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Hen Hatch funding competition down to three finalists


Image via Hen Hatch website

By Peter Osborne

Three student teams have advanced to the April 30 finals University of Delaware’s 2019 Hen Hatch startup funding competition, and 12 alumni, faculty and staff teams were set to compete for three coveted finalist slots on March 29 after this paper went to press.

More than 70 teams from all seven UD colleges submitted applications for one of the mid-Atlantic’s largest venture competitions. Winners are awarded $100,000 in cash and in-kind services.

“Hen Hatch is more than a competition, it is an opportunity for all to learn and an opportunity to bring the community together, said Vince DiFelice, senior instructor of Practice and Faculty Director of Venture Support for Horn Entrepreneurship. “Every step of the competition offers advising from experienced entrepreneurs motivated to help others.”

DiFelice said the feedback from Hen Hatch opens opportunities to “strengthen our entrepreneurial ecosystem,” citing Markevis Gideon and Jonathan Hoxter (UD 2012) who launched NerdiT Now in Stanton, a computer repair shop with a mission to put a computer in the hands of every under-sourced child and Farhad Baqi (UD 2017) and his brother Seyar Baqi (UD 2010) who launched Smyrna’s Blue Hen Dental, a dental practice leveraging a unique invention.

“Since the inception”¯of Hen Hatch in 2014, UD students, faculty and staff from all seven of UD’s colleges, and alumni from across the state and the nation have fortified the Delaware ecosystem and beyond,” DiFelice said. “Carvertise, GeoSwap, LendEDU, AndAgain, Lyapunov Technologies, SimUCare, Strataca Systems, Joost Wafel Co., TheraV, Strados Labs, Wilminvest are some examples of the University of Delaware entrepreneurial community who devote themselves to solving important societal and customer problems.”

Here are the finalists from the Student Track teams, which were selected on March 22.

360VR Technology uses virtualization, drones and intensive analysis of buildings to aid emergency services with pre-incident, active, and post-incident planning. James Massaquoi, Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, Class of 2020; Sury Gupta, College of Engineering, Class of 2020.

SolveABET LLC is a blockchain accreditation platform for business processes and accreditation, used to reduce costs, improve consumer trust, and help businesses realize increased revenue from transparent and automated systems. Jonathan Wood, Lerner College of Business & Economics, Class of 2019.

The SEWcial Cafe, pronounced The Social Café, is a community sewing space for women to create, collaborate and develop handmade products in a relaxed and inspiring environment that encourages innovation. ChaCha Hudson, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2019.

The following alumni, faculty and staff track teams faced off on March 29. Check the DBT website for an update on which of these teams moved on to the finals.

  • BioHealthonomics is developing a novel, highly effective treatment for migraine headache and other disorders of the central nervous system including ALS, MS, Alzheimer’s and ADHD. Randy Jones, Class of 1979; and Cristian Arnou.
  • CATX Inc. is a biotechnology corporation committed to development of new more effective, even curative, cancer (CA) therapeutics (TX) through translation of discoveries in basic cancer research to clinical oncology. Its mission is to develop new targeted therapeutics to lower cancer mortality rates. Bruce Boman and Gilberto Schleiniger of the Department of Mathematical Sciences.
  • Delaware BioPlastics upcycles inexpensive, abundant biomass into high-value performance polymers. Eric Gottlieb, Thomas Epps, Basudeb Saha of the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Faculty and Staff and Robert O’Dea, College of Engineering, Class of 2022.
  • Distat Co is an augmented-reality technology startup developing software products for training and knowledge transfer applications. Using tools based on cutting-edge AR technology, clients can reduce their training time and cost, as well as improve their employees’ on-the job performance. Helen Zhang, Class of 2009; Philip Saponaro, Class of 2016.
  • GolfPass is a monthly golf membership platform and community where golfers can view, book, and play tee times at any of our Partner Courses while helping to drive increased revenues and reach new, younger golfers. Frank Trofa, Class of 2011; Chris Silano, Class of 2011; Eric MacPherson and George Taskos.
  • Leasynis connects prospective renters with departing tenants to solve inefficiencies in the rental market. Elliott Pires, Class of 2011.
  • Patient Sortal LLC is a medical case management company that offers Healthcare Liaison Services to children with chronic diseases and disabilities in the Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Kenny Eck, Class of 2018.
  • RiKarbon Inc. is producing bio-based, high-performing and safer ingredients for cosmetic manufacturers to capture more customers at a higher price. Basudeb Saha, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Kumar Krautharapu.
  • Sage helps green roof installers significantly reduce the cost of installations. Ariel Ramirez, Class of 2018; Dustyn Roberts, Class of 2004; Trevor Stephens, Class of 2018.
  • Second Chances Farm LLC is giving second chances by hiring and offering turnkey entrepreneurial opportunities to men and women returning from prison through the creation of indoor, vertical farms – or “plant factories” within low-income food deserts. Jake Voorhees, Class of 2009; Ajit George, Class of 1974; Evan Bartle; and Jon Brilliant.
  • SmartWind proposes to develop and commercialize a software to predict the annual energy production (AEP) of any wind farm with any number or type of turbines. Cristina Archer of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment and Ahmad Vasel-Be-Hagh.
  • The Outdoor Learning Institute seeks to reach administrators, pre-service and in-service teachers in order to inspire, train and equip educators in outdoor learning endeavors. Monica Shire, Cynthia Paris, Dorit Radnai-Griffin, Katie Pollock of the College of Education and Human Development.

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