Impact Prize winners are creating life changing medical devices

Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars.

Student startup companies developed during the Invent@SU invention accelerator program took the top two prizes at the 2018 Syracuse University Impact Prize Competition organized by Blackstone LaunchPad. The winners were selected for presenting the most innovative and implementable ideas to help solve civic, environmental, economic or other public challenges as part of a campuswide social entrepreneurship challenge.

MedUX, invented by industrial design students Quinn King ’20 and Alec Gillinder ’20, won first place and $6,500 in funding. Their wearable, portable IV system allows patients to remain mobile while receiving treatment. King and Gillinder also won the SU Campus session of Invent@SU in the summer of 2018.

Prioritage, invented by bioengineering major Angelica O’Hara ’19 and biochemistry major Ibnul Rafi ’18, took second place and $3,500. Their device, a system for first responders at mass casualty incidents, measures vital signs of multiple patients through armband units that relay data to a central onsite monitoring device. O’Hara and Rafi won first place at the New York City session of Invent@SU in the summer of 2018. McKenna Murtha ’19 of Newhouse has also joined the startup company.

“Participation in the Invent@SU acceleration program has consistently been a pivotal success factor for winning teams,” says Blackstone LaunchPad Executive Director Linda Hartsock.  “Invent@SU provides the framework for ideation, iteration, discovery and feedback, as well as prototyping and pitching. Students who participate in Invent@SU are well prepared to work with us on next steps related to product and business model development, and take their inventions from concept to commercialization.  The Invent@SU–Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars partnership is truly unique, and provides an integrated roadmap to help students succeed at being both inventors and entrepreneurs.”

This is the second year in a row that Invent@SU teams have finished at the top of the Impact Prize competition. In 2017, wearable asthma inhaler In-Spire and microfiber trapping device FibreFree were the first place team

This year’s $10,000 Impact Prize Competition featured 14 student teams pitching their products, services and technologies with potential to change the world.  They included:  Farm to Flame, Promptous, AUDTT, KAIROS, Art Inspires You, Fit Pet, Proritage, CLLCTVE Agency, HALO, Optech VR, Blood Sweat and Beers, SWIP, C29 and MedUX.

Judges included education, arts, nonprofit and civic leaders, and Syracuse University alumni, as well as the campus ambassador for the Dorm Room Fund:  Ty Marshal, Joe Cortese, Josh Moon, Dan Lee, Kayla Simon, Michele Sczpanski, Attila Melegh, Ryan Brinkerhoff, Elizabeth Tarangelo, Owen Kerney, Eric Ennis and Vivek Sureddi.

The Impact Prize is coordinated by the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University, and supported through a generous gift from Dr. Gisela M. von Dran, along with another gift from a member of the Advisory Board of the Syracuse University Libraries.

The goal of the competition is to think about societal issues and frame possible solutions that are feasible and implementable. Some of these challenges might relate to energy, the environment and sustainability, community revitalization, poverty and empowerment, arts, culture and education, or healthcare, nutrition and human services.

Student volunteer coordinators for the competition were Audrey Miller, Blackstone LaunchPad Global Fellow and Emma Rothman, Blackstone LaunchPad Engagement Scholar, supported by Jake deHahn, David Fox and Victoria Lawson.

The Impact Prize Competition was a highlight of Syracuse University’s Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Story by Alex Dunbar and LaunchPad staff

Photo:  Angelica O’Hara, McKenna Murtha, Quinn King and Alec Gillinder