An engineering student developed the wound measurement technology. Four business students formulated the company. And now, after months of hard work, the five students who created tech start-up AidPro have won first place in The University of Texas at San Antonio’s $100,000 New Technology Venture Competition. The competition, organized by UTSA’s Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship (CITE), gave students the chance to try on entrepreneurial careers and network with some of the city’s most influential business leaders.
“Yesterday was amazing, if for nothing more than the contacts made,” said Mitchell Martin, the UTSA engineering student who designed the AidPro technology. “Winning the competition I am sure will have broad impacts on my search for graduate schools and my future entrepreneurial efforts. I am excited to see what we can do with AidPro. Last night was filled with congratulatory phone calls from my parent’s friends including CEO of AT&T, Randall Stephenson, several high ranking members of KCI, investment bankers and stock brokers. One of them started our conversation with ‘Mitchell Martin, what have you gotten yourself into?’ My guess referring to the entrepreneurial itch.”
Six student teams competed yesterday in UTSA’s $100,000 New Technology Venture Competition, the largest business planning competition in San Antonio. Among them were second place winner Phoenix Gaze, a company developed to improve motorcycle safety, and FSD1, a company offering a portable technology to extinguish fires. Other competitors included start-ups Aqua Sol Inc., which offers a water purification technology; Auto Cam360, which offers an automobile monitoring technology and Vor-Techs, which offers customized connections for drilling, mining and coring.
However, all eyes are now on AidPro, the winning company created by Martin and UTSA business students Irene Bernal, Angela Collins, Jeremy Joiner, and Travis Wilcox. The company offers a proprietary skin lesion measurement technology that rapidly quantifies skin injury data and converts the data into electronic medical records. The technology is expected to serve Electronic Medical Record companies by offering a wound measurement solution that allows clinicians to more accurately quantify the severity, size and depth of a wound, allowing for more accurate treatment and faster healing.
UTSA’s biannual $100,000 New Technology Venture Competition promotes student entrepreneurship by pairing engineering students who create viable new technologies with business students who create business plans to market those technologies through a viable start-up. It is sponsored by the Texas Research & Technology Foundation, Cox | Smith, the Harvard Business School Club of San Antonio, the San Antonio Technology Center, the San Antonio Technology Accelerator Initiative, the San Antonio Chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization and CITE.
UTSA’s CITE established the competition when some of its faculty observed that UTSA’s engineering students were developing new technologies and its business students were writing business plans, but neither group of students did anything with their effort beyond turning in their projects for a grade. With the competition in place, UTSA’s students are now developing marketable technologies and launching viable new companies based on those technologies, all before they graduate.
Vinicio Montes, a UTSA alum and founder of Nerd Energy Drink, has served as a judge for the past two tech competitions. “The Tech Competition offers a realistic experience that the students will encounter when they try to grow their business in the real world,” says Montes. “It offers excellent mentoring, and priceless experiences. The Tech Competition also brings in successful entrepreneurs that students can socialize with and attain advice from. I wish this opportunity was available to me when I attended UTSA in 2004. It would have definitely excelled my business tremendously and I would have avoided making expensive mistakes. Overall this program is great because it provides a portal for me to share my experiences and help current students that are looking to start and grow their business.”
Cory Hallam, director of CITE, agrees that the competition offers one-of-a-kind benefits. “This year’s competition was amazing,” said Hallam. “We had more than 120 people present, we had great sponsors and the enthusiasm in the room was unstoppable. We aimed to give our students the opportunity to try on entrepreneurial careers, and we accomplished that. I think we’ve given them a lot to think about.”
About UTSA’s Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship
The Center for Innovate and Technology Entrepreneurship (CITE) is an interdisciplinary center in UTSA’s College of Business and the College of Engineering. The center fosters the growth of entrepreneurs and new technology-based ventures through education, experiences, resources and support