13 entrepreneurs enter semifinal round of Panasci competition

Graphic that reads "2023 Panasci Technology Entrepreneurship Competition".

Release Date: March 30, 2023


BUFFALO, N.Y. — The University at Buffalo has identified 13 teams as semifinalists in the 23rd annual Henry A. Panasci Jr. Technology Entrepreneurship Competition (Panasci TEC), taking them one step closer to the $65,000 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.

The second-place team will receive $10,000 in seed funding.

After watching 37 first-round pitches, preliminary judges pared down the teams to those below, which represent a wide range of business plans.

Six entries were for digital, web and cloud-based innovations that tackle a variety of needs:

  • A secure web browser that syncs tabs across multiple devices, making the user’s web browsing experience seamless, secure and productive.
  • A platform for digital nomads and experienced travelers to connect with each other and discover remote work.
  • A campus navigation app that provides a visualized map and detailed guide of almost every corner of a campus. 
  • A comprehensive web-based service platform for international students pursuing education in the United States. 
  • A cloud-based app that is simple and intuitive, enabling users to create, design, visualize and share the spaces of their dreams with their mobile devices. 
  • A freelance platform that connects students with startups and small businesses to work on project-based gig work.

Three pitches focused on services or products for health and well-being:

  • A device that provides users with an easy, effective way to quit vaping using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, gamification and other proven addiction cessation methods.
  • A durable medical equipment manufacturer that develops assistive bathing technologies to reduce strain on caregivers and improve the quality of the shower for the recipient. 
  • A fashionable bracelet that will send an SOS text or call for help with a simple tap command.

Rounding out the semifinalists were the following four proposals:

  • A company devoted to creating innovative renewable energy technology. The first product available will be a compact alternative to residential solar panels.
  • A safe-space certification program to increase visibility and competency of LGBTQ+ individuals and allies in professional spaces. 
  • An intelligent inventory-management system powered by machine learning to reduce the cost of returns for e-commerce companies selling apparel, enabling brands to reduce expenses and make their ventures more profitable.
  • A producer of adhesive thermoplastic polyurethane liners to protect the interior of luxury handbags from everyday wear and preserve their value.

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 April 3.

Finalists will deliver long-form presentations to judges on April 24, and public presentations will be held from 6-9 p.m. on April 25 at UB’s Center for the Arts. There, they will present 2-minute pitches, 43North style, to a panel of judges and other viewers, 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.

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 the center’s atrium.

In addition to $25,000 in seed funding, the winning team will receive in-kind awards valued at $40,000 for business counseling from Atlas Alignment Growth Partners; legal services from Colligan Law LLP; accounting services from Lumsden & McCormick LLP; website development services from 360 PSG; product design and manufacturing services from Tresca; Intellectual Property legal services from Stake and co-working space from the UB Office of Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships. 

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 UB’s Blackstone LaunchPad, 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.

In addition to the competition on April 25, guests will be immersed in a demonstration of UB’s impact on economic development in the region. From 6-7 p.m., various UB entities — including Blackstone LaunchPad, Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships, the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, Entrepreneurship Law Clinic, Libraries, Startup New York, the School of Management, and WNY Incubator Network — will highlight programs that develop the skills and cultivate the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation contributing to the region’s economic vitality.

The demo experience will also feature “foodpreneurs” affiliated with UB’s entrepreneurial programs and a special musical performance by LEALE, a UB junior pursuing business administration. 

Anyone interested in attending the final presentations on April 25 should register on the Panasci website at management.buffalo.edu/panasci.

The UB School of Management is recognized for its emphasis on real-world learning, community and 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 management.buffalo.edu.

Media Contact Information

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