UB entrepreneurship competition enters semifinal round

Ogechi Ogoke, the doctoral student in chemical and biomedical engineering who took first place in the 2019 Panasci Competition. Photo: Nancy J. Parisi

Release Date: March 4, 2020


BUFFALO, N.Y. — The University at Buffalo has identified 11 teams as semifinalists in the 20th annual Henry A. Panasci Jr. Technology Entrepreneurship Competition (Panasci TEC), taking them one step closer to the $52,000 in startup funding and business services that will go to the group that presents the best plan for a viable new business in Western New York.

After watching 32 first-round pitches, preliminary judges pared down the teams to those below, which represent a wide range of business plans:

Four pitches focused on the health care industry, including a company that analyzes and stores cells to restore depleted immune systems after a viral infection or for treatments that help fight cancer; a leak-sensing film that works with an app to monitor patients who have had intestinal repairs; software that uses artificial intelligence to maximize operating room efficiency; and a virtual reality simulation platform for health care training and certification.

Smartphone apps from a variety of industries made up another four entries. The first uses machine learning algorithms to recommend meal options based on your health goals, taste preferences, budget and ingredient optimization; the second connects phones with gym equipment for instructional videos and activity tracking; the third provides non-native English speakers with automated feedback for voice communication; and the fourth is a parking violation reporting app that enlists community citizen participation.

Other pitches included a patent-pending guitar case that prevents damage while transporting or standing the instrument; a next generation wind turbine designed to revolutionize the small wind industry; and a less expensive, more reliable method for 3D printing.

Each of the semifinalist teams has been matched with a coach from the business community to prepare for the next round, when they will submit written materials along with a video pitch.

Judges will evaluate those materials and select five finalists. The five final teams will deliver a 10-minute, public presentation at the competition’s final round. That event, originally scheduled for April 9, will be rescheduled for the fall due to precautionary restrictions related to the coronavirus.  

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

In addition to $25,000 in seed funding, the winning team will receive in-kind awards valued at $27,000 for legal services from Colligan Law LLP, accounting services from Lumsden & McCormick LLP, human resource services from the People Plan from HR Foundations Inc., business development services from the UB Office of Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships, and Western New York Incubator Network, and office space from North Forest Office Space.

Panasci TEC was created by the UB School of Management and the UB Office of Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships, 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.

Hosted by the UB School of Management’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) and Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at UB, the event brings together UB students from science, technology, business and other disciplines to maximize their potential and create viable businesses in Western New York.

Anyone interested in attending the presentations on April 9 should register with the Blackstone LaunchPad at 716-645-8111 or launchpadub@buffalo.edu.

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, 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.

Media Contact Information

Jacqueline Molik Ghosen
Assistant Dean and Director of Communications
School of Management