U student startup, Owlet Baby Monitors, wins UES.

Student entrepreneurs shine at Utah Entrepreneur Challenge

Owlet Baby Monitors, a student team from Brigham Young University, won the grand prize of $40,000 at the 2013 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge (UEC) during the recent awards banquet. The UEC is a statewide student business plan competition sponsored by Zions Bank and hosted by the Utah Entrepreneur Series, a division of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Center and the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah (U). This year’s competition saw 121 total submissions.

Owlet Baby Monitors provides a non-invasive infant monitoring system (pulse oximeter) resembling a sock. Their product issues periodic readouts and warnings to parents via their smart phones and it is designed to identify infant respiratory problems before they become serious. Respiratory failure is the leading cause of sudden infant death syndrome, according to Owlet team members. The product can also monitor infant sleeping patterns and advise parents when to see a doctor. Owlet has received attention from over 40 news websites in 13 different countries.

“Even when you’re sleeping, you can rest assured, literally, that your baby is safe,” Mashable reports.

“We received a lot of valuable feedback in the first round of the UEC,” says Jordan Monroe, an Owlet team member. “We were able to step back and say ‘yeah, we really need to investigate that.’ It got us going on making changes to our business plan and model.”

Tying for the Stoel Rives Law Firm Best Technology award were Sonomargin and iTest (both from the U). Sonomargin provides an analytical tool that allows doctors to ensure they have removed all cancerous tissues when excising breast tumors. ITest is a mobile pathogen testing device designed to interface with any smart phone to deliver quick and accurate results to the user.

In addition to the grand prize, Zions awarded Best Written Business Plan to Daakye (Westminster College) and Best Presentation to FiberFix (Brigham Young University). Daakye sells hand-made purses to fund elementary education for students in Africa, and FiberFix offers a repair adhesive inspired by casting tape for mending broken bones.

“The UEC is a competition that requires a lot of focus and a competitive spirit,” says Abby Speicher, team leader of Daakye. “I felt that every week there was a new award that I was trying to win. My business, Daakye, came out with some great assets.”

Second round competitors in the UEC were required to submit a 90-second video and a 20-page business plan, comprised of an executive summary outlining their concept, a market description, a depiction of their product or service, and a sales/marketing strategy.

In addition to prize money, the UEC provides resources to help students create and implement their business plans: an annual Student Entrepreneur Conference, an intellectual property forum hosted by Stoel Rives law firm, a financial statement workshop hosted by Deloitte, and mentoring from local entrepreneurs and professionals.

2013 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge winners

  • Grand Prize, $40,000: Owlet Baby Monitors (BYU) provides a non-invasive infant monitoring system designed to prevent sudden infant death syndrome.
  • Best Written Business Plan, $5,000: Daakye (Westminster College) sells purses to generate funding to help African children receive an elementary education.
  • Best Presentation, $,5000: FiberFix (BYU) is a low-cost, permanent repair tape inspired by casts doctors used to mend broken bones.
  • Best Technology (tie): SonoMargin (U) provides an analytical tool that allows doctors to ensure they have removed all cancerous tissues when excising breast tumors.
  • Best Technology (tie): iTest (U) is a mobile pathogen testing device designed to interface with any smart phone to deliver quick and accurate results to the user.
  • Best Video: LIYEN, Inc. (Westminster College) produces its SLYDER asthma inhaler spacing device, which is more portable and aesthetically appealing than traditional spacers.
  • People’s Choice Award: FiberFix (BYU)
  • Best Bootstrap: Buchanan’s Pancake and Waffle Mix (LDSBC) offers a pre-packaged mix of the traditional Buchanan’s pancake and waffle recipe.
  • Speed pitch Winner: FiberFix (BYU)
  • Tabling Event Winner: SonoMargin (U)

To learn more about the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge and other related competitions, visit www.ues.utah.edu.

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