By KC Gonzalez
Public Affairs Specialist
Claresta Solutions, a team of six business and engineering students, triumphed at the $100,000 Student Technology Venture Competition presented by The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship (CITE). The UTSA students developed a prototype electronic labor monitoring system and wrote a business plan to market the technology.
UTSA competitors In Line Innovations and INI Technologyrespectively placed second and third in the business planning competition Saturday, Dec. 7 at the UTSA Main Campus. The top three winning teams receive a cash prize and in-kind business services such as marketing, consulting and office space totaling $100,000 to support the launch of their new companies.
Claresta Solutions offers the LaborGuard Monitoring System, which uses wireless technology to capture and track the electronic impulses created by the fetal heart rate and uterine contractions during labor. Capitalizing on advances in data processing capabilities paired with Bluetooth technology, the LaborGuard system was designed as a completely electronic solution. Claresta Solutions includes undergraduate business majors Somer Baburek, Margaret Mayfield, Servando Quinonesand Alejandro Sosa, undergraduate engineering major Nolan Manteufel and biomedical engineering Ph.D. candidate Steven Solis.
“Winning felt really great! I know all of the teams worked very hard on their projects, and it really kept us on our toes,” said team leader and mother Somer Baburek. “I would love to be able to wear a LaborGuard the next time I have a baby. I believe that this product can offer so much in the way of efficiency and comfort in the hospital setting. It has the potential to offer peace of mind to expectant mothers and diagnostic power to their physicians.”
Each competing team received guidance from an experienced professional within the San Antonio technology business community. Ian Clements, managing partner at Targeted Technology Fund II and CEO of ViroXis Corporation, mentored Claresta Solutions.
“The Claresta Solutions team has the passion, commitment and work ethic to make a difference with LaborGuard,” said Clements. “The team was willing to listen, improve and take action. I have recommended that Claresta and LaborGuard continue to the next step in getting seed funding and full proof of concept. The future prospects look exciting.”
In all, six teams entered this semester’s competition. The additional teams included:
- Mind Controlled Wheelchair, which uses a wireless electroencephalography headset to control the use of a wheelchair. Student team includes Graham Cull, Tanner Daniel, Yousef Failakaw, Analysa Gonzales, Nathan Gonzalez, Daniella Lerma and Carel Long.
- In Line Innovations, which offers a way to locate water pockets within an oil and gas pipeline in order to prevent undesirable corrosive effects caused by acid buildup in the water pockets. Student team includes Samantha Block, Cassie Constanzo, Nick Goodwin, Robert Hampton, Kasi Holifield, Zachary Moses, Raquel Stark and Nick Taylor.
- INI Technology, which offers a hand-held mechanical surgical instrument devised to remove all or part of the uterus of a patient during a hysterectomy procedure. Student team includes Cellan Caverte, Ryan Garcia, Josue I. Cruz-Lambert, Anne Margaret, Adolfo Mijares, Pablo Pardo, Rani Putri and Ta’Mara Williams.
- Trench Winch, a towable trenching device that attaches behind a riding lawnmower. Student team includes Clark Carpenter, Frank Duran, Efrem Holley, Garth Morrison, Eduardo Rivera, Kevin Schielack and Johnathan Vela.
- U-Cane, a device that enhances the function of the white cane used by a blind person by using ultrasonic waves to increase the detection of obstacles, particularly eye-level obstructions. Student team includes William Cochran, Moses Duggirala, Leonardo Espinoza, Ana Munoz, Cliff Paul and Ryan Waugh.
Established in 2007 and held semi-annually, the $100K Student Technology Venture Competition at UTSA offers the largest award of all undergraduate business planning competitions in the nation. It offers UTSA’s undergraduate senior business and engineering students the opportunity to build a technology, patent it, create a business and launch it in a rigorous incubator program.
Since the competition’s inception, more than 650 students have participated, more than 90 company ideas have been pitched and a dozen patent applications have been filed.
Financed by the Texas Research & Technology Foundation, the competition also receives support from Cox|Smith, the San Antonio Technology Center, Rackspace, the Whittington Group, the UTSA College of Business, the UTSA College of Engineering and the UTSA Office of the Vice President for Research.