Three teams featuring faculty and students from the College of Engineering were recently selected for inclusion in the Innovation Challenge Final on April 5, when $65,000 in seed money will be distributed. During the Semifinal on Wednesday, February 28, a panel of four judges listened to 12 student-led teams each give a five-minute pitch describing its venture and participate in a 10-minute Q&A session. The judges then selected seven teams to advance to the Innovation Challenge Final on April 5 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Amherst Room of the Campus Center on the UMass Amherst campus.
Hosted by the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship, the Innovation Challenge is a four-part cross-campus entrepreneurship competition that launches promising ventures to their next level of startup. This series of competitions is designed to help and reward UMass students and young alumni who want to pursue novel business ideas and develop them into marketable products.
One of the engineering teams to make the final competition is eBiologics, pitched by Alexander Smith, a Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering. eBiologics is focused on providing early detection of chronic diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, using a skin sensor patch that monitors biomarkers in your sweat.
A second engineering team in the Innovation Challenge Final is Guide Dog, designed by Achintya Kumar (engineering), Rohan Teja Ramesh (finance), Shardool Pathak, and Varun Iyer (computer science). Guide Dog is a navigation system that allows the blind and visually impaired to commute independently by recognizing people, objects, and text.
The third engineering team making the finals is KINASE, Inc., powered by Byung Kim and Yubing Sun (professors, mechanical and industrial engineering), Nariman Banaei (Ph.D. student, mechanical and industrial engineering), and Amir Ali Jazayeri (MBA student, business statistics, Hofstra University). KINASE is a low-cost, point-of-care platform for early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
The 2017-18 Sponsors for the Innovation Challenge include: Ernst & Young; the Heiser Family; Norman “Bud” Robertson; Kumar Ganapathy; Jeff Glassman; Darn It!; and John and Sally Burke. (March 2018)