Michigan Business Challenge Spotlight – Digital Face

Shannon Beeman
February 12, 2016

The Zell Lurie Institute’s campus wide business plan competition, the Michigan Business Challenge (MBC), is only eight days away!  For the next eight days, ZLI will highlight one of the eight Semi-Finalist teams hoping to take home the top prize.

MBC Semi-Finalist Team

Digital Face – Ivan Chicchon (MS ’16)

How did you determine your team name?

We use our technology to help rebuild the faces of those who have suffered through the horrifying experience of losing a part of their face due to cancer or physical trauma. Our process centers around scanning the patient’s face, Digital Face seemed to be a fitting name.

Briefly describe your business concept. 

Clinicians can use our application to more easily design and fabricate prosthetic devices for their patients.

What inspired you to launch this venture?  

I have always been amazed by the work of those dentists who are able to rehabilitate people with missing eyes, ears, and noses. It just seemed like such an incredible service to provide to someone, to give them back their face. During my training, when I learned how this was done, I immediately saw that new workflows and technology could make life easier for the patient and clinician alike.

What do you hope to accomplish?

There are people all over the world who never get prosthetic rehabilitation because of the cost or they’d have to fly to another state to be treated. I hope that this product helps make treatment more accessible to patients. I hope this helps them get their faces back.

How has the MBC experience helped transform your business strategy?

Participating in the MBC has been an incredible experience. As we progressed through the MBC, our idea evolved from just one product in a niche market to a mobile app that offers a suite of product and services to a range of providers.

What do you think will be the long-term impact of the implementation of this idea?

Being a clinician, I know that this is an extremely useful application of technology. It can save a lot of time and money for the patient and clinician. If we can raise the funds necessary, we can make this system widely used and adopted.

What has been your biggest takeaway from this experience?

It’s been a balancing act between working in my residency, private practice, and this venture – it’s also the most fun I’ve had “working” in a long time. More importantly, I’ve learned that my wife is even more incredible than I imagined, to support a crazy guy like me!

If you win, what will you do immediately following the competition?

I think I would be jinxing myself by answering this question, but I will probably have a drink with my team and my wife – before getting back to work.

Final thoughts?

David Huynh and Tomas Medina are incredibly talented people, I couldn’t do this without them. I’ve been lucky have as a mentor and friend, Dr. Jeffrey Rodney, a brilliant maxillofacial prosthodontist. Finally, Shawn O’Grady from the U of M 3D print lab has been a fantastic resource.

Michigan Business Challenge Zell Lurie Institute University of Michigan Ross

Learn more about these great student startups by attending the Michigan Business Challenge Showcase and Finals on February 19. Route for your favorite team during the MBC final presentations at 3p.m., mingle with local entrepreneurs during the showcase at 5p.m., then stay to cheer on the winners as they accept cash award prizes totaling up to $85,000!