Schurz Communications Innovation Challenge, an incubation competition for student entrepreneurs working in online and mobile media technology, awarded funding to four Purdue University startups.
The competition provided a total of $10,500 in cash prizes to four startups. The Purdue Foundry in the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship hosted the competition.
As first-prize winner, One-Man Band received $5,000. One-Man Band is a mobile application, developed by Jose Moreno, a senior in Purdue’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, which provides high-quality music backtrackings for musicians to use while practicing.
“The advantage is that any musician, from an aspiring bedroom rock star to an orchestra student practicing 20 hours a week, can become more engaged with their music and learn faster,” he said.
Moreno and his team will use the prize money to assist the first phase of their marketing campaign by purchasing targeted online advertisements and search-engine optimization.
“This was my first year attending the Schurz Communications Innovation Challenge, so it was a good learning experience in giving a more relaxed and coherent pitch,” he said. “The feedback I received from the judges and the audience will definitely help us move One-Man Band forward.”
Other winners are Incas Diagnostics, second place; and STEMiO.org, third place, which received $3,500 and $1,500 respectively. WristSense received $500 as the Fan Favorite Award.
Incas Diagnostics, founded by Laud Anthony Basing, a graduate research assistant in Linnes Lab at Purdue’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, provides urine-based diagnostic kits for women at risk for sexually transmitted infections in resource-limited countries.
“Since clinic-based tests can be expensive, Incas Diagnostics offers a solution by providing $6 diagnostic kits completed in 10 minutes and dispensed in public bathrooms,” Basing said. “And the kits are linked to a mobile application offering privacy and convenience to women.”
The company will invest its prize money in the purchase of Biodot XYZ 3060 dispensers in order to make the produce available to purchase.
“During the challenge, I met with a mentor and obtained invaluable feedback about my innovation and presentation,” Basing said. “I look forward to collaborating with people interested in my work in the coming months.”
STEMiO serves as a systems wiki allowing people to explore the “language of systems” in functions such as a 401K account or an ethanol plant. Raymond RedCorn, a Ph.D. candidate in Purdue’s Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, and Mikhail Lepilov, a Ph.D. candidate in Purdue’s Department of Mathematics, built this technology,
“Through STEMiO, we help people connect the big picture of a specific system, perhaps from the human body or a Roth IRA, with its fundamental components,” RedCorn said.
The startup will invest their prize money in ideation development specifically focusing on hosting and programming.
“The Schurz Communications Innovation Challenge was the first time we received outside criticism,” RedCorn said. “Throughout the practice session and final competition, we were pushed to clarify our vision. We received great feedback about potential applications of our product that we had yet to envision.”
WristSense is a 3D printed, gesture-controlled wrist brace, which assists individuals with hand mobility or coordination issues to perform necessary activities, such as swiping a credit card or unlocking a door with a key.
“We want to allow individuals who struggle with hand-related mobility to feel and be more independent in accomplishing routine actions,” said Shruthi Suresh, a Ph.D. candidate in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering and a developer of the technology. “Our award has motivated the team to continue developing our technology and our business model.”
This technology was developed by Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering students — Suresh, graduate student Shanmugan Muruga, sophomore Connor Hage and junior Brett English — and multidisciplinary engineering senior Camilla Marrero Torres and can be customized to each individual user.
“The competition encouraged us to think about our technology from a different perspective and understand market size, user need and business models,” Suresh said. “We hope to participate in several other competitions to build awareness for WristSense and literally put it into the hands of the people.”