The winner of the year’s WSU Shocker New Venture Competition was Good Flight, a software application for flight instructors to monitor their students from the ground.
The competition, hosted by WSU’s Center for Entrepreneurship and held Friday at Devlin Hall, featured six teams of students that had triumphed in earlier rounds of competition.
The awardees and price money they received were: Good Flight, $10,000; MediPaq, a vest that allows doctors to conduct remote evaluations, $5,000; Mobile HealthLink, smart watch application for remote health monitoring, $2,000; Rabbit Method Technologies, a series of sensors to allow medical professionals to measure joint angles using a software application, $750.
Other awards included: the People’s Choice Award, $500, to MediPaq; Director’s Award, $500, to Rabbit Method Technologies; Healthcare Innovation Award, $4,000, to MediPaq; and Technology Innovation Award, $4,000, to Deployable Drones.
The students were judged by local experts on their ability to lay out their business concepts, explain the technology, who wants it and why, who the competitors would be — and what their actual plans are.
The competition awards more than $30,000 in cash as start-up capital. Just as importantly, some of the judges and others affiliated with the competition are mentors and investors who can help the new entrepreneurs.
Center director Mark Torline said that the competition has become more than students pitching hypothetical ideas for a class project.
“There’s no obligation that they keep working on their business, but there is an expectation,” he said.
He estimated at least six real businesses have emerged from the competition in the past.
Some of the proposed ventures pitched on Friday are real enough to actually work, or kind of work.
The owners of Deployable Drones acknowledged that they had made a pretty dramatic shift between building drones during last week’s competition and developing drone software for this round.
Student/owner Liz Jaax said this won’t be the end, no matter what happened in the judging.
“This competition is not the end for us,” she said. “It’s just the beginning.”