Scheller College students recently made a big splash at the world’s richest and largest graduate-student start-up competition. Hosted by colleges and centers at Rice University, the Rice Business Plan Competition gives collegiate entrepreneurs a real-world experience to fine tune their business plans and elevator pitches to generate funding to successfully commercialize their product.
From over 400 applications, two Scheller College Technological Innovation: Generating Econcomic Results (TI:GER) teams were invited to participate with 40 other groups from around the world to compete for more than $1.5 million in cash and prizes. The participating TI:GER teams were Lunula Health and Oculus Prime.
Team Lunula Health, led by Georgia Tech Ph.D. Robert Mannino and Georgia Tech Scheller College MBA Prateek Mittal, wowed judges with their demonstration of a new proprietary smart phone app for monitoring chronic anemia, a health crisis suffered by billions worldwide. Lunula was awarded the Cisco Global Problem Solver Prize of $100,000.00 in recognition of their breakthrough achievements, the largest such prize ever awarded to a TI:GER team.
Robert reflected, “This competition was almost overwhelming—it was massive and intense. Our team, Lunula Health, gave four separate pitches to investors, venture capitalists and scientists.” Mannino own diagnosis of anemia has inspired him to pursue a non-invasive, low-cost home test for anemia.
Georgia Tech Ph.D./MBA student Brandon Gerberich and Georgia Tech MBA student Wayne Liu represented team Oculus Prime in the competition. In addition to their prize money, Oculus Prime received special recognition by key angel and venture capital investors while also making important contacts with senior SBIR funding administrators. These funding connections will be important as Oculus moves forward with animal trials and ultimately human trials of their innovative and proprietary treatment for glaucoma.
The success of both TI:GER teams in this competitive arena is a testament to the world-class experiential learning opportunities they enjoy at Scheller College.
Check out the elevator pitches from both teams at the competition: