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

COLLEGE PARK, Md., April 6, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) today announces eight finalists 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 and additional multi-million-dollar companies.


Finalists were selected among 20 semi-finalists and 71 initial entries in the categories of high-technology/biotechnology and undergraduate students. Entries, submitted as full business plans, were advanced based upon their value proposition, competitive advantage, target market, business model, intellectual property, and clarity.

Finalists will present their companies during the University of Maryland $75K Business Plan Competition finals, held on May 6, to a panel of judges from the regional venture-building community before a live audience at the Stamp Student Union.

Finalists include:

High-Technology/Biotechnology Category

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Scar-less 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Judges in the high-technology/biotechnology category included: Jonathan Aberman, Managing Director, Amplifier Ventures; Joe DelGuercio, Managing Director, CNF Investments; Kiran Hebbar, Partner, Valhalla Partners; Charles Montague, Program Manager, Biotechnology Development Programs, Maryland Biotechnology Center; and Janet Yang, Principal, Novak Biddle Venture Partners.

Judges for the undergraduate category included: David Kirsch, Associate Professor, Robert H. Smith School of Business; Amy Millman, President, Springboard Enterprises; Mark Rothman, Founder and CEO, MYTA; Todd Stave, CEO, Entrepreneur and Salesman; and Sebastian Traeger, Founder, Razoo.

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., the Maryland Biotechnology Center, 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 and 30 entrepreneurship and innovation courses, served to 1,244 enrollees in 2010, at the pre-college, undergraduate, graduate and executive education levels.

SOURCE Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute
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