The Results Are In: These Are the Most Innovative Startups Launched by U-M Students This Year

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year––and we’re not talking about the holidays. It’s the annual Michigan Business Challenge, during which students vie for cash rewards for their unique startups in the largest business plan competition at the University of Michigan.

This year, more than 100 students participated in the first round of the challenge, which is sponsored by the Zell Lurie Institute. The multi-round competition gives teams the chance to win cash prizes totaling more than $100,000, hear invaluable feedback from leaders in the business community, and expand their business network.

The businesses remaining in the competition span a variety of industries and products, but they all have one thing in common: They’re being developed by the Leaders and Best.

Round two of the MBC will take place Feb. 8, 2019.

ACQUA E ROSA
Mariam Jalloul (MBA/MPH ’19)

Acqua e Rosa is a Detroit-based luxury floral design brand specializing in one-of-a-kind, timeless, and elegant floral arrangements using signature acrylic boxes.

Bschool Travel
Dale Jarosz (MBA '19), Dhruv Dhawan (MBA '19)

Bschool Travel is a tech-enabled travel outfitter improving the end-to-end experience for MBA student travel.

CheckMate
Greg Paczkowski (MD, MBA ’20), Prateek Khare (MBA ’20), Ryan Smith (MBA ’20)

CheckMate is an app-based personal health service platform focusing on mobile STD testing and treatment.

Dough
Catalina Kaiyoorawongs (MBA/MA ’19), Huyen Phan (MSI ’19)

Dough is a digital student loan advisor that makes personalized borrowing and repayment recommendations, aimed at lowering debt burden and default rates.

Eastern Bazaar
Farah Ahmed (MBA ‘20)

Eastern Bazaar is designing chic decorations and stationery to help Muslim families celebrate holidays and other life events throughout the year.

FMB Technologies
Anil Tolwani (BS '22)

FMB Technologies is a systems services company developing a device to help researchers obtain more rigorous and quantitative data from laboratory animal studies using sensor technology.

Graduates Unbound
Matt Stelmach (MBA '19)  
 

Graduates Unbound is making student loan refinance achievable sooner for millions of responsible college graduates burdened by expensive private undergraduate debt.

Holly Keith Lingerie
Holly Meyers (MBA ’19)

Holly Keith Lingerie is a luxury lingerie brand focused on providing high-quality lingerie to larger chested women and fitting more women correctly through an innovative sizing system.

LineLeap
Patrick Skelly (BS ‘19) and Nick Becker (BBA ‘20)

LineLeap is a platform where customers can purchase skip-the-line passes, event tickets, and pre-ordered drinks at more than 35 nightlife venues across the country.

MONTA
Gabrielle de Coster (BBA ’20)

MONTA is a natural skincare and aromatherapy company inspired by the landscapes we call home. Available internationally online and through brick-and-mortar stores, each product relays the essence of a specific landscape into a tangible product and scent.

Nochi
Natalie Fang (MBA '20)

Nochi is a studio creating educational games in the form of young adult, romance visual novel entertainment.

Plaque-Buster
Robert Chisena (Ph.D. '19), Matthew Hildner (Ph.D. '20)   

Plaque-Buster is a patent-pending medical device developed at the University of Michigan to improve the treatment of calcified, atherosclerotic plaques in cardiovascular peripheral arteries.

ROOTCRAFT
Steffan Bankier (MBA '19), Melissa Robinson (MPH '19)  

Rootcraft is a plant-based performance brand that is developing a line of ready-to-eat, functional, plant-based meals for active plant-eaters.

Simulation Systems
Kyle Koshiyama (BBA 19)

Simulation Systems leverages proprietary supervised machine learning simulation algorithm, along with flexible data pipelines, in order to allow companies to best utilize their data and integrate onto the blockchain.

SkyGig
Avish Kosari (PhD ’19)  

SkyGig is developing high performance wireless transceiver radios with higher communication speeds for the next generation of multi-gigabit applications. Their disruptive technology enables delivering fast internet services to millions of unconnected users.

SubQ Assist  
Vinayak Gokhale, MD (MBA ‘19)  

SubQ Assist is a task-shifting device that facilitates the consistent and accurate administration of subcutaneous contraceptive implants, thereby minimizing the likelihood of complications during removal and allowing minimally-trained healthcare workers to provide safe access in rural areas.

UpNext
Raymond Sukanto (BBA/BSc Comp Sci ‘20), Daniel Kaper (BSc Comp Sci ‘20), Victor Mahdavi (BBA ‘20)

UpNext is a mobile app that enables everyone in a location to have a say in the music playing by adding whatever songs they want or vote on the next song playing.

 

THE SEIGLE IMPACT TRACK

Presented by the Zell Lurie Institute, the Center for Social Impact, and the Erb Institute, eight teams in a special Impact Track of the challenge also advanced to the finals. The social ventures competing in this track include:

BLIP
Gautham Ravi (BS CS '20), Keny Patel (BBA '20), Parth Dhyani (BSE '22), Emily Cho (BSE '21), Savannah Ahluwalia (BBA '22), Nisha Patel (BBA '20)

BLIP aims to reduce the amount of time and effort women in rural Gujarat, India spend to collect potable water, alleviating pain and reducing time poverty.

Dear Black Women
Florence Noel (MBA/MSI ’19)

Dear Black Women is an affirmation movement and network, offline and online, that grows the social capital of Black women.

Dough
Catalina Kaiyoorawongs (MBA/MA ’19), Huyen Phan (MSI ’19)

Dough is a digital student loan advisor that makes personalized borrowing and repayment recommendations, aimed at lowering debt burden and default rates.

NeoHealth
Sujai Arakali (BS/MSE '21), Derrell Chapman (BS '19)

NeoHealth provides uses a cellphone’s flashlight to provide detection of counterfeit antimalarials in developing countries.

Peerstachio
Scarlett Ong Rui Chern (BBA ’19), Cristian Guillen (BS '19), Huyen Phan (MSI ’19), Patrick Chong Jin Hua (BSE '20)

Peerstachio is a peer-to-peer learning community platform that helps students improve their grades by connecting underclassmen with trusted upperclassmen, getting them the academic help they need in a responsive way.

Practical Prosthetics
Harrison Price (BSE ’21), Joseph Schuman (BS ’21), Ethan Russo (BBA ’21)
 

Practical Prosthetics is developing 3D printed functional prosthetics built with reliable technology to provide an affordable and accessible alternative to the current solutions.

SubQ Assist
Vinayak Gokhale (
MBA'19)

SubQ Assist is a task-shifting device that facilitates the consistent and accurate administration of subcutaneous contraceptive implants, thereby minimizing the likelihood of complications during removal and allowing minimally-trained healthcare workers to provide safe access in rural areas.

ValCycle
Joseph Lacy (BA ’19), Ethan Lacy (BBA/BSE ’21)

ValCycle is an end-to-end reverse logistics platform connecting overstocked retailers to community organizations.

Learn more about the Michigan Business Challenge