“Elite Eight” to vie for $10,000 in prizes at ‘Cuse Tank this Friday, October 26

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Come to ‘Cuse Tank, Friday, October 26, 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. to help kick-off Family Weekend with a lively $10,000 pitch competition at Bird Library.

The “Elite Eight” finalists for the first ever ‘Cuse Tank will vie in a “Shark Tank” style prize competition on Friday, October 26 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 .m. in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons, Bird Library.  The event is co-sponsored by the Blackstone LaunchPad and Syracuse University Libraries, and all are invited to watch the pitches and show support for the teams.

A distinguished panel of judges who are SU parents and successful entrepreneurs from a wide variety of industry sectors voted on “Sweet Sixteen” semi-finalists from scores of applications, narrowing the field down to the “Elite Eight” who will pitch for $10,000 in prizes this Friday.

The event is the kick-off to SU Family Weekend, and an opportunity for families who are visiting from around the country, and around the world, to experience the entrepreneurial spirit of SU innovators.

In Family Weekend spirit, two brothers are competing in ‘Cuse Tank.  Will McKnight, founder of Farm to Flame, will face off against Phil McKnight, co-founder of Promptous in the “Elite Eight” finals.

“Elite Eight” contestants come from across campus, and are working on diverse ideas.  In alphabetical order, they are:

  • Cllctve Agency, LLC, a creative agency that connects brands with strategy content and college creatives who can execute transmedia content. CLLCTVE connects revolutionary strategic concepts with collaborative transmedia content to reposition brands for success, while simultaneously nurturing the freelance community on college campuses across the country.  Clients have included Coca-Cola, Land Rover, PUMA and Syracuse University.  The team is already working with 50 universities and expanding to more.  It is hosting a major conference, “The Art of Finesse,” on October 28 at SU. — Kelsey Davis and Ryan Williams, co-founders
  • Farm to Flame Energy, a smokeless, odorless, biomass generator that can use any feedstock, providing energy to off-the grid communities. Winner of several campus impact competitions, as well as a regional finalist for the prestigious Hult Prize competition, Farm to Flame is a fully patented, biomass-powered generator and grinder system that can provide power to off-the grid communities in Africa, Asia, and remote portions of North America.  Farm to Flame generators are smokeless and odorless, and can use anyfeedstock or agricultural waste.  They can also provide reliability to disaster-prone communities that need secure and resilient backup energy to supplement electricity delivery.  — Founder, Will McKnight
  • FibreFree, a device that traps microfibers shed from synthetic clothing to prevent them from entering oceans and aquifers.  Winner of the campus Impact Prize, and finalist for the Dyson Innovation Competition, FibreFree developed its prototype through the Invent@SU program.  FibreFree traps tiny plastic microfibers that are shed from synthetic clothing before they go into the water system and make their way into the food chain.  FibreFree resembles a conventional laundry ball, but its unique porous shell and novel filter, made of 100% recyclable materials, traps microfibers in the laundry process.  FibreFree is also currently a New York State finalist for the Global Student Entrepreneurship Award.  — Charles Keppler and Serena Omo-Lamai, co-founders
  • In-Spire, a wearable bracelet style asthma refillable inhaler that can deliver an emergency dose. First place winner of the 2017 Invent@SU program, In-Spire also won first place in SU’s Impact Prize, RvD/iPrize, and Panasci Business Plan Competition, and was the campus winner of the ACC InVenture Prize.  The team, which has filed a non-provisional patent, is working on a path to commercialization for its stylish bracelet that integrates a small refillable inhaler, providing on-the-go relief, particularly for exercise- induced asthma.  Technical advisors are helping the team develop a strategy for FDA approval, as well as final design for a production equivalent model for testing.  It is currently a New York State finalist for the Global Student Entrepreneurship Award.  — Kayla Simon and Elizabeth Tarangelo, co-founders
  • MedUX, a wearable, lightweight IV shoulder device. First place winner of the 2018 Invent@SU program, MedUX designed a wearable, portable IV system that allows people who need infusion treatment to receive it without being tethered to a traditional pole mount unit. It is particularly suited for stand-alone infusion centers, cancer centers, post-op hospital settings, and palliative care where a patient needs intravenous delivery, but also wants to be more mobile and comfortable. It can also be used in emergency and disaster situations where IV systems mounted on poles are not practical. Using new and pre-existing technologies, the lightweight shoulder-mounted device uses a pressure flow system to control a desired flow rate without the use of electronics or heavy batteries that need to be frequently changed.  — Alec Gillinder and Quinn King, co-founders
  • OptechVR, a standalone, affordable social VR headset.  For applications from gaming to medicine, to education and enterprise, there is an opportunity to create a better, more affordable all-in-one VR headset that offers a multi-user experience.  OptechVR is a plug-and-play, all-in-one device, eliminating the need for high-powered external computers or game consoles, or wires. It incorporates dual hand and room tracking technology, replacing complicated controllers with the user’s hand movement.  It can connect to other headsets, enabling users to work in teams or experience VR together.  — Matt Shumer and Sam Hollander, co-founders
  • Prioritage, a platform for triage and real-time patient monitoring in emergencies. In events such as mass casualty situations, disasters, or large crowded ER rooms, a patient’s condition can deteriorate rapidly after initial triage, especially if there is a high ratio of patients to medical professionals.  Prioritage, a first place winner of the NYC Invent@SU program, is a wearable armband that monitors a patient’s vital signs to detect changes after triage, sending wireless alerts if conditions change, and suggesting prioritized treatment based on the rate of change post initial assessment. — Angelica O’Hara and Ibnul Rafi, co-founders
  • Promptous, an insurance claims processing platform using blockchain technology.  Using blockchain technology, smart contracts and ACH to create transparency, more predictability, and prompt payment, Promptous eliminates the need for a costly third party benefits administrator.  The streamlined system, targeted for the dental insurance industry, is simpler, easier to understand, and creates secure transactions in a regulatory compliant platform that provides data privacy and prompt payments. — Joshua Jackson, Timothy Kelly, Phil McKnight, co-founders