Rubi Life, a student startup developing a wearable fetal activity tracker, won first place and the $40,000 grand prize at the 2017 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge today. The event featured the best collegiate entrepreneurs in Utah competing for $100,000 in cash and prizes.
The Utah Entrepreneur Challenge is a statewide business model competition open to all university students in the state. It is managed by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business, and sponsored by Zions Bank.
“The best part of this competition was watching schools all over the state come together to compete in a business model competition,” said Jaron Hall, the student co-chair of the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. “It was wonderful to see how we were able to have the business competition held at Lassonde Studios for the first time. It was definitely a success.”
Additional prizes were granted for best video, design, presentation, technology and more. Other big winners included Xlynk Surgical with Best Presentation ($5,000) and Best Design ($2,000 in-kind), Cedar Sports with the online voting People’s Choice Award ($2,500), and Portal Power with Best Speed Pitch ($1,000). All top eight teams walked away with in-kind awards from Deloitte and Jones Waldo. Participating teams also received mentorship from community experts and are judged by industry professionals.
Rubi Life’s fetal activity tracker uses nanotechnology attached to an elastic maternity band to passively track kick count, heartrate and fetal position. That data is sent to the mom’s smartphone and can alert her if the baby is at risk. Rubi Life is a source of maternal peace of mind and could help reduce the risk of stillbirth.
Rubi Life founder Eric Stopper was inspired by his wife’s terrible pregnancy experience. During her entire pregnancy, she was sick and worried about her baby. Due to complications, her son was born early. Initially, Stopper started an at-home ultrasound system. This later evolved into the product that is currently showcased.
Stopper plans to use the $40,000 that from the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge to launch a phone app at the end of this year after the current beta-testing phase. Stopper also plans to fly to California soon to meet with venture capitalist firms along with soon starting a Kickstarter campaign.
After winning the prize, Stopper offered advice to other entrepreneurs: “Take it one day at a time, when you feel like giving up you just have to make it work. You don’t give up.”
Learn more about the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge lassonde.utah.edu/uec.
Winners of the 2017 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge
Zions Cash Prize Awards:
- Grand Prize Award ($40,000): RubiLife
- Best Speed Pitch Award ($1,000): Portal Power
- Best Tabling Award ($1,000): Cedar Sports
- Emerging Entrepreneur Awards ($1,000): Dentium Club & EMJ Medical
- Online Video Voting People’s Choice Award ($2,500): Cedar Sports
- Best Presentation Award ($5,000): XLynk Surgical
- Stoel Rives Best Technology Award: Sunshine Sync
- Jones Waldo Award: Neiybor, Xlynk, RubiLife, The Gingerbracket Company, Portal Power, Sunshine Sync, PerkNow, Pleth Patch
- Espiritu Best Design Award: XLynk
- Deloitte Services Award: Neiybor, Xlynk, RubiLife, The Gingerbracket Company, Portal Power, Sunshine Sync, PerkNow, Pleth Patch
- Silicon Slopes Publicity Award: RubiLife
- Impact Hub Award: PerkNow, Pleth Patch, Sunshine Sync
- Jive Phone Services: Cedar Sports, Neiybor, Dentium Club
- The Actium Bootstrap Award ($1,000): Gingerbracket Company
- The Jones Waldo Best Video Award ($1,000): RubiLife
- The Payzang Excellence in innovation ($1,000): Pleth Patch
People’s Choice Video Winner
Top 20 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge Teams
Here are the Top 20 teams in the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge:
- Breathe Easy Mat (BYU) – A thin pad that delivers oxygen to infants at night
- Cedar Sports (SUU) – Provides Cedar City and surrounding areas with high quality new and used outdoor recreational equipment
- Course Credit (USU) – Offers affordable online courses to non-traditional students who then transfer the credits they earn to online universities and community colleges
- Coverall Homecare (Westminster) – A subscription-based monthly home maintenance service
- Dentium Club (BYU) – Dental-grade whitening delivered to your door for a few bucks a month
- EMJ Medical (UofU) – Creating a simple, mechanically driven medical device that will be applied to laparoscope lenses and restore the vision field of the operating team while the device is still in the patient
- The Gingerbracket Company (Weber) – A mess-free product that makes snapping gingerbread houses together easier
- HashTaggy (UofU) – Provides a new and innovative way for students to find fun stuff to do with their friends
- LIT Outdoors (UofU) – An outdoor company that focuses on the emerging opportunities in the outdoor recreation industry
- Lunchmoney (Snow College) – A fanny pack company that will design and sell multiple lines of hip and cool packs for people of all ages
- Neiybor (UofU & BYU) – A peer-to-peer marketplace for storage.
- OverPowered Training (USU) – A junior sports league for the players of League of Legends
- PerkNow (UVU) – Streamlines the acquisition, implementation, promotion and distribution of convenient on-site services and desirable company perks
- Pleth Patch (UofU) – A low-cost, portable, wireless vital sign monitoring system for low and middle-income countries. This device will help clinicians in developing nations increase the standard of care at a very low cost.
- Portal Power (UofU) – Portal Cord creates a simplistic portable charger
- Rubi Life (BYU) – A maternity band-like wearable fetal monitor that can provide expectant mothers with real-time data to their smart phones about their baby’s kick count, heart rate and fetal position
- Savor Life Co (SLCC) – A food truck that meets the needs of vegan diners who want to “savor life” by enjoying the food truck experience
- Sunshine Sync (UofU) – App improving transfers of value between medical salespeople and physicians
- Tenant Joy (Dixie) – A web app that helps with onboarding each student, making payment transactions easy and will also contain many more features
- XLynk Surgical (UofU) – A faster more effective postoperative adhesion barrier
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this press release listed the spelling of Neighbor as “Neiybor.” The company has since rebranded as Neighbor.
About the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute
The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute is a nationally ranked hub for student entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Utah and an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business. The first programs were offered in 2001, through the vision and support of Pierre Lassonde, an alumnus of the Eccles School and successful mining entrepreneur. The institute now provides opportunities for thousands of students to learn about entrepreneurship and innovation. Programs include workshops, networking events, business-plan competitions, startup support, innovation programs, graduate seminars, scholarships, community outreach and more. All programs are open to students from any academic major or background. The Lassonde Institute also manages the Lassonde Studios, a new $45 million innovation space and housing facility for all students. Learn more at lassonde.utah.edu.