UM Announces $50K Business Plan Competition Winners
"Winning this award represents a huge boost for the credibility of our start-up company, and will allow us to enter the first round of funding and partnerships with a great deal of confidence."
The winners, chosen from six finalist teams, presented business plans to a panel of judges from the regional economic development community on April 7. Top teams were selected in three categories: Faculty and graduate students, undergraduate students, and young alumni.
FACULTY AND GRADUATE STUDENT CATEGORY
Advanced Magneto-Optical Systems (AMOS) took first place, winning the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development Award and $15,000. AMOS develops technology compatible with current optical scanners that will enable the use of two-dimensional hidden magnetic barcodes and other authenticity marks to enhance the security of critical identity products such as credit cards, checks, banknotes, drivers' licenses, medication packages, and other manufactured components.
"Winning this award represents a huge boost for the credibility of our start-up company, and will allow us to enter the first round of funding and partnerships with a great deal of confidence," said AMOS co-founder Iulian Nistor, a doctoral candidate in electrical and computer engineering. "We feel very fortunate to be affiliated with the University of Maryland, an institution where the entrepreneurial spirit is so strongly supported and encouraged."
AMOS' team also includes Professor Isaak Mayergoyz and Research Associate Carsten Holthaus, both with the department of electrical and computer engineering.
Runner-up Metatropi, developer of patent-pending metabolomics software, won $3,000.
UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT CATEGORY
First-place winner I-Receipts received $12,000. I-Receipts develops a service that eliminates paper receipts for consumers and businesses by providing instant database and Internet access to purchase information.
"This has been an amazing experience and we would like to thank all of those involved with the competition," said team member Samuel Fine, a senior finance major and Hinman CEO. "We look forward to developing this business into a successful venture created at the University of Maryland."
Michael Altman, a senior electrical and computer engineering major and Hinman CEO, is also a member of I-Receipts' team.
Runner-up $2,000 winner Online Realty Business Solutions (ORBSolution.com) aims to be the first nationwide listing database for real estate agents, offering easy-to-use agent web hosting, a “Real Estate in a box” package for companies, as well as a national property database.
YOUNG ALUMNI CATEGORY
Affiliate Classroom won first place and $15,000. The company provides an online training facility for web-based affiliate marketing, a risk-free form of advertising through which an online merchant rewards an affiliate site for every visitor, subscriber, or customer referred to the merchant--much like a finder’s fee.
"Just 14 months ago, Affiliate Classroom set out on a pioneering mission--to professioalize the industry and bring training to affiliates," said Anik Singal, Affiliate Classroom founder and CEO, and University of Maryland alumnus. "Winning this competition is yet another milestone for us, and I'm very excited to see the company growing the way it has."
Runner-up and $3,000 winner Vfore is developing a content-based image organizer and search engine capable of finding images based on their content--the objects or people in the images--first as a desktop-based image organizer, and then as an Internet-based search engine.
Finalists were selected from 16 semifinalists and 58 initial entries.
Judges for the event were: Henry Ahn, Program Manager, Technology Funding Programs, Maryland Technology Development Corporation; Elizabeth Good Mazhari, Managing Director, Maryland Venture Fund; Rich Harris, Managing Director, SpaceVest; Karl Renner, Principal, Fish & Richardson P.C.; and Steve McVearry, Member of the Business and Finance Section, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo.
The UM $50K Business Plan Competition is sponsored by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, and Fish & Richardson P.C.
The competition, now in its sixth year, has historically awarded a total of $335,000 in prizes to faculty, students and alumni with the best plans for innovative ventures. Previous winners have generated millions in revenues, grants and awards.
MTECH Ventures (www.mtechventures.com) provides entrepreneurship education to technology creators and delivers a portfolio of services and resources to bridge the gap between technical ideas and viable ventures.
Published April 10, 2006