12 teams of entrepreneurs enter semifinal round of Panasci competition

Teams to compete for more than $75K in funding and services

Logo that reads "2024 Panasci Technology Entrepreneurship Competition".

Release Date: March 19, 2024


BUFFALO, N.Y. — The University at Buffalo has identified 12 teams as semifinalists in the 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 31 first-round pitches, preliminary judges pared down the teams to those below, which represent a wide range of business plans.

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

  • Journally is a self-help app for college students to cultivate a deeper awareness of self through conversational AI.
  • sustAIn focuses on green education and green commerce. It teaches users about complex issues like climate change and sustainability using a gamified approach and promotes green commerce by providing alternative sustainable solutions.
  • Connext helps high school students meet professionals for personalized mentorships and shadowing using a matching algorithm that pairs them based on their personality types and career options. Through the platform, students will gain real-world experience to make informed career decisions.
  • MedREACH is a centralized platform that is set to revolutionize medical research collaboration globally. It facilitates seamless communication, networking partnerships and secure collaboration for researchers to optimize resources and accelerate medical advancements.
  • HIVE is a student-driven platform that serves as the central hub for clubs, events and student connections where the student voice shapes the journey.
  • Carrie is an online Language Learning Social Platform.
  • ILLumin[AI]T is a device that uses AI to analyze live music and create unique light shows to match every occasion.

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

  • J+J is a weighted magnetic band that promotes stabilization of the hand for those suffering from neurological diseases resulting in hand tremors.
  • DoggiGo is an autonomous dog playmate that enhances the relationship between a pet and its owner, reduces canine anxiety and mitigates troublesome behavior.
  • Empasta is a tasty plant-based, cheese alternative that is free from irritants such as nuts, gluten, soy, and dairy.
  • DUCCS is a new technology in the composting industry, biochar wattles. These will decrease greenhouse gas emissions through natural adsorption and improve the carbon impact of current aerated composting processes.
  • Exergi is a novel solar energy generation system for residential homeowners and commercial businesses. Using heat from the sun, Exergi's solar turbine generates electricity for people who cannot put solar panels on their rooftop.

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 25.

Finalists will deliver long-form presentations to judges on April 17, and public presentations will be held from 4:30-7 p.m. on April 18 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.

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 and creative agency services from ThreeSixty; Intellectual Property legal services from Stake; engineering design and prototyping services from Innosek and co-working space from the UB Office of Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships. 

Panasci TEC was created in 2001 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 Startup and Innovation Collaboratory powered by 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 18, guests will be immersed in a demonstration of Buffalo’s “Fashionpreneurs” from 4:30-5:30 p.m., featuring various fashion entrepreneurs from Western New York to highlight the cut and sew community that contributes to the region’s economic vitality.

The demonstration will also showcase "Foodpreneurs" linked with UB's entrepreneurial initiatives, and an exclusive runway presentation by Buffalo Fashionpreneurs during the judging process.

Anyone interested in attending should register with the Startup and Innovation Collaboratory powered by Blackstone LaunchPad at https://bit.ly/PanasciRSVP_2024

Now in its 100th year, 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