UB entrepreneurship competition enters semifinal round

Release Date: March 10, 2021


BUFFALO, N.Y. — The University at Buffalo has identified 12 teams as semifinalists in the 21st 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 30 first-round pitches, preliminary judges pared down the teams to those below, which represent a wide range of business plans:

Five pitches focused on the health care innovations:

  • A breast pump that creates a personalized experience for nursing mothers, while providing comfort, efficiency, affordability and portability
  • A leak-sensing film that works with an app to monitor patients who have had intestinal repairs
  • A cloud-based artificial intelligence platform that learns from a wide range of health care data to optimize operating room scheduling and provides a marketplace for health care facilities to sell resulting vacancies to insurance companies
  • A web-based platform that helps people make informed decisions about choosing a therapist and finding mental health services
  • A shower chair accessory that promotes independence while bathing, aiding in injury prevention within the aging community

Another four entries were for smartphone apps that tackle a variety of needs:

  • An investment app that leverages the knowledge of a social media community and offers retail investors access to opportunities typically only available to institutional traders
  • A financial literacy app that personalizes financial education for users based on their money personality type
  • An online social learning platform built into the college curriculum that promotes diversity, equity and inclusion, while preparing students for the professional work environment
  • An app that integrates virtual reality technology in remote casting auditions

Rounding out the semifinalists were the following proposals:

  • A transportable, modular art gallery space that offers artists of different mediums the opportunity to display and sell their work
  • A service that upgrades existing vending machines with smart payment options, location-based features and a touchless interface
  • Custom 3D printers with a proprietary educational platform that enables small- to medium-sized companies to take advantage of additive manufacturing benefits

Each semifinalist team 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 by March 29. Those five teams will each deliver a 10-minute, public presentation at the competition’s final round, which will be held virtually on Zoom on April 9.  

Teams 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 following a brief period of deliberation by the judges after the last presentation, during which guests can network with each other in virtual breakout rooms.

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 Western New York Incubator Network and the UB Office of Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships, 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 UB’s Blackstone LaunchPad & Techstars, 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