Vitapul, a company developing an injection device that stores medication in a way that extends its shelf-life, won first place and the $5,000 grand prize at the 2019-2020 University of Utah Opportunity Quest business-model, executive-summary competition today. Ten teams advanced to the final judging and awards event at Lassonde Studios. The competition is managed by students at the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute and sponsored by Zions Bank.
Other top teams included the second-place winner Heimdall Health ($3,000), the third-place winner Sawtooth ($1,000), and the best-video winner MounTins ($1,000). See below for a complete listing and descriptions of all the finalist teams.
“Opportunity Quest provides student entrepreneurs the chance to make their business ideas a reality,” said Suraj Ramkumar, the student vice-chair for Opportunity Quest. “These ten teams put forth their best efforts, and I am astounded at the level of professionalism they had.”
Vitapul is improving access to life-saving devices through autoinjectors for medications such as epinephrine. The autoinjector will store medication in a new and innovative manner to be able to keep medications more thermally stable, which will decrease degradation and elongate expiration dates.
“In the upcoming months, we will mainly be looking to file patents as well as getting ready for the Utah Entrepreneurial Challenge,” says Alex Huhn, of Vitapul, an MBA graduate. Teammate Brian Parker added, “We want to make sure that our autoinjector releases the correct amount of epinephrine every time through reliability testing after we have our patent completely filed.” Parker and the other Vitapul members are studying medicine at the U.
The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, a division of the David Eccles School of Business, hosts branch Opportunity Quest competitions across Utah at partner universities. Participants are judged by industry experts based on the quality of their submission and pitch. Winning teams at Opportunity Quest receive prize money, and the winners advance into the top 20 of the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge, where they will develop a full business model and compete against students across the state of Utah for the grand prize of $40,000.
All university students in the state of Utah are welcome to apply now to the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge, a statewide business-model competition with over $100,000 in prizes. The application is open until Feb. 12. Apply online and learn more at lassonde.utah.edu/uec.
Learn more about Opportunity Quest at lassonde.utah.edu/oq.
Top 10 Teams 2019-20
Here are the top 10 teams in Opportunity Quest at the University of Utah for 2019-20 in alphabetical order:
- Coweb — A portal to learning management systems with added functionality to manage group/coursework more effectively.
- GAIA Technologies — A unique solution to simplify electronic prosthesis for increased consumer availability.
- Heimdall Health — An improved pneumatic otoscope capable of providing quantified data to healthcare professionals when examining ears for otitis media (OM), a common middle ear infection affecting 80 percent of children in the U.S.
- Life Ready — A “camp” geared towards seniors in high school to prepare them for the “real world.”
- MounTins — A coaster company that partners with local restaurants that provides coupons to its customers.
- Parq — A platform that allows home and business owners to rent out their parking spots to the public.
- Rexchanger — A platform that allows owners to put their outdoor equipment up for rent.
- Sawtooth — A load expanding and securing tonneau system that can quickly load, secure, and protect cargo taller than a pickup truck’s bed walls.
- Usobek — An affordable alternative for modern male reproductive health and analysis.
- Vitapul — An autoinjector that stores medication in a new and innovative manner, keeping the medication of choice more thermally stable to decrease degradation and elongate expiration dates.
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 Lassonde Studios, a new five-story innovation space and housing facility for all students. Learn more at lassonde.utah.edu.