Thursday, February 12, 2015

Entrepreneurism & Leadership Program Students Sweep Top Places at E-Challenge Contest

Six students supported by the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering’s Entrepreneurism and Leadership Programs sweep five out of six top positions at the Entrepreneur Challenge Elevator Pitch Contest.

The Entrepreneur Challenge is a UC San Diego student organization focused on connecting science, engineering and business students with local entrepreneurs and professionals in San Diego. EChallenge competitions are excellent opportunities for students to receive early seed funding and publicity for their research and ideas.

Taking first place in the Tech Division were Deepak Atyam and Alex Finch (pictured above). Atyam, a Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering student, and Finch, a Structural Engineering student are the founders a startup on a mission to use 3D printing to create designs for high performing, light weight, cost efficient rocket engines: Tri D Dynamics. The team's accomplishments have made UC San Diego the first university in the world to successfully design, print, and test a metal 3D printed rocket engine. Finch and Atyam started as a Moxie Center Incubator team, where they were provided lab space to develop their product and create working prototypes. The two honed their skills in becoming more effective technical leaders as scholars in the Gordon Engineering Leadership Center and made use of the von Liebig NSF I-Corps program to focus on customer validation of their product.

Bioengineering student Delara Fadavi (pictured below, on the right) won second place in the Tech category for her presentation Meego. Fadavi founded Meego with Bioengineering student Aditi Gupta (pictured below, on the left) to develop a motion-detecting security device for laptops. They’re developing a prototype for students who expressed a need for increased security while they study in public spaces, such as the library or a coffee shop. Both students completed the von Liebig Center’s I-Corps program and are part of Moxie’s incubator program. Fadavi was a 2013 Gordon Scholar and an alum of the mystartupXX program which is a collaborative effort between the von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center and the Rady School of Management.

First place in the Bio/Med category went to Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering student Alex Phan for his work in Intraocular. The Intraocular team is working on improving the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma using continuous intraocular pressure measurement. During the von Liebig NSF I-Corps program, Phan worked to develop the team’s business model and validate the idea with potential customers.

Wangzhong Shen – a Mechanical Engineering student – took second place in the Bio/Med category for Nanolipo. The Nanolipo is improving invasive liposuction treatments through the injection of a solution to better dissolve fatty tissue making it easier to extract during liposuction procedures. Shen is an alum of the von Liebig NSF I-Corps program.

Stephanie Allen-Soltero – a post doc in the Department of Medicine – took third place in the Bio/Med category for her Cereus Innovation pitch. The Cereus team has a novel solution for overcoming the growth and maintenance of stem cells in high atmospheric oxygen. Allen-Soltero is currently part of the mystartupXX program which is a collaboration between the Rady School of Management and von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center and is supported by the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance. MystartupXX mentors female entrepreneurs with ideas to commercialize.

We would like to offer our students, Deepak Atyam, Alex Finch, Delara Fadavi, Alex Phan, Wangzhong Shen and Stephanie Allen Soltero, each a proud congratulations on their excellent performance and continued success!

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