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Mtech Announces Semifinalists for University of Maryland $75K Business Plan Competition

COLLEGE PARK, Md., March 8, 2011 -- The Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) today announces 20 high-technology and biotechnology semifinalists for the University of Maryland $75K Business Plan Competition. Now in its eleventh year, the competition has served as a launch pad for Inc. 500 companies.

Semi-finalists were selected among 71 entries in the categories of high-technology and biotechnology and undergraduate students. Entries, submitted as executive summaries, were advanced based upon their value proposition, competitive advantage, target market, business model, intellectual property, and clarity. Finalists will be announced April 5. On May 6, as part of the University of Maryland $75K Business Plan Competition finals, they will present their companies to a panel of judges from the regional venture-building community before a live audience at the Stamp Student Union.

Semi-finalists include:

High-Technology and Biotechnology Category

  • Atmo is developing a system that records user voting via smartphones and creates live-updating playlists at venues ranging from house parties to bars and clubs. Team: David Croushore, MBA student; Randy Baden, doctoral student, computer science.
  • HemeCentric Inc. is developing valuable products in nutrition, healthcare, and agriculture based on groundbreaking discoveries in heme biology and iron regulation. Team: Iqbal Hamza, assistant professor, animal and avian sciences; Gregory J. Feulner; Steven L. Hubert.
  • Ibis Microtech equips medical professionals, food quality control technicians, first responders, and national defense agencies with cost-effective diagnostics devices capable of performing laboratory-grade analyses on-site, and in record time. Team: Pamela Abshire, associate professor, electrical and computer engineering; Marc Dandin, doctoral student, bioengineering; Marc Cohen, assistant research scientist, Institute for Systems Research; David Sander, doctoral student, electrical and computer engineering; Roland Probst, research associate, bioengineering; Olivia Grysche, MBA student; Katsuya Matsubara, MBA student; Ankit Agarwal, MBA student.
  • The Kaina Company LLC is a social networking venture that is as charitable as it is lucrative, and provides a unique, novel, and valued service to the public. Team: Scott Roberts, director of undergraduate studies, psychology; Andrew Roberts.
  • LabSquare is a cloud-based platform for laboratories to order, manage and share scientific equipment. Team: Enrico Fonda, doctoral student, Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics.
  • PolyVec Systems has developed a synthetic polymer carrier for the delivery of therapeutic genes to breast cancer cells. Team: Irene Bacalocostantis, graduate research assistant, bioengineering; Peter Kofinas, Keystone Professor and associate chair, bioengineering.
  • Precision Polyolefins has a developed gas-to-liquid technology for the manufacturing of synthetic oil from natural gas. Team: Lawrence R. Sita, professor, chemistry and biochemistry; Viqar Aslam.
  • Senensys LLC develops sensor-to-circuit systems that are self-powered by design, and collect, process, store and transmit features extracted from the data. Team: Marc Cohen, assistant research scientist, Institute for Systems Research; Shantanu Chakrabartty.
  • ShareRIDE is a smart phone application that allows users to connect with each other for the purposes of shared transportation. Team: Kathleen Brown, master's student, public health; Netaly Masica, alumna, business and communications; Aaron George; Terry D. Vinston.
  • VisiSonics is developing a family of products that include audio cameras, related software and embedded technologies that create a platform for market-specific products in industrial acoustics, defense, security and entertainment. Team: Ramani Duraiswami, associate professor, computer science and of the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies; Adam O'Donovan, alumnus, computer science and physics.

Undergraduate Category

  • Advance Suture Device for Scarless Wound Healing: This team has invented a wound closure device that can replace current stitching and stapling processes for surgical wounds, and would prevent hypertrophy and keloid scars that are associated with all stitching and stapling of wounds. Team: Jin Xiao, mechanical engineering; Martin Enos, bioengineering; Yang Tao, professor and director, Bio-imaging and Machine Vision Laboratory, biological resources engineering.
  • astrolabe*academia has developed a revolutionary personalized, Web-based approach to academic counseling that will guide students and parents through the high school experience and ultimately through the college application process. Team members: Osama M. Eshera, bioengineering; Adil Bukhari, alumnus, computer science, statistics and economics; Adam Kareem, doctoral student, mechanical engineering.
  • Brainbox Learning is developing a fully integrated learning management system designed to overcome the weaknesses in current systems. Team members: Robert Seng, electrical and computer engineering and the Hinman CEOs Program; Albert Wavering, physics and the Hinman CEOs Program.
  • Chesapeake Sun-Brewing Equipment Company has developed a commercial beer brewing system that requires zero net outside energy, using only focused sunlight, chemical reaction, and gravity from ingredient preparation to final product. Team: Donald Caltrider, marketing and the Hinman CEOs Program.
  • LibriSpark Technologies serves the academic community by selling/renting state-of-the-art electronic tablet computers and supplemental services to students and educators. Team: Jeremy Feldman, electrical and computer engineering and the Hinman CEOs Program; MengMeng Xu, biochemistry, economics, and the Hinman CEOs Program; Samuel Pulitzer, finance and the Hinman CEOs Program; Arun Luykx; Alexander S. Lowitt, alumnus, biochemistry.
  • Orgobrush is developing an innovative organic toothbrush that offers replaceable and retractable miswak bristles on one end and a retractable toothpick on the other. Team: Ammaribn Y. Nada, mechanical engineering and operations management; Osama M. Eshera, bioengineering.
  • ShopAlong is developing a software application that provides in-store shoppers a no-hassle shopping experience, including assistive services for the aging and disabled population, delivery accommodations, and a streamlined, in-store checkout process. Team: Kailyn Cage, physical science and the Hillman Entrepreneurs Program; Robin Brewer, computer science; Nefretiti Nassar, alumna, electrical and computer engineering and graduate student, systems engineering.
  • Tikteb Solutions is a company that provides tools for improving the quality of writing through a crowd-sourced professional editing platform that enables non-professional writers to purchase freelance editing services while maintaining a high level of control over the quality of the received services. Team: Jeff Wellman, finance and operations management and the Hinman CEOs Program; Bernard Wong, bioengineering and the Hinman CEOs Program; Esmaeel Paryavi, bioengineering and the Hinman CEOs Program.
  • Trade Assurance International has developed HD Trade Services, a risk-mitigating, high-definition video platform for the quality control verification of high-value goods traded internationally. Team: Daniel Sperling-Horowitz, finance and the Hinman CEOs Program; Sam Winter, civil engineering and the Hinman CEOs Program; David Wortman.
  • United We Bid provides a new platform for charities and organizations to fundraise through an innovative online auction experience. Team: Gregory Waldstreicher, accounting and the Hinman CEOs Program; Michael Rosenberg, finance and the Hinman CEOs Program; Jonathan Speiser, computer science and the Hinman CEOs Program.

The University of Maryland $75K Business Plan Competition is administered by the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), an initiative of the A. James Clark School of Engineering. Previous winners include five multi-million dollar ventures, including Squarespace and Lurn, both of which were named to the Inc. 500 list for the second straight year.

The competition encourages students, faculty and researchers at the University of Maryland to leverage their talent and ideas to create tomorrow's leading companies. The competition process, its mentors, partners and cash prizes have helped many students, faculty and researchers build their own companies.

Sponsors of the 2011 competition include Fish & Richardson P.C., Nixon Peabody LLP and Warren Citrin.

For more information about the University of Maryland $75K Business Plan Competition, visit

About Mtech (

The mission of Mtech is to educate the next generation of technology entrepreneurs, create successful technology ventures, and connect Maryland companies with university resources to help them succeed. Founded in 1983, Mtech has had a $25.7 billion impact on the Maryland economy and helped create or retain more than 5,300 jobs. Top-selling products such as MedImmune’s Synagis®, which protects infants from a deadly respiratory disease, and Hughes Communications’ HughesNet®, which brings satellite-based, high-speed Internet access to the world, were developed through or enhanced by our programs. Billion dollar companies such as Martek Biosciences and Digene Corporation graduated from our incubator.  Mtech offers three experiential learning programs, 30 entrepreneurship and innovation courses, served to 1,244 enrollees in 2010 for students from pre-college to undergraduate, graduate and executive education.

SOURCE University of Maryland
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