UB entrepreneurship competition enters semifinal round

Release Date: March 9, 2018

BUFFALO, N.Y. Eleven teams led by University at Buffalo students have been identified as semifinalists in the annual Henry A. Panasci Jr. Technology Entrepreneurship Competition (Panasci TEC), taking them one step closer to the $52,000 in startup funding and business services that will go to the group that presents the best plan for a viable new business in Western New York.

After watching 33 first-round pitches, preliminary judges pared down the number of teams to 11.

Ideas from the semifinalists represent a wide range of business plans:

Three proposals had a health care theme: a software solution that improves the visualization and integration of electronic health records to reduce time and prevent misinterpretation and medical error; an alternative therapy that uses the healing and calming benefits of sound technology to help those with addiction and other mental illnesses; and a platform that can assist with the placement decision process for elderly loved ones who need care.

The cyber realm featured five entries: an idea for pattern-recognition technology embedded in digital signage to produce valuable analytics for its advertisers; a device for a guitar that allows a user to control digital sound effects right on the instrument; a web platform that connects experienced and specialized drone pilots with potential clients; a management platform to streamline group work for teachers; and an “all or nothing” mobile marketplace that allows users to sell unwanted goods in one simple transaction.

Other ideas included a patent-pending guitar case for transporting or standing instruments while preventing damage; a portable, golf-inspired chipping game using a specially engineered and adjustable golf wedge; and an all-natural, tea-based drink for sustained energy and focus, but without the jitters or crash.

Each of the semifinalist teams has been matched with a coach from the business community to prepare for the next round, when they will submit written materials along with a video pitch.

Judges will evaluate those materials and select five finalists by March 28.

The five final teams will deliver a 10-minute, public presentation at the competition’s final round from 4-8 p.m. on April 10 at the Center for the Arts Main Stage on UB’s North Campus.

They will be evaluated on how well they describe the feasibility and marketability of their venture, prove the need for their product or service and present potential sources of capital. Winners will be announced at a reception immediately following the last team presentation.

In addition to $25,000 in seed funding, the winning team will receive in-kind awards valued at $27,000 for legal services from Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC, accounting services from Lumsden & McCormick LLP, human resource services from the People Plan from HR Foundations Inc., business development services from the UB Office of Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships, and office space from North Forest Office Space. The first place team also will have the opportunity to pitch to investors at the Bright Buffalo Niagara Expo.

Now in its 18th year, Panasci TEC was created by the UB School of Management and the UB Office of Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships, and is funded with a $1 million endowment from the late Henry A. Panasci Jr. to facilitate and promote the commercialization of UB-generated technologies.

Hosted by the UB School of Management’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) and Blackstone LaunchPad at UB, the event brings together UB students from science, technology, business and other disciplines to maximize their potential and create viable businesses in Western New York.

Anyone interested in attending the presentations on April 10 should register with the CEL at 716-885-5715 or mgt-cel@buffalo.edu.

The UB School of Management is recognized for its emphasis on real-world learning, community and economic impact, and the global perspective of its faculty, students and alumni. The school also has been ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes and U.S. News & World Report for the quality of its programs and the return on investment it provides its graduates. For more information about the UB School of Management, visit mgt.buffalo.edu.

Media Contact Information

Jacqueline Molik Ghosen
Assistant Dean and Director of Communications
School of Management