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HomeBusinessMontana BusinessMSU graduate student venture nabs top award at fifth annual $100K Venture...

MSU graduate student venture nabs top award at fifth annual $100K Venture Competition

BOZEMAN — The finals of the fifth annual $100K Venture Competition, hosted by Montana State University’s Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship and the MSU Blackstone LaunchPad, were held April 24 in Inspiration Hall at MSU.

During the competition, the finalists pitched their innovative business ideas to a panel of five judges and answered questions to vie for a portion of the $100,000 prize money.

The entrepreneurial event included eight ventures, many from current students. The competition was open to all students, faculty, staff and recent graduates in the Montana University System. The eight finalists were selected from a pool of more than 40 applicants.

The winners are listed below.

  • First place, $30,000: Airspace: Modular Vehicle Rack System, a modular rack platform that doesn’t compromise truck bed space and utility, presented by Miles Hogger and Daniel Sierra, both students in the business college’s Master of Science in Innovation and Management program.
  • Second place, $20,000: Bridger Bionics, which creates affordable prosthetic adaptations for action sports, presented by Brianna Daniels, an MSU alumna, and Calvin Servheen, a directed interdisciplinary studies and industrial engineering student at MSU.
  • Third place, $15,000: Smart Dorm Company, which creates cost-effective, sustainable technology for large-scale residential facilities, presented by Elliot Harrison, an MSU alumnus, and Kolter Stevenson and Trevor Wilson, both University of Montana students.
  • Fourth place, $10,000: BioCap Solutions, which sustainably manages algae by cleaning harmful algae blooms and capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, presented by Will Christian, a Ph.D. student in biochemistry. BioCap Solutions also nabbed the coveted People’s Choice Award, which came with a $6,000 award.
  • Social Impact Award, $6,000: English Para Todos, which provides holistic, affordable and accessible English language education, presented by Vanessa Zamora Moreno, an MSU alumna, and Kass Thompson, an MSU student studying cell biology and neuroscience.
  • Health Impact Award, $3,000: Neurofluidic Diagnostics, which offers precise drug testing environments to detect and monitor the hallmarks of neurodegeneration linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, presented by chemical engineering doctoral students Zeynep Malkoc and Esther Stopps.
  • Additionally, the finalists that did not place in the top four each earned a $2,500 award.

“The $100K Venture Competition was an amazing opportunity,” said Hogger, a member of the winning venture. “There are some truly amazing ideas being developed in Montana and by MSU alums. I am excited to see future innovations that will come out of this campus. The resources at MSU provide amazing opportunities to learn and implement to allow anyone to start a business.”

The judges were Stacie Bruno, MSU class of ’08 and vice president of finance for the Outdoor Performance Group of Vista Outdoors; Magali Eaton, Technology Transfer Office associate director and technology translation lead at MSU; Otto Pohl, startup communications strategist and founder of Core Communications; Mitch Violett, MSU class of ’08 and vice president of product management, data science and business development at Outpost; and Chris Walch, CEO and co-founder of LifeScore.

 

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