A team of five graduate students won the 2013 TechVenture Challenge after they wowed a panel of industry experts with their commercialization plan for InvisionHeart. The student team consisted of Raymond Liu, Sarajane McMahon, Shen Yin, and Akosua Badu-Nkansah and received guidance from business mentor Josh Nickols, Ph.D.
InvisionHeart, a wireless, low-cost, full-function ECG intended for use by first responders, patients and care providers, was invented by Vanderbilt Associate Professor in Biomedical Engineering and Physics Franz Baudenbacher and Vanderbilt Associate Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology Susan Eagle and was selected as one of six technologies included in this year's challenge. The other technologies were: MyCancer Genome, invented by Mia Levy and William Pao; Microfluidic Pump: Lab on a Chip, invented by Frank Block, Kevin T. Seale, and John Wikswo; Reovirus Vaccine Platform, invented by Terry Dermody; HIV - 1 Diagnostic, invented by Joseph Conrad; and Insufflating Camera Pill, invented by Byron Smith and Pietro Valdastri.
Students in this year’s challenge came from a variety of backgrounds – law, business, and science and engineering to name a few. The groups spent two months developing commercialization plans and preparing presentations that were given last night in front of a packed crowd and judges panel that consisted of five industry experts: Dennis Grimaud, chairman and CEO of Diatherix Laboratories, Inc.; Dana Zukierski, assurance partner at Ernst & Young; David L. Black, Ph.D., founder, chairman and CEO of Aegis Sciences Corporation; Brian Laden, Ph.D., partner at TriStart Technology Ventures; and Jake Neu, J.D., patent attorney at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings. After each group presented their plans, judges had five minutes to probe the teams about the invention and commercialization plan.
Tom Utley, Ph.D., CTTC licensing analyst and TVC alumni advisor, says there is an evident progression in the quality of presentations from year to year. He attributes the growth to the community mentoring and collaboration that make this event possible.
The winning team members received $250 and passes into the newly formed Southland Conference, a two-day event focused on entrepreneurship and investment in the Southeast.