Student entrepreneurs win $40K with innovative software

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah's future of entrepreneurs put their best ideas on display Wednesday night at the annual Utah Entrepreneur Challenge hosted at the University of Utah.

10 teams, out of approximately 100 competitors representing every college and university in Utah, made it to the final judging aiming for the $40,000 grand prize.

And the winner is: Event Espresso, an events registration and management plugin for WordPress.

"We didn't expect to win, but are very pleased to be recognized with such an award," said Garth Koyle, a graduate student at the University of Utah and member of Team Event Espresso. "The prize money will be put to good use and help us further the success of Event Espresso."

Koyle said he and his two team members spent over 100 hours researching and preparing their business plan and presentation for the judges, but felt, win or lose, they had a solid product on their hands.

"Running our business and making the product successful is, in the end, more important to us. That'll make us money, that'll make us more successful."

The teams went through three rounds of judging by local 'movers and shakers' in the entrepreneurial community in hopes of finding "student teams that can convince the judges that their business plan and business idea are going to be successful," said Director of Judges, Parker Ence, who emphasized whether they win or lose, the teams gain valuable experience having "to think through all the fine details."

Other winners include BlueCache for Best Presentation Award ($5,000), Massox for best written business plan ($5,000) and Monitus Medical for best technology award ($3,000).

Below is a list of the Top 10 teams:

  • BlueCache, Utah State
    BlueCache is a savings club where you choose where you save! With BlueCache, you select the businesses you want to hear from and they always offer you a discount for free advertising. BlueCache turns a business's advertising budget into savings for you. BlueCache was founded in 2010 and officially entered the Logan, Utah market in September of that year. With the recent expansion into Utah County, there are over 500 businesses that advertise using BlueCache. Our membership has reached well over 5,000 members and is growing every day.
  • Event Espresso, Univ. of Utah
    Event Espresso is the premier events registration and management plugin for WordPress that allows website owners to turn their website or blog into a fully featured event management website. WordPress developers use Event Espresso as a event registration framework to create customized event registrations for their clients.
  • Innovative Environmental Design, Univ. of Utah
    Founded in 2010 by University of Utah students Zac Peeler and John Dymon, Innovative Environmental Design Unlimited, or IEDU, is dedicated to the design and manufacture of a digital testing device used to monitor emissions. The existing technology used in the ‑field is severely outdated, which leads to significant inefficiencies. Our technology will have additional functionality allowing our clients a more efficient allocation of resources. IEDU aims at exerting a positive externality on society by holding high waste emission industries accountable for the toxins they emit into the air we breathe.
  • Intrasenz, Univ. of Utah
    Intrasenz is developing an implantable micro pressure sensor for use in biomedical applications. Pressure is a clinically important variable in the treatment and management of several chronic disorders, such as glaucoma and hydrocephalus (elevated intracranial pressure), which affect millions of people. Our sensor will provide vital knowledge of internal body pressure that can be used to control drug therapy or provide early warning of a life-threatening pressure build-up, potentially saving thousands of lives each year.
  • Massox, Westminster
    Massox™ is a sock manufacturer that combines therapeutic Asian well-being with classic American style. Massox is initially launching men's designer dress socks that contain patent pending therapeutic, acupressure massagers on the inside surface of the sock. Scientific evidence suggests that acupressure therapy can help maintain and improve overall health and vitality. Massox are made of 95% bamboo fiber. Bamboo is a revolutionary new resource that is as strong as steel, yet soft as silk. It is breathable and naturally anti-bacterial. Bamboo is extremely fast growing, and therefore highly renewable. Bamboo can also be grown commercially, without dependence on pesticides or other chemical inputs. Massox uses wisdom from the past and technology from the present to create sustainable socks of the future.
  • Monitus Medical, Univ. of Utah
    Monitus Medical is a startup company that develops products for the detection of perforations and leaks in the gastrointestinal tract that arise during surgery. Undetected leaks and perforations can be fatal. The frequency of perforation and leaks ranges from 0.8 to 4.3% for anterior cervical spine, colectomy and gastric bypass surgeries in the United States. The cost of one undetected leak is tremendous and can be over $1.3 million in medical treatment and litigation. Our first product, LEAP, is a proprietary medical device that quickly and accurately detects leaks and perforations to address this unmet medical need.
  • My Sales Assistant, Univ. of Utah
    Founded in 2011 by Jared Durrant, an MBA student at the University of Utah. My Sales Assistant is a dynamic software tool that helps direct sales representatives be more productive. It is a customer relationship management tool built specifically for direct to consumer sales representatives who sell low involvement products and services to homeowners.
  • Paco's, Snow College
    Paco's is a unique specialty food vending and catering company that specializes in gourmet quesadillas. Paco's has taken a food everyone loves and created a revolutionary menu. Paco's began attending weekend events during the summer of 2009 and 2010. Based on positive responses received at these events, Paco's will expand by entering the growing segment of gourmet food trucks. After growing the customer base, Paco's will open a permanent fast casual dining location. This will lead to the sale of both truck and restaurant franchises. ‘The best quesadilla in the world!'
  • SensiMat, Univ. of Utah
    SensiMat is an original equipment manufacturer of solid-state Dye Sensitized Solar Cells that offers extended lifetime and lower manufacturing cost to targeted markets of recreational equipment, consumer electronics/medical devices, and building integrated photovoltaic. SensiMat's patented technology, SensiSolar, increases the lifetime of third generation solar cells from 1-2 years to over 10 years. Our patented technology replaces the problematic liquid electrolyte with a solid-state electrolyte. SensiSolar cells are extremely thin and flexible and can be printed directly onto surfaces like plastic, glass, and steel. This technology turns tents and backpacks into mobile chargers, extends battery life of portable electronic devices, and turns windows into solar panels.
  • Vaporosens, Univ. of Utah
    We focus on safeguarding the society by providing the best technological solutions. We do this by developing extremely sensitive sensors for detecting explosives. At VaporoSens Inc., we are developing nanotechnology-based detectors, which can be attached into existing detector devices to make them far more efficient. Using these sensors, devices can detect minute traces of explosive that cannot be sensed otherwise. We plan to make the way for these sensors into various detector devices, air samplers and air purifiers. VaporoSens keeps an eye on its surroundings, making it safe and protected round the clock.

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