses. Their current product, TimeSlot, is targeted at learning centers, providing an easy-to-use scheduling software and other features.

Classii LLC
Team: 
Simeon Goolsby (goolsbys@msu.edu) and Cam Korzeck (korzeck@egr.msu.edu)
Classii serves as a social learning network for the academic community. By parsing publicly available data, students can find other students in their classes, ask questions, and form study groups at their university.

Crown Mallard
Team: 
Austen Malczewski (malczew7@msu.edu), Torre Crown (crowntor@msu.edu), and Gavin Hubbard (hubba156@msu.edu)
Crown Mallard is solving the problem of disposable glove cross-contamination. Their products, the AutoGlove and the AutoGlove dispensing system, keep unused gloves from being exposed to outside contaminants and dispenses one pair of gloves at a time in a user-friendly, efficient way.

Datashapes
Team: 
Cory Wilson (wilso279@msu.edu)
Datashapes is an applied research and product development company that designs novel packaging products aimed at solving problems in healthcare.

EMAGE Technology
Team: 
Deepak Kumar (kumarde2@msu.edu) and Saikat Modal (modalsa@msu.edu)
EMAGE Technology is building a wireless diagnostic tool to solve pipeline safety and reliability problem in industrial settings. The solution automates the inspection procedure and provides vital pipeline information (leaks, cracks, corrosion, material degradation, pressure, etc.) frequently and wirelessly.

HealthOpX
Team: 
Wesley Ma (mawesley@msu.edu, Katie Sydlik (sydlikb1@msu.edu), Jose Hernandaz (herna383@msu.edu), and Daniel Ofori-Dankwa (kobinaoforidankwa@gmail.com)
HealthOpX is the Kayak of international medical travel. It provides access to a variety of medical treatment options around the world at low cost and great quality.

HelpCustomers.ai
Team: 
Wesley Berry (berrywes@msu.edu)
HelpCustomers.ai is a business-to-business customer assistance robotics company that offers customers a fast, easy way to locate products in a brick-and-mortar retail setting.

Meido
Team: 
Peter Ro (ropeter@msu.edu)
Meido brings the latest innovations in AI, machine learning, and big data to cost conscious industries. It aims to provide a pathway to use smart factories within the auto industry at an affordable rate with little loss of quality, efficiency, and speed.

Perch
Team: 
Han Wang (wangha31@msu.edu) and Akira Nishii (anishii@umich.edu)
Perch is an online talent source for academic research groups, university departments, programs and industrial R&D companies. Using a proprietary matching algorithm, Perch connects applications with employers to build great research groups.

Portal-OS
Team: 
Josh Murray (murra178@msu.edu)
Portal-OS organizes your digital life, making it simple to operate within the complex, web-based world. Log on to your personal portal from any device to manage, access, and visualize all of your digital content in one place.

SKOOP
Team: 
Malik Jackson (malikjackson1998@gmail.com)
SKOOP specializes in mobility advertising. Its electric bike taxi fleets move passengers from point A to B. Each vehicle has digital advertising displays attached to the exterior and interior. Its screens are always on the move displaying advertising content around town, subsidizing the cost of the ride for the passenger.

Sugoi Audio
Team: 
Sean Hansen (hense175@msu.edu) and Jonathan Ristola (ristolaj@msu.edu)
Sugoi Audio is a company which works to create unique electronic products while reducing e-waste from returned electronics. It aims to acquire still-working returned products and reorganize the hardware into an attractive and unique housing.

Zonder
Team: 
Demi Yang (demi@zonderapp.com) and Niki Yang (niki@zonderapp.com)
Zonder is a mobile application that gamifies traveling and creates a unique travel profile for each user. It automatically rewards experience to users for visiting places so they can level up, earn badges, and compete with friends.

The Burgess New Venture Challenge is part of MSU Innovation & Entrepreneurship Week, April 15–19, celebrating student and faculty startups, research, and innovations. For more information, registration details and more, please visit https://entrepreneurship.msu.edu/ieweek.

More at broad.msu.edu/burgess-institute.

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