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Health Care, Clean Energy Startups Earn Top Prizes at Global Venture Labs Investment Competition

Innoblative Designs with Rob Adams, director of TVLInnoblative Designs, a medical device company from Northwestern University, beat out 37 teams from 12 different countries to claim the title of Global Champion at the 31st annual Global Venture Labs Investment Competition held at The University of Texas at Austin on May 3. Innoblative Designs is commercializing a novel technology that will improve the treatment of early-stage breast cancer.

The Global Investment Venture Labs Competition, designed to mimic the real-world process of raising venture capital, is a unique partnership that brings together graduate students and business leaders. The judges function as an investment group seeking to reach consensus on the business venture they would most likely fund. The quality of the idea, the strength of the management team, and the clarity and persuasiveness of the written plan and oral presentation are all considered in the judges' decision.

As global champion, Innoblative received a $75,000 package that includes consulting time with the director of Texas Venture Labs, an Austin Technology Incubator launch package, and cash. The winning team will also have the opportunity to ring the closing bell at the NASDAQ OMX in Times Square on Friday, June 13.

"Being in the Global Venture Labs Investment Competition is unlike any other business plan competition because we really developed a relationship with the judges on stage during a 45 minute period of time," said Jason Sandler, team member of Innoblative Designs. Sandler described the final competition as the longest Innoblative has ever participated in, with fast paced discussion between the team and the judges.

First-runner up, receiving a cash prize of $5,000, was RediGen, a team from Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration of Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. The team’s process for recycling waste tires and recycled plastic to create a multi-functional composite called RediKa also earned RediGen the Wells Fargo Clean Energy Award of $20,000.

Elevator pitch in the UT Tower A new addition this year to the three-day Global VLIC was the Nemec Elevator Challenge. As part of the elevator challenge, 22 teams each gave a one-minute elevator pitch for their businesses while riding the actual elevator to the top of the iconic UT Austin Tower. Four teams — BrewPRO from Boise State University; Neolys Diagnostics from EMLYON Business School in France; Quick Posture from Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship in Sweden; and NordHouse Medical Solutions from Michigan State University— received $1,500 each as winners of the first-ever Nemec Elevator Challenge.

Innoblative Designs, from Northwestern University; RediGen, from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand; TheraBracelet from University of Louisville; and NanDio, from University of Notre Dame, competed in the final round of the Global GVLIC on Saturday afternoon. Second runner-up, TheraBracelet, and third runner-up, NanDio, both received a cash prize of $3,000. 

TheraBracelet reached the final round via the wild card challenge that gives runners-up from the opening round of the competition of Thursday the opportunity to compete for a slot in the semi-finals. TheraBracelet developed a device that restores agility and independence to individuals who experience poor quality of life due to debilitating neuropathic disorders. 

"Entrepreneurs took on tough problems such as clean energy and the changing landscape of health care," said Rob Adams, director of Texas Venture Labs. "We are very proud to host the 'Super Bowl' of business plan competitions."

Started at The University of Texas at Austin by Master of Business Administration (MBA) students in 1984, the Global VLIC is the oldest new venture competition in the world.

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