Tag: Olin Cup

The top prize in the 2015 Olin Cup competition was awarded to Love Will Inc., a developer of virtual currency-based financial tools, at an awards ceremony held Thursday, Jan. 29 in Whitaker Hall.

The company was founded by four 2014 graduates of Washington University’s Olin Business School and School of Arts & Sciences. Its first flagship product, Pheeva, is a mobile bitcoin wallet and peer-to-peer transaction application that enables individuals and businesses to affordably send and receive money from anywhere in the world, instantaneously and for little to no cost.

1.30.2015 - Olin Cup presentations at Whitaker Hall.Photo by Mary Butkus/WUSTL Photos

Dave Sutter (left) and Casey Lawlor, members of the winning team from Love Will Inc., pose with the Olin Cup. Photo: Mary Butkus/WUSTL Photo

Love Will was selected from a pool of eight finalists vying for the Olin Cup. Members of the Love Will team include: A.J. Hong, Director of Finance, BSBA 2014; Casey Lawlor, Director of Business Development, AB 2014; Dave Sutter, Director of Sales, AB 2014; Jeff Handler, Director of Marketing, AB 2014.

A total of 26 teams, which included Wash U alumni and current PhD and executive MBA students, entered this year’s competition. The following teams were recognized at the ceremony for finishing in a tie for second place:

  • Pratim BIswas, Chairman of the Dept. of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering

    Pratim BIswas, Chairman of the Dept. of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering

    Applied Particle Technology, LLC — Provider of innovative, cost-effective air treatment and filtration solutions for specialty applications which require high efficiency removal of ultra-fine particles, inactivation of pathogens and/or removal of toxic fumes and odors. Team members include: Jiaxi Fang, Co-Founder and President, PhD student; Tandeep S. Chadha, Co-Founder, PhD student; Prof. Pratim Biswas, Co-Founder and scientific advisor.

  • dabbleDabble — Marketplace for classes in the community. Dabble serves as a means to explore one’s interests in a low-commitment, enjoyable way. Through its online marketplace at dabble.co, Dabble serves to connect people offline, all in the name of learning and exploration. Classes are held in person and range across topics, from Coding to Calligraphy and Graphic Design to Glassblowing and everything in between. Jay Swoboda, CEO and co-owner, is a WUSTL alumnus, AB 2002.
  • hamstrongHamStrong — Prosthetic hamstring device and intellectual property company. The device, combined with two workout protocols, (one for rehabilitation and one for injury prevention) dramatically reduces the recovery time for those suffering from hamstring injuries, and when used in training can prevent injuries from even occurring. HamStrong CEO Mark Becker and team member Ben Igielnik are members of Executive MBA -Kansas City class 41.

In addition to a nominal monetary prize, the four top-performing teams will have the real-world opportunity to pursue further funding and mentor engagement by negotiating with the university for potential investment in the new venture.

Audience members at the ceremony were able to view posters and hear presentations from all eight finalists, followed by a reception to provide feedback to the teams and celebrate all team accomplishments.

Additional sponsorship for the Olin Cup competition comes from the law firm Polsinelli and accounting firm RubinBrown.

About the Olin Cup
The Olin Cup was founded at the Olin Business School in 1987 and expanded in 2003 to recognize outstanding new ventures created by Washington University students, faculty and alumni from all schools. The competition is sponsored by the Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Olin Business School. It represents the center’s threefold-mission: to invite Skandalaris program participation from all disciplines; to provide high quality, realistic, practical entrepreneurial skills training; and to provide access to early stage seed capital to the university’s most promising entrepreneurs and innovations.

“The Olin Cup process is a perfect fit for the center’s mission to provide practical, real-world training to these promising Washington University entrepreneurs,” said Emre Toker, managing director of the Skandalaris Center. “The Olin Cup is a great beginning, and our teams have advanced and learned a great deal. We look forward to continuing to mentor them to increase their invest-ability so they may secure funding leading to successful venture formation.”

Julie Flory and Rosemary Gliedt contributed to this blog post.

Great news from the startup hatched in Olin’s Hatchery class that went on to win the Olin Cup, Arch Grants, and many other competitions. The medical device company, created by Andrew Brimer and Abigail Cohen when they were WUSTL undergrads, has raised $1.25 million from a group of angel investors.

When they won the Olin Cup in 2013, the Sparo Labs team was made up of four WUSTL undergraduate students. Sparo Labs has developed a new spirometer to monitor lung function.

See the whole story in the St. Louis Business Journal.

Congrats Abby and Andrew!!



On Thursday, September 4, at 5:30PM, the Skandalaris Center’s new Managing Director, Emre Toker, will kick off this year’s Skandalaris programming, including the Olin Cup and YouthBridge Social Enterprise and Innovation Competitions. Registration is at 5PM with the program start at 5:30 in Whitaker Hall auditorium, followed by a reception in the Whitaker Atrium.

Tokar arrived in St. Louis and at Washington University earlier this month from the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, where he was a Mentor in Residence. He is excited by what’s been happening on campus and in the community in the area of innovation and entrepreneurship.  An entrepreneur himself, he founded two biomedical technology companies in Tucson, MedOptics and Bioptics Corporations, and co-founded one in Santa Clara, California, Radicon Imaging Corporation. Each company was acquired by larger firms within seven years of founding.  Emre’s areas of interest include early-stage ventures, international angel investment syndication, and biomedical technologies.

Jessica Stanko just transferred to the Skandalaris Center from the Career Center,  as Campus and Student Services Coordinator. If you have any questions about the Skandalaris Center or would like to know more about programs and services, please feel free to contact Jessica at stanko@wustl.edu

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antimicrobial resistance is one our most serious health threats, with infections from resistant bacteria becoming far too common. Part of the problem is over-prescription of antibiotics.

Nanopore Diagnostics hopes to change that.

Founded by Washington University in St. Louis post-doctoral research scholar Tom Cohen and PhD/MBA student Benjamin Borgo, the company won this year’s Olin Cup prize and $50,000 in seed investment during a ceremony highlighted by remarks from David Karandish (BS ’05), CEO of Answers Corp.

Borgo also was awarded the $5,000 cash student prize. The team’s third partner is Christoph Bausch.

Nanopore is developing a test to fight the spread of antibiotic resistance. The test, which takes 20 minutes to read, will identify whether the patient can benefit from antibiotics, and if so, which one to prescribe.

“It feels pretty exciting to have won,” Cohen said. “I was actually a competitor last year and made it to the finals. Through this entire process, the Olin Cup competition has provided a lot to us. It’s not only the feedback you get from the judges, but also the way the Olin Cup links you with mentors throughout the process. Much of the network we’ve been able to build and utilize to gain traction in St. Louis has come through those connections.”

In his keynote address, Karandish spoke of his attempts to start seven different businesses before graduating from WUSTL. He said all of the attempts were failures, and he and his business partner and classmate Chris Sims did not have jobs when they graduated. He spoke of the seven years of “fasting” before founding AFCV Holdings, now known as Answers, and the seven years of “feasting” since then.

He concluded by saying the experience taught him and Sims the important entrepreneurial skills of building key partnerships, picking the right business model, capital structure and product distribution.

“The skills you learn as you try and fail are the building blocks of your ultimate success,” Karandish said. “Keep at it, and the skills will drive you toward success.”

The event also included remarks from Mark Pydynowski (BSBA ’04), who won the 2005 Olin Cup. Mark returned on behalf of all Olin Cup past participants to express his thanks and appreciation to Ken Harrington, managing director of the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, who plans to leave the university in August.

In announcing the Olin Cup winners, Harrington thanked Pydynowski and commented on the growth of the entrepreneurial community in St. Louis.

“The Skandalaris Center supports entrepreneurs at the idea stage and helps smart people run into each other so good things happen,” Harrington said. “As more entrepreneurs try, the community gets smarter, and more people will be successful like David and Chris, who in turn provide financial and mentoring support to startups. Our Olin Cup companies are getting better every year.”

In addition to Nanopore, two finalist teams received $20,000 each in seed funding:

Genetix Fusion, a company developing the next generation of transfection kits for biomedical researchers, and SynerZ Medical, which is developing an outpatient device for treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Olin Business School is the Skandalaris Center’s partner in the Olin Cup, with additional sponsorship from the law firm Polsinelli, accounting firm RubinBrown, the St. Louis Regional Chamber, and Lopata, Flegel & Co.

Get a behind the scenes look at the road to the Olin Cup Competition final round with the Epi Squared Team in this video. The team is made up of undergraduate and graduate students from the School of Engineering & Applied Science, Olin Business School and the School of Medicine. They are developing an implantable device that would serve as a mobile solution to reducing the severity of epileptic seizures.

The Olin Cup Awards Ceremony is Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, at 5 p.m. in May Auditorium. For more details, see story about keynote speaker David Karandish, CEO, Answers.com.

Finalists in this year’s Olin Cup competition are:

      • Epi Squared*, developing an implantable mobile solution to reduce severity of epileptic seizures;
      • Farmplicity*, an online marketplace making it easy for chefs to acquire local food;
      • Genetix Fusion*, developing the next generation of transfection kits for biomedical researchers;
      • Nanopore Diagnostics*, developing products that provide immediate molecular diagnostic testing;
      •  Stumpy’s Spirits*, locally sourced grain-to-glass premium spirits distiller;
      •  SynerZ Medical, developing an outpatient device for treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes; and
      • Zymplr, developing a helmet designed to reduce concussions in high-impact sports.

Teams marked with an asterisk * include Washington University students who are eligible for the $5,000 student cash prize.

Thanks to WUSTL Public Affairs for sharing this video.