The second annual UWM Student Startup Challenge, a program that gives money to fund aspiring entrepreneurs’ businesses, drew to a close when Chancellor Michael Lovell presented the eight winning teams at a ceremony this past Wednesday October, 30. Each team received a 10,000 dollar check to fund their start-up projects.
All of the winning teams now get to use this funding to make their projects a reality.
Winners are excited to bring their projects to life now that they have the funding. Chancellor Lovell said that the school wants to invest in its students and the Startup Challenge is one great way to do that. This program is funded by the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, the UWM College of Engineering and Applied Science, the School of Information Studies, Peck School of the Arts and the UWM Research Foundation.
This year’s Startup Challenge started with over 100 ideas and only eight teams won. The eight winning projects are headed by UWM students and alumni.
The first project is called Level Camera Products founded by Kyle Llenda. This is an affordable product that will allow freelance photographers and cinematographers to shoot clean shots that would otherwise be too expensive.
Augment-H, founded by Scott Johannes and Katrina Carriveau, is a product that a patient would wear on his or her back. The product relays data to a software program that a physical therapist can read, who in turn ensures the patient has proper back mechanics.
Agogo Network, founded by Ogechi Chidebell , is similar to Yelp or FourSquare in that it will help collect and track data from Nigeria and West Africa. This will help business owners, customers and researchers track the developing nations.
Mesmer is an interactive degree planner that allows students to see the courses they need and changes they can make to their schedule over the course of their entire college career. This product was designed by Andrew McConville. Mesmer is going to be tested using UWM data from the Peck School of the Arts and the School of Information Studies.
Electrostatic Particle Trap (e-trap) is a product that can single out one cell in order to view and analyze it under a microscope. This project was founded by Alex Francis.
Aquasensor Device is a product that will detect bacteria and E. coli in water faster and at a lower cost. This product will be easy to use and will work on smart phones or tablets. The founders are Tom Hansen and Marcia Silva.
Sale Cou.Pair is an app that will allow its users to store coupons on their smart phones or tablets instead of in material form. This was founded by Andrea Pasqualetto.
ABAKUS is an interactive app designed for elementary students to practice math through a space-themed game. The app will send compressive reports back to the students’ parents or teachers.
“Now that we’ve won we are going to bring this to the app store,” co-founder of ABAKUS Josh Kirk said.
The challenge funded eight winners this year and three winners last year. None of the projects from last year survived but two of the project’s founders have started new businesses that are taking off successfully and the other founder was offered a dream job.
Chancellor Lovell said that it will be no problem finding more funding for this program in the future. Lovell would like to grow the program not just for students but for Milwaukee as a whole. In the spring, there will be a demonstration by the eight winners to show off their working prototypes.
For more information about the Startup Challenge go to http://uwmstartupchallenge.com/ .