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New search technology provider Implicit Interfaces and biotech venture Titan Medical tied for first place at the 10th annual UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition at the University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business.
The competition is organized by Berkeley MBA students and is open to students, staff and alumni of UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco (UCSF). Winners of the 2008 competition were announced on May 1.
Implicit Interfaces' search technology leverages computer vision and machine learning techniques to make virtual clothes shopping more consumer-friendly and to increase online apparel sales. The team includes three UC Berkeley Ph.D. students in computer science.
Titan Medical uses nanotechnology to create a high-precision, low-cost system to deliver therapeutic treatments for chronic diseases. The system, called NanoFlow, allows drugs to enter the blood stream at a steady rate in very low doses, cutting down on side effects. The management team includes three students in a joint UCSF/UC Berkeley program for quantitative biosciences and UC Berkeley 2008 MBA candidate Stephen Dugan.
The two winning teams share the $25,000 first prize and $10,000 second prize, with each team receiving half of the $35,000 total.
The third place, $5,000 prize went to Omniox, a biotechnology company that seeks to commercialize a breakthrough therapy discovered at UC Berkeley's Department of Chemistry to treat oxygen deprivation diseases, including cancers. The team comprises both scientists and MBA graduates, including two from UC Berkeley: Mary Jane Bedegi and Kevin Kopczynski.
The audience at the competition's final event voted to give the Glycometrix team the People's Choice Award of $5,000. Glycometrix offers new glycan-based blood serum testing for early-stage cancer detection, and the company has already conducted a positive 200-person clinical trial. The team is comprised of five science and business professionals from the biotech industry, including two UC Berkeley alumni.
The business plan competition was founded by UC Berkeley MBA students in 1998 to help transform university innovations into commercial enterprises. A record 101 teams entered this year's competition. The eight finalist teams vied for $45,000 in cash prizes. They also received mentoring and feedback from the venture capital judges.
In addition to the competition prizes, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati offered a scholarship to each finalist team to send one representative to its exclusive, invitation-only Entrepreneurs College spring session held at the law firm's offices in Palo Alto, Calif.
The competition is hosted by UC Berkeley's Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Haas School of Business, the College of Engineering, and the School of Information, as well as by UC San Francisco.
Silver sponsors of this year's competition were Foundation Capital, Blue Run Ventures, Intel Capital and Mintz Levin. Bronze sponsors were Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Claremont Creek Ventures, Morgenthaler Ventures, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, O'Reilly Alphatech Ventures, Vator.tv, Arizona Bay Ventures, Seed Ventures, Palo Alto Software, Advanced Technology Ventures, Versant Ventures, Rockport Capital Partners and Heller Ehrman. Friends of the competition included gOffice and SAP Ventures.
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