The Michigan Business Challenge (MBC), a cornerstone of action-based learning at the University of Michigan, kicks off today with over 100 students participating in the 37th annual competition. MBC is campus-wide, multi-round business plan competition where student teams have the opportunity to win cash prizes, gain feedback from leaders in the business community, and expand their network.
MBC Round 1 boasts innovative student teams from across the 19 schools and colleges at the University of Michigan. These eager entrepreneurs are ready to pitch to panels of experts for a chance to advance to the second round – one step closer to $100,000 in prizes!
Meet the student ventures for 2020:
Nochi is a studio creating educational games in the form of young adult romance visual novel entertainment while providing game-related experiences and merchandise related to its original IPs. Presented by Natalie Fang, MBA ’20, and James Boggs, PhD Computer Science and Engineering ‘23.
Breadless is a new, premium sandwich shop that serves delicious sandwiches wrapped with a variety of fresh and healthy greens, instead of bread. Founded by LaTresha Staten, MBA ‘20.
Zenith Payload Solutions makes space launches more accessible as they have become more affordable. The team features Owen Marr, BSE Aerospace Engineering ‘20 Kevin Jacobs, BSE Aerospace Engineering ‘20, Amit Kothekar, MEng Space Science and Engineering ’20, Alexander Sena, MS Space Science and Engineering ’20, and Alexander Samra, BSE Aerospace Engineering ‘21.
The WHEREHOUSE is a 12,000 square ft. experiential retail development in West Hollywood with multiple elements: The showroom (leasable retail), The Lounge (operations + further potential retail programming), The Market (leasable indoor recreation and food), The Gallery (art exhibits + installations), and The Courtyard (outdoor recreation, food). Presented by Tyler Makhani, BBA ‘20.
Rotaero is a collaborative B2B demand planning software that is bringing radical transparency to the aerospace industry. Founded by Ryan Manes, MBA ‘20.
Lenny&Lee designs and distributes unique, affordable, college-themed wall art that is perfect for students, parents and alumni. Presented by Danielle Mandelblatt, BBA/BA Art and Design ‘20.
Sports Booster is fundraising platform for university athletics programs that enables them to activate and expand their fan bases. Co-founded by Michael Bettis, MBA ’21 & Sean Skyllingstad, MBA ‘21
TyFlos empowers the visually-impaired to instantly understand and easily navigate their surroundings. Founded by Derek Joslin, BSE Electrical Engineering ‘21.
Chauve is a direct to consumer solution providing education and products for bald men and men dealing with hair loss. Presented by Kene Onuorah, MBA ’21 & Mejoy Lawson, MBA ‘21.
The ZeroSixty pod is a single sugar-free, fastacting, low-calorie energy chew which carries the energizing effect of a typical cup of coffee. Founded by Alec Kremins, BBA ‘22.
CellularEMS combines sustainability innovation with existing infrastructure to reduce energy costs of cellular telecommunications networks. Eli Goldfarb, MBA/MS Sustainable Systems ‘22, will be pitching this venture.
ZoomLeap is a platform to connect young adults who are passionate about a hobby with children who are interested in learning a new hobby or skill. Presented by Patrick Morgan, BSE Computer Science ‘22.
Mashed produces simple and delicious banana ice cream because consumers shouldn’t have to choose between healthy, real food and dessert. Founded by Mimi Huet, MBA ‘20.
Platinum X is an app that offers a fun, personalized, and social experience to identify and stay up to date with investment opportunities and to execute trades. Co-founded by Ahmad Nassar, MBA ’20, Angad Banga, MBA ’20, and Aman Rangan, MBA ‘20.
Official Burrito Blanket is an e-commerce website that sells throw blankets with food designs on them. Founded by Tyler Lubin, BBA ‘21.
Peer Minutes is a web platform that connects students to student tutors wherever, whenever, at a per-minute price set by the tutor, to avoid the long office hours wait of large classes. Co-founded by Anastasia Bergeron, BA English ’21, Arjun, Chaliha, BSE Computer Science ’21, Hridey Sahgal, BSE Computer Science ’21, and Louis Gouirand, BSE Computer Science ‘21.
Pikkit is a software platform for recreational bettors that enables individuals to bet with their friends, interact with peers in the betting
community, and discover new insights about their bets. Pranav Tadikonda, BSE Computer Science ’20, and Anthony Jonikas, BBA/BSE Computer Science ‘20 will be pitching this venture.
YourCheck is a tech-enabled platform that allows anyone to obtain a background check and share it for any reason without risking privacy. Presented by Adam Smiddy, MBA ’20, Michael Skowronski, MBA ’20, and Toni Suh, JD ‘20.
OOH Fancy is using photorealistic 3D environments to revolutionize customer success in the offline advertising and media industry. Founded by Vishal Chandawarkar, MBA ‘20.
Quad is a social platform aimed at integrating incoming students with the existing culture at the university. Presented by Cooper Kennelly, BSE Data Science ’22, Brandon Lee, BBA ’22, Justin Kula, IOE ’22, Noah Cooper, BS Computer Science ’22, and Adetola Ojo, BS Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience ‘22.
DataHarbor is data manipulation made simple. Co-founded by Samay Shamdasani, BSE Computer Science ’23, Sean Stapleton, BSE Computer Science ’20, Jason Lin, BSE Chemical Engineering ’23, and Varun Jindal, BSE Computer Science ‘23.
New for 2020, the Michigan Business Challenge is introducing an Intellectual Property Track. To be selected for this track, the student ventures must include a core intellectual property component and strategies describing how the intellectual property will be used to achieve overall business plan objectives.
Teams competing in the IP track include:
Accreos is a medical device startup that is developing the AxiSym Brace, a patented device that non-invasively enhances the healing of fresh, long-bone fractures, to reduce the rate of fracture non-unions. Co-founded by Anna-Maria Kaparos, BSE, Biomedical Engineering ’20, and Marina Engstrom, BSE Biomedical Engineering ‘20.
PuriPod is a portable menstrual cup sterilizer. Presented by Alexandra Lillig, BSE Materials Science and Engineering ’20, Lara Vanderbilt, BSE Chemical Engineering ’21, Naman Shah, MSE Mechanical Engineering ’20, and Nina Serr, BS Health and Society ‘20.
FMB Technologies is a systems services company developing a device to help researchers obtain better data from laboratory animal studies. Founded by Anil Tolwani, BS Statistics ‘22.
Vitresoft is a privacy conscious brain computer interface and authentication for everyone – your thoughts into action. Founded by Angel Rodriguez, BSE, Computer Engineering ‘20.
Sleep Churro is a small, portable, and minimally invasive device capable of reducing snoring/sleep apnea by relieving upper airway obstruction through the stenting open of the nasopharyngeal airway. Presented by Lindsey Furness, MSE Biomedical Engineering ’21, Allison Powell, MD ’21, and Juan Noda, MD/MBA ‘20.
Tactile Systems provides a tactile sensing technology to be used by prosthetists on evaluating the fitness and comfort of a prosthesis. Co-founded by Ketut Priambada-Putra, PhD Design Engineering ’20, and Vinita Chaudhary, BBA ‘20.
ElderCare is an IoT gadget that detects the data associated with daily activities of an elder person who lives alone with multiple sensors and makes it possible for distant family members to get notified through a smartphone app when the parent suffers from acute illness, cognitive impairment, or violent victimization. Presented by Hiroki Tanaka, MBA ’20, Appoorv Tiwari, MBA ’20, Robert Chen, MBA ’20, Himanshu Sharma, MBA ’20, & Abhinav Gupta, MBA ‘20.
Alivio is an inflatable wedge that assists nurses in low-resource communities turn patients with less physical effort. Co-founded by Alisa Liu, BS Biology ’22, Kristine Wang, BSE Computer Science ’20, and Dannie Zhang, BS Computer Science ’22.
GoodKnight is a medical device company that is developing a wearable device and associated interface that helps people affected by PTSDrelated nightmares get better quality sleep. The team includes Abigail Ziemkowski, BA Art and Design ’20, Angelina Reyes, BSE Biomedical Engineering ’23, Beste Aydin, BSE Computer Engineering ’21, Christian Aguilar, BSE Chemical Engineering ’21, Grant Ho, BS Computer Science ’23, Hadeel Abulenin, BS Computer Science ’23, Jason Qu, BSE Biomedical Engineering’21, Marco Garcia, BSE Electrical Engineering ’21, Matthew O’Brien, BSE Biomedical Engineering ’22, Preetam Vupputuri, BS Biochemistry ’23, and Tanya Lai, BSE Computer Science ‘22.
Autonomous Cargo Unit is like a wagon that pulls itself, good for those who need help moving things around, and also those who could use an extra hand. Founded by Saib Husain, BS Physics ‘21.
Shugarman Surgical Innovations improves ophthalmic anti-VEGF injection procedures, performed for various conditions, by providing and innovative eyelid speculum that improves the efficiency as well as the safety of the operations. Presented by Braden Shugarman, BBA ‘22.
Fox & Stripes is a ground-up wearable for the modern woman combining stress, sleep, period, and exercise tracking to help her better understand why she might feel off. Sunaina Kavi, MBA ’20 and Jennifer Korn, MBA ‘21, are pitching this new venture.
M-HEAL Perioperative has a thermoregulating mattress that prevents perioperative hypothermia. The team includes Tarun Bhadri, BBA/BS Neuroscience ’22, Lainie Eisner, BSE Biomedical Engineering 2020, Allison Vittert, BSE Biomedical Engineering 2020, Riley Vaara, BSE Biomedical Engineering ’21, Nikhil Mukkamala, BSE Biomedical Engineering ’22, & Brendan Kailukaitis, BS Computer Science ’22.
The Seigle Impact Track focuses on the development of new ventures that prioritize social or environmental considerations. This track of the competition is sponsored by the Mark and Robin Seigle Entrepreneurial Innovation Fund.
Impact focused teams include:
Apply-U is a student-centered, user-friendly, college admissions platform that will ensure that every student persists through the college admissions process and life-changing outcomes. Presented by Jordan Hartgens, MBA ’21, Kalane Abbey, MBA ’21, Sade Archie, MBA ’21, Barbara Zappala MBA ’21, and Claire Yee, MBA ‘21.
hEARt Listens is a socially engaged business that offers two complementary products: a training program that instructs students in emotional support skills and qualifies them as “hEARt Supporters”, and a peer support chat platform upon which these Supporters can anonymously connect with students seeking an empathetic ear. Aastha Dharia, BS Neuroscience ’20, Aria Thakore, BSE Biomedical Engineering ’20, Sheily Shah, BS Computer Science ’20, and Swathi Sampath, BS Public Health ‘20, are presenting this venture.
MetalView Technologies is a software company that employs computer vision tools to assess metal content of electronic scrap. We empower the metals recycling industry to manage the stocks and flows of critical metals. Founded by Evan Leon, MBA/MS ‘20.
UNVEILED is a print magazine with a digital presence, intended to showcase fashion, beauty, art, literature, business, etc. (lifestyle), as it relates to Muslim women, through representation of various cultures and forms of modesty. Presented by Amani Badran, MBA ‘21.
Caracjou is a human-assisted platform that leverages trusted community infrastructure to increase engagement of rural America with a wider variety of financial institutions. Co-founded by Alex Johnson, MBA ’21, Chashak Tulsyan, MBA ’21, Corey Stearns Bourbonais, MBA ’21 and Ledge Greenfield, MBA ‘21.
Puente is a tech nonprofit that builds software to streamline data collection and analysis in international health. Hope Tambala, MSI ‘20, will be pitching this venture.
Lawdax addresses how very few school children in Ghana are able to eat nutritionally adequate meals due to either high prices or the unavailability of good eateries in these localities. Founded by Justin Fang, BBA ‘20.
Revolin Sports is revolutionizing the sporting goods industry by creating high-performance, sustainable sporting goods for better play and a better planet. Presented by Hughes Davis, MSE ‘20.
Typical Dearborn is a multi-media platform that holds the mic to Arab and/or Muslim youth (ages 13-21) from Dearborn as they challenge the national narrative on Arabs/Muslims and discuss issues prevalent to our community. Rima Imad Fadlallah, MBA ‘20, will be pitching this venture.
Oshki turns plastic waste from the Great Lakes into sustainable and durable clothing. Presented by Jackson Riegler, BA Economics ‘22.
HBCU-DAP provides resources, mentorship, and support for HBCU students on their journey to a doctorate degree. Co-founded by Sierra Nance, PhD Molecular & Integrative Physiology ’22, Tony Larkin, PhD Neuroscience ’20, and Nnamdi Edokobi, PhD Pharmacology ’21.
EFSolo is reinventing the classic college party cup to have an emphasis on eco-friendliness. Founded by Steven Khakshouri, BBA ’22.
Wooden Carousel is a one-stop, multi-brand store that provides a full catalog of carefully vetted baby-related consumer goods that are plastic-free, chemical-free, waste-free and highquality made only from 100% bio-based, regenerative materials. Presented by Juan Turner, MBA ‘20.
HalalFin is providing Islamic Compliant Financial tools to a wider market through the use of financial technology. Safwaan Mir, MM ’20, Abrar Quazi, BSE Computer Science ’20, Mohammad Eddir, BSE Computer Science ’20, and Razeen Karim, BBA ‘20 are pitching this venture.
Thrive is a peer-to-peer lending platform disrupting the multi-billion dollar predatory payday loan industry plaguing individuals in rural areas through financial literacy education and a longer-term, lower-interest “Thrive Loan”, hence empowering them to become financially stable individuals by decreasing debt and building credit through a hand up rather than a handout process. Co-founded by Evan Lipchin, BBA ’22, Hursh Motwani, BBA ’22, Julia Averbuch, BBA/BSE ’23, Luke Cerone, BSE ’23, & Quinn Favret, BBA ‘22.
Lillian Augusta launched biodegradable hair that will revolutionize the $2.5 billion Black hair care industry, providing a sustainable solution to the low quality and detrimental synthetic hair products currently on the market. Co-founded by Jannice Newson, MS Conservation Ecology ’20, and Nana Britwum, MS Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology ’20.
Entrepreneurs, venture investors, and other business leaders serve as judges for the three tracks of the Michigan Business Challenge. These external experts will narrow the field of competitors by half, selecting twenty-five entrepreneurial teams to advance to Round II of the Michigan Business Challenge in January.
To learn more about the longest-running entrepreneurial competition at the University of Michigan visit the MBC webpage.