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More than $25,000 at stake for aspiring entrepreneurs in Panasci Competition semifinals

by jmaloni

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Fri, Mar 14th 2014 03:35 pm

Ten teams led by University at Buffalo students have been identified as semifinalists in the annual Henry A. Panasci Jr. Technology Entrepreneurship Competition (Panasci TEC), taking them one step closer to the $25,000 in startup funding that will go to the group that presents the best plan for launching a viable new business in Western New York.

Preliminary judges watched a record 28 first-round pitches and narrowed the number of teams to 10.

The semifinalists represent a wide range of business plans. High-tech ideas include a wholesale, price-based cloud computing service-mixing solution, a branded mobile application service for businesses, a platform presenting data overlaid on interactive maps, and an integrated sensor platform allowing connection to any network.

Additional semifinalist entries focus on the medical field and include the production of viruses for research labs and a health kiosk providing diagnostic tests for placement in pharmacies.

Rounding out the mix of potential winners are plans for a financial education platform for children and adults, prediction and risk assessment services for natural disasters, the removal of problematic vibrations in high-precision devices, and a drop-off box providing a convenient alternative for doing laundry.

The 10 teams of semifinalists have been matched with a coach from the business community to prepare for the next round, in which they will submit written materials along with a video pitch.

Judges will evaluate those materials and narrow the group to five finalists on March 21.

The five remaining teams will give public presentations at the competition's final round from 4-8 p.m. on April 2 in the Center for the Arts Screening Room on the UB's North Campus.

Each of the five teams will deliver a 10-minute presentation and will be evaluated on how well they describe the feasibility and marketability of their venture, prove the need for their product or service and present potential sources of capital.

Judging the competition will be:

  • Robert H. Fritzinger, director, SUNY Fredonia Technology Incubator;
  • Marnie LaVigne, associate vice president for economic development, UB;
  • Mel E. Passarelli, vice president of North American operations, Attunity;
  • Brian Pearson, president, Valuation Advisors LLC;
  • Dan Penberthy, CFO and executive vice president, Rand Capital Corp.; and
  • Alan Zdon, owner, iCraveit.com.

Winners will be announced at a reception immediately following the last team presentation.

In addition to the seed money, the winning team will receive in-kind awards for legal services from Jaeckle Fleischmann & Mugel LLP, accounting services from Kopin & Co. P.C., human resource startup services from the People Plan by HR Foundations Inc., business development services from the UB Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach and office space from North Forest Office Space.

Now in its 14th year, Panasci TEC was created by the UB School of Management and the UB Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach, and is funded with a $1 million endowment from the late Henry A. Panasci Jr. to facilitate and promote the commercialization of UB-generated technologies.

Facilitated by the School of Management's Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, the event brings students from science and technology disciplines together with business students to maximize their business and scientific potential to create viable businesses in Western New York.

Fourteen local ventures have been launched with first-place prize money since the competition began, and most are still in business.

Anyone interested in attending the presentations on April 2 should register with the UB Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at 716-885-5715 or [email protected].

The UB School of Management is recognized for its emphasis on real-world learning, community and economic impact, and the global perspective of its faculty, students and alumni. The school also has been ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek, the Financial Times, Forbes and U.S. News & World Report for the quality of its programs and the return on investment it provides its graduates. For more information about the UB School of Management, visit mgt.buffalo.edu.

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