Trending: How to improve the SNES Classic’s lineup of games with an easy software hack

Ivi Diagnostics
Vie Diagnostics, led by Mark D. Borysiak, Babak Moghadam and Charlie Corredor took home the top prize at University of Washington Business Plan Competition

Two startup companies that are looking to improve the sexual health of people everywhere took home the top honors Thursday night at the 18th annual University of Washington Business Plan Competition.

In front of a crowd of more than 300 at the Bell Harbor Conference Center, $77,500 in prize money was handed out to 11 student-led teams who competed in the month-long competition.

The top winner — Vie Diagnostics — is developing a low-cost DNA test for sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea and chlamydia. Led by a University of Washington PhD in mechanical engineering and PhD candidates in chemical engineering, Vie Diagnostics says that its tests can be administered in the clinic is as little as 10 minutes.

“This means a lot. It is going to take us to the next level,” said co-founder Charlie Corredor shortly after winning the top prize. “This is going to help us to make the company a reality. Our team is going to become a reality. We are so happy.” Vie Diagnostics won $25,000.

But if history is any guide, the team to watch in the future might be the second place finisher. Presenter Ron Howell of WRF Capital noted how the second place teams in the competition have actually met with more success.

The Empreva team
The Empreva team finished second, which could be a good omen given the past.

This year’s second place prize —which included a $10,000 check — went to Empreva. The UW-led team is developing new type of birth control device that also combines an anti-HIV product. The company’s technology uses “electrospun nanofibers” — applied on a dissolvable fabric to the vagina 24 hours before or after sex — to prevent pregnancy or HIV.

“The advantages of our electrospun nanofibers include the ability to load protective levels of drugs, achieve tunable kinetics of drug release, localize drug delivery at the site of infection or fertilization, and provide solid dosage forms that can be applied vaginally,” the company noted.

The keynote presenter on the evening was Linda Derschang, founder of popular Capitol Hill and Ballard bars such as King’s Hardware, Smith and Linda’s Tavern.

“No matter how smart we are, or how smart we think we are, we all need advice,” said Derschang. “But remember, advice is like a gift. Say thank you, but make sure it fits before you rip the tag off.”

Over the past 18 years, the UW Business Plan Competition has doled out $1.3 million in prize money to 140 teams, more than half of which are still in business. Past successes from the competition include publicly-traded NanoString Technologies and privately-held Gravity Payments.

Here’s a look at all of the winners from last night’s festivities, including descriptions from the companies.

$25,000 Grand Prize

Vie Diagnostics (University of Washington)

A significant portion of patients attending STD clinics fail to follow up for treatment, even when tests are positive and the risk for transmission and complication is highest. Vie Diagnostics’ disruptive molecular diagnostic technology will reduce the spread and pain of STD infections by allowing patients to be tested and treated in a single clinical visit. Its tests will provide better patient management, lower costs for clinics, and improve overall public health.

$10,000 Second Place Prize

Empreva (University of Washington)
Empreva aims to empower and engage women across the world to take their health into their own hands by providing a safe, convenient, and comfortable method for birth control and STI prevention. Empreva is developing birth control and combination birth control/anti-HIV products to benefit the health of women in high-HIV burden areas of the developing world who lack options for protection. For every purchase of an Empreva birth control product in the U.S., Empreva will donate one combination product to a woman in need in the developing world to help achieve sexual health and empowerment for women everywhere.

$7,520.15 Finalist Prize

Hook (University of Washington)
Hook is a home automation hub that offers smart home capability to the price sensitive consumer. Customers are able to convert existing electronics in the home to smart compatible devices, keeping these products up-to-date for years to come. Consumers will enjoy convenience with control via their mobile devices, savings on energy costs, and improved home safety. With an affordable price and remarkable ease of use, Hook aims to make smart home technology accessible to the masses.

$5,000 Finalist Prize

vHAB (University of Washington)
vHAB is a virtual rehabilitation platform that helps patients regain fine motor skills to lead autonomous lives again. vHAB enables occupational therapists to customize patient treatment and accurately monitor progress through engaging and dynamic video games. System portability and precision metrics pose a competitive advantage for rehabilitation facilities, allowing delivery of quality treatment to patients – anywhere, anytime. vHAB saves rehabilitation facilities time and money. Most importantly, vHAB empowers patients to reclaim their independence.

$5,000 AARP Prize

CoOptical (Washington State University)
Co Optical specializes in lifestyle management technologies, with a flagship product that revolutionizes diabetes management by continuously and non-invasively monitoring blood glucose. This wearable device, structured as a pair of glasses, improves convenience and enhances the overall user experience allowing seamless integration of lifestyle management strategies into the everyday lives of people with diabetes.

$5,000 Wells Fargo Clean Tech Prize

NOVA Technologies (Western Washington University and University of Washington)
NOVA Technologies’ Smart Solar Window uses transparent nanotechnology to create clean, local electricity that can turn skyscrapers into giant solar arrays and reduce HVAC systems costs, an innovative link to a carbon neutral future.

Best Technology Prize

TriboTEX (Washington State University)
TriboTEX aims to extend the operational life-span of industrial machinery by improving efficiency where lubricated friction takes place. TriboTEX’s self-assembling nanostructured lubricious coating provides regenerative effects to frictional surface during normal operation.

Best Marketplace Prize

Park A Lot (University of Washington)
Park A Lot is a platform connecting private businesses who have unused parking spaces with customers looking for parking. Lot owners sign up on a hop-on, hop-off platform and their lots become available to the public, generating them revenue. Customers use Park A Lot’s website or app to purchase parking on a lot of their choice from their home or mobile device.

Best Service/Retail Prize

SmartyPants (University of Washington)
SmartyPants reinvents toilet training and mitigates adult incontinence issues to prevent millions of diapers from ending up as a biohazard in landfills. It predicts impending bowel events and alerts users to get to a toilet. The company’s innovative, first-of-its-kind, technology creates value for the consumers by saving on diaper purchases and the environment by reducing waste and biohazard from disposable diapers.

Best Consumer Product Prize

Hook (University of Washington)
Hook is a home automation hub that offers smart home capability to the price sensitive consumer. Customers are able to convert existing electronics in the home to smart compatible devices, keeping these products up-to-date for years to come. Consumers will enjoy convenience with control via their mobile devices, savings on energy costs, and improved home safety. With an affordable price and remarkable ease of use, Hook aims to make smart home technology accessible to the masses.

Best Sustainable Advantage Prize

JikoPower (University of Washington)
JikoPower makes thermo-electric generators to turn ordinary cook stoves into personal charging stations for off-grid households that have small electronic devices in the developing world. JikoPower POWERS devices, but it EMPOWERS people.

Best Innovation Prize

Vie Diagnostics (University of Washington)
A significant portion of patients attending STD clinics fail to follow up for treatment, even when tests are positive and the risk for transmission and complication is highest. Vie Diagnostics’ disruptive molecular diagnostic technology will reduce the spread and pain of STD infections by allowing patients to be tested and treated in a single clinical visit. Its tests will provide better patient management, lower costs for clinics, and improve overall public health.

Best Health/Healthcare Prize

Empreva (University of Washington)
Empreva aims to empower and engage women across the world to take their health into their own hands by providing a safe, convenient, and comfortable method for birth control and STI prevention.Empreva is developing birth control and combination birth control/anti-HIV products to benefit the health of women in high-HIV burden areas of the developing world who lack options for protection. For every purchase of an Empreva birth control product in the U.S., Empreva will donate one combination product to a woman in need in the developing world to help achieve sexual health and empowerment for women everywhere.

Best Idea for the Future Prize

miPS (University of Washington)
miPS is the first consumer stem cell generation and cell banking service. miPS allows consumers to store their adult cells to prevent cellular aging, generate stem cell lines for research, and use banked cells for future stem cell therapies.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline

Comments

Job Listings on GeekWork

Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.