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University of Michigan's Zell Lurie Institute Awards $112,000 to Promising Student Startups in 30th Annual Business Plan Competition and Dare to Dream Grant Program

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Feb. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan's Stephen M. Ross School of Business today announced today the winners of the 30th Michigan Business Challenge and recipients of the Applebaum Dare to Dream Grants and Mayleben Family Venture Shaping Grants. The business plan competition and grant programs, which recognize promising student-led startups, provided grants and funding totaling $112,000 this year.

"We are developing the next generation of serial entrepreneurs and venture investors, through a combination of education and intense action-based learning experiences aimed at the discovery, shaping, formation, investment, and growth of new ventures," said Tim Faley , managing director of the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. "For decades, the Michigan Business Challenge and Dare to Dream grant programs have been helping us do this and we are always impressed with the quality and promise of the businesses and student entrepreneurs campus-wide that get involved."

Michigan Business Challenge

2013 marks the 30th anniversary of the Michigan Business Challenge. The four-month, multi-round competition began in the fall with nearly 200 students from across the University representing 72 teams—almost double the number of participants in last year's program.

The 72 teams were narrowed down over the course of two rounds of competition to nine semi-finalist teams. On Friday, February 22, the semi-finalist teams were weeded out further to a field of four finalists that presented their businesses in an interactive session with professional investors and competed for prizes ranging from $1,000 to $20,000.

The Pryor-Hale Award for Best Business for $20,000 went to Focus, a combination device and application for physical therapy and training. "The Michigan Business Challenge has been a comprehensive, varied, and challenging endeavor," said Grant Hughes , MBA '13. "When my business partner, Cavan Canavan , MBA '12, and I started this process we had never pitched Focus to anyone in a formal setting, much less investors. Now that MBC is behind us and we've won, we not only get $20,000 to continue product and business development, but we also take with us the experience and confidence of having won a prestigious competition such as this as we build our concept into a viable company."

Other top winners included:

  • Exo Dynamics - An ergonomic support device that enables healthcare practitioners who experience back problems to perform at their best in the operating room.
    • $10,000 Pryor-Hale Runner up
    • $5,000 Williamson Award for Outstanding Business & Engineering Team
  • Go Tickets - A digital ticketing solution for college and university athletic programs.
    • $2,500 Best Undergraduate Team
    • $2,000 Outstanding Presentation
  • PhasiQ, Inc. - Offering high throughput bioanalysis assays, producing data otherwise not obtainable to life scientists in pharmaceutical industries.
    • $2,000 Outstanding Presentation
  • Password Patterns - Offers a pattern of colored boxes in a matrix that allows one to memorize a design or color pattern other than numbers for a password. 
    • $2,500 Marketing Award sponsored by Mark Petroff
  • Torch Hybrid - A software service provider for marine hybrid-electric powertrain development and energy management. 
    • $2,000 Best Written Plan
    • $2,500 Marketing Award sponsored by Mark Petroff
  • Centricycle - a non–profit working to improve healthcare in rural India through the implementation of sustainable diagnostic technology and education.
    • $7,500 Erb Award for Sustainability
  • $500 to the five teams that competed in the Semi-finals and did not advance
    • Dinner With, DiscoverREAD, Password Patterns, Torch Hybrid, Universal Vaccine
  • $200 to the 18 teams that advanced from Round One and competed in Round Two

Dare to Dream Student Startup Grant Recipients

The Dare to Dream Grant program funds students looking to test their business idea, formulate a plan, and work toward launching their business while earning their degree. The first phase, a Venture Shaping grant of $500 sponsored by the Mayleben family, allows teams to determine how to transform identified opportunities into businesses. More advanced teams may apply for a $1,500 Assessment grant to establish the feasibility of their business or a $10,000 Integration grant to move their company toward launch. Grants are awarded in the fall and winter terms. Grants totaling $50,500 were awarded for the 2012-2013 academic year.

The Dare to Dream Winter program awarded $22,000 in total grants to the following teams:

Applebaum Dare to Dream Integration Grants of up to $5,000 were awarded to:

  • Kymeira Advanced Materials ($5,000) – Creator of proprietary, new-to-the-world material that offers properties of heat tolerance, hardness and strength, similar to advanced ceramics, but with a fabrication process similar to thermosets
  • Mariposa Diagnostics ($2,500) – Clinical laboratory services and CRO services focused on transforming the process of diagnosing lupus while accelerating the pace of new therapeutic developments

Applebaum Dare to Dream Assessment Grants of $1,500 were awarded to:

  • A2Cribs – Large scale lease aggregator that provides a database of rental listings specifically for the college student
  • Focus – Digital Personal Trainer integrated into a wrist-worn, watch-like device capable of automatically recording repetitions, sets, rest periods, weights, and exercises or motions performed
  • Reveneyes – Web-based software platform that gives healthcare providers a single, concise, near real-time view of profitability for each patient visit
  • RippleSense – Mobile augmented reality platform that helps tourists explore places through instant information, stories, and memories of others, making the interaction between people and environment more personal and intimate

Mayleben Family Venture Shaping Grants of $500 were awarded to:

  • Accession Capital – Solution to the "Series A crunch" faced by many start-ups that uses crowdfunding to create an avenue for mainstream investors to invest in startup companies alongside established venture capital firms
  • AngelnPact – Software platform for crowd-sourced impact investing that provides investors or donors with data detailing the social or environmental return on investment
  • Bander – Web-based platform that aims to bring  garage band collaboration online by allowing artists to compose, socialize and listen to music together
  • BlueGoGreen – A shower head with an adjustable nozzle that displays water consumption and alerts users to high water usage
  • Colloidoscope – Provides proof of authenticity and integrity of brand name drugs through printable non-clonable functions combined with tamper evident seals
  • DiscoverREAD – A Digital platform accessible across devices that can be used by readers to purchase and view premium magazine content on a per-article basis
  • E-magine – Addressing the issue of Internet access in off-the-grid locations through the development of a low cost, solar-powered, GSM-Internet-access system that provides fast and reliable mobile-broadband completely independent of grid connectivity
  • Emblu – Software algorithm that uses wireless signals to sense occupants in a room and modify energy-using electrical and  HVAC system usage accordingly
  • Gramofon – Application that seeks to simplify audio sharing by allowing users to record and share short audio clips with a community of friends across multiple social media sites
  • Guppie – Career matching service that connects recruiter and job seeker according to skills and interests, creating cost efficient and effective career consulting for the masses
  • Human Data – Personal Emergency Response device that utilizes elderly people's glasses to wirelessly alert emergency personnel, increasing response times and decreasing mortality
  • Lab Compass – Collaborative web-based research platform designed to facilitate more efficient collection, analysis, and sharing of research data among collaborators and institutions
  • Lune – Utilizes the latest technology in packaging machines to help extend the shelf life of premium baked goods without having to add preservatives
  • O Vestido – Web site and mobile application that catalogues dresses to minimize asymmetry of information in the Brazilian party dress market
  • Re Re Housing (sponsored by the Erb Institute) – Offers housing to the poor that is safe, resilient and cheaper than existing solutions, the ReRe house will be designed for increased mobility so consumers can easily move closer to employment opportunities
  • Transformase – Connecting the Spanish-speaking community in the United States to mental health service providers for insurance-covered online bilingual mental health therapy
  • Yumba – Provides small-property owners with multi-platform web-based property management service that can be used by any landlord or property manager to make accepting online payments, updating maintenance requests, and looking for local amenities easy

An awards reception followed the competition where Challenge winners and Dare to Dream grant recipients were announced.

About the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies

The Institute and its Center for Venture Capital and Private Equity Finance bring together a potent mix of knowledge, experience and opportunities from the front lines of entrepreneurship and alternative investments. The student learning experience is further enhanced through internships, entrepreneurial clubs and events that serve to provide viable networks and engage the business community. The School's three student-led investment funds, with over $6.5M under management, immerse students in the business assessment and investment process. Founding Board Members include Samuel Zell, Chairman of Equity Group Investments, and Eugene Applebaum , Founder of Arbor Drugs, Inc. For more information, visit the Institute at

SOURCE Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies
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