Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Moxie Center Awards $20K to Students at the 2015 Zahn Prize Competition
This year, the Moxie Center for Student Entrepreneurship was able to double the total amount of cash prizes for student teams at its annual Zahn Prize Competition. The 2015 Zahn Prize Competition was held at The Basement, UCSD’s newest entrepreneurial space, and the Moxie Center awarded a total of $20,000 in cash prizes to seven students, Ganesh Elie of Slithr, Josh Cohen of Tranio, Eric Suen of Aqua Design Innovations, Inc., Joy Sampoonachot and John Chou of Cocoon Cam and Deepak Atyam and Alex Finch of Tri-D Dynamics.
Moxie Center Executive Director Dr. Jay Kunin introduced the competition’s three judges, Dr. Martha Dennis, Mike Krenn, and Jeff Draa, who are experts in building startups and securing venture funding. The judges had their work cut out for them as the competition had 12 participating teams from the Moxie Center and only five prizes to award. The new Moxie teams and the veteran Moxie teams competed in two separate divisions for their presentations; Division I for the new teams had an allocated $5,000 budget, while Division II had the remaining $15,000. After the presentations, the judges had only 20 minutes to make their final decisions.
Division I winners Slithr and Trainio impressed the judges with their designs for a customizable electric longboard and an athlete training device respectively. After attaching Slithr’s base unit to their longboard, users can control the speed and acceleration of their vehicle with a wireless controller. The team is now currently working on their Delta prototype before launching a kickstarter. On the other hand, Trainio is developing their SpeedTrain device that will enable athletes and coaches to improve their speed and train smarter. The device connects with your smartphone and users can access the recorded information, workout analysis and training suggestions through their mobile application.
Division II participants were also faced with tough competition. In the end, Aqua Design Innovations, Inc., Cocoon Cam and Tri D Dynamics ended up taking the prizes. The founders of Aqua Design Innovations, Inc. (ADI) designed a desktop ecosystem with an aquaponics filter. Their design for their EcoQube is already on its second iteration and recently ended their kickstarter with over $370,000 in backer support. Cocoon Cam, a Computer Science and Engineering-based startup, aims to improve health and activity monitoring systems for infants. By using computer vision, wireless hardware and video analytics technology, the camera will be able to transmit and record live respiration rate, heart rate, temperature, sound and video of a baby without requiring the baby to wear an activity tracker. Tri D Dynamics is another impressive student startup that made UC San Diego the first university in the world to successfully design, print and test a metal 3D printed rocket engine. Both Cocoon Cam and Tri D Dynamics have participated in the von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center's NSF Innovation Corps program.
Congratulations again to the students and teams who participated!