Medical tech start-up AidPro sweeps UTSA new-business competition

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(Nov. 23, 2009)--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 UTSA's $100,000 New Technology Venture Competition. Organized by the UTSA Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship (CITE), the competition gave students the chance to try on entrepreneurial careers and network with some of the city's most influential business leaders.

CITE is an interdisciplinary center in the UTSA College of Business and College of Engineering, fostering the growth of entrepreneurs and new technology-based ventures.

"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 the CEO of AT&T, Randall Stephenson, several high-ranking members of KCI, investment bankers and stockbrokers. 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 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 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, Harvard Business School Club of San Antonio, San Antonio Technology Center, San Antonio Technology Accelerator Initiative, San Antonio Chapter of the Entrepreneurs' Organization and CITE.

CITE established the competition when some of its faculty observed that UTSA engineering students were developing new technologies and business students were writing business plans, but neither group of students did anything with their efforts beyond turning in their projects for a grade. With the competition in place, UTSA students now are developing marketable technologies and launching viable new companies based on those technologies, all before they graduate.

Vinicio Montes, UTSA alumnus 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," Montes said. "It offers excellent mentoring, and priceless experiences. The 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 accelerated 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, CITE director, agreed 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."

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About the competitors

First place

AidPro offers a proprietary skin lesion measurement technology that rapidly quantifies skin injury data and converts the data into electronic medical records. The student team includes Irene Bernal, Angela Collins, Jeremy Joiner, Mitchell Martin and Travis Wilcox.

Second place

Phoenix Gaze offers motorcycle safety systems design to decrease the number of traffic accidents caused by motorcycle blind spots. The product incorporates a wireless live video feed and ultrasonic sensors. The student team includes Rick Cuellar, Solomon Garcia, Stephanie Garza, Sal Haro, Stephen Ledesma, Robert Maxwell Theresa McFaul and Matthew Williams.

Third place

FSD1 offers a product that can be activated easily and tossed into a fire from a safe distance. Once activated, the product releases a chemical agent that breaks up the first tetrahedron by eliminating the fire's oxygen, fuel or heat. The student team includes Deborah Bailey, Luis Balderas, Aaron Cano, Angela Chiaro, Courtney Cummings, Ryan May, Samuel Noyola, Luis Sanchez and James Walker.

Additional competitors

Aqua Sol Inc. offers a solar-thermal water purification device designed to eliminate all contaminants found in dubious water sources. The AquaSol Purifier uses solar energy to distill water of questionable quality for drinking and cooking. The student team includes Gabriel Guerrero, Tony Dominguez, Wesley Dunn, Trang Thanh Nguyen, Brandon Ojeda, Claudia Romero, Shane Spencer, Stephen Steger and Frederick Ward.

Auto Cam360 offers video technology to capture accidents involving automobiles while drivers are away from their vehicles. The student team includes Remus Avram, Eddie de la Cruz, Eric Contreras, Christina Mondragon, Kristen Mora, Nguyen Nguyen, Erin Reger, Jonathan Rico and Charles Villarreal.

Vor-Techs offers customized connections for the drilling, mining and coring industries to protect their million dollar investments in equipment with new connector technology. The student team includes Monica Burns, Kayla Gutierrez, Monica Meneses and Rachel Tiemann.