TechArb teams have a strong showing at 2018 Michigan Business Challenge

PedalCell, Canopy, FoodFinder, and Quirk were awarded nearly $40,000 in cash prizes to further their ventures at the Michigan Business Challenge (MBC).

These four teams are a part of the Winter 2018 cohort of the TechArb Student Venture Accelerator, a 16-week co-curricular program sponsored by Michigan Engineering’s Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE), the Ross School of Business Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, the University of Michigan Office of Research, and the Office of the Provost.

“These teams have put a huge amount of energy into their ventures over the past few months,” said Ryan Gourley, TechArb director and CFE assistant director of student ventures. “MBC was exciting from start to finish for the competitors, but also for their mentors watching their ventures develop and become more refined with each round. More importantly, it was validation for the students that the judges recognized and rewarded all their hard work.”

PedalCell, which creates bike-powered phone chargers, won the Seigle Impact Track which came with a cash prize of $15,000.

“MBC aligned with a lot of the milestones we needed to hit,” said Adam Hokin, co-founder of PedalCell. “TechArb helped us meet those milestones, challenging us to hone in on certain aspects that we hadn’t looked at in the past.”

This year’s TechArb winners include:

  • Canopy — a web application to assist families with end-of-life decisions — founded by Ann Duong (MHI ’18), Elisabeth Michel (MPH ’17) and Brandon Keelean (MDes ’18) placed second in the Seigle Impact Track, receiving $7,500, as well as second in the elevator pitch competition, receiving an additional $250.
  • FoodFinder — a non-profit aiming to connect online users with food assistance — founded by Jack Griffin (BBA ’19) placed third in the Seigle Impact Track, receiving $2,500, as well as first in the elevator pitch competition, receiving an additional $500.
  • Quirk — locally made drinking vinegars from fruit that would normally be discarded based on its appearance — founded by Kiley Judge (LSA ’17) and Rahul Agrawal Bejarano (CoE ’18) received Best Undergraduate Team Award for $5,000 and the Marketing Award for $2,500.
  • PedalCell — energy capture technology for smart enabled bicycles — founded by Adam Hokin (BBA ’19) and Anna Moreira Bianchi (MBA ’19), received the Grand Prize in the Seigle Impact Track receiving $15,000, as well as the Outstanding Presentation Award for $2,000.

“TechArb has been incredibly helpful,” added Kiley Judge, founder of Quirk. “The community of entrepreneurs, education, and training were critical to our success in the competition.”