NanDio, a team of students
from the University of Notre Dame, took first place in the 2014 Brown-Forman Cardinal Challenge held February 14-15 by the University of Louisville College
The team was honored for its business
plan to commercialize an oral cancer detection device for dentists. All teams were judged on their written plan, the
poise and professionalism of their presentation, and the viability of their
venture. The NanDio device’s simplicity of use, speed of test results and
accuracy of the test as an early detector gave the team the winning edge.
Mimicking the real-world
process of developing and growing new commercial ventures, including raising
venture capital, students in the Cardinal Challenge developed business plans
based on their own ideas and technologies or on those developed by others. The
NanDio team consisted of graduate students Ben Miller, a Notre Dame MBA student
in the Mendoza College of Business; Patrick Rice, a student in the Engineering,
Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Excellence Masters program; Marcy
Kreimier, who is pursuing her master’s in patent law at Notre Dame; and Daniel
Miller, a Ph.D. and M.D. candidate of the University of Missouri; and faculty
adviser Gaylene Anderson, senior commercialization officer at the Cleveland
Clinic. Patrick Riley, also a Notre Dame MBA student, and Ryan Huhn, an ND
undergrad, contributed to the NanDio business plan as well.
NanDio team members focused
their efforts on biomarkers and a novel membrane sensor technology developed at
the nearby Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend by Miller and M.
Sharon Stack, the Ann F. Dunne and Elizabeth Riley Director of the Mike and
Josie Harper Cancer Research Institute and professor of chemistry and
biochemistry at Notre Dame.
Each Cardinal Challenge team was
required to prepare an executive summary and present a 15-minute pitch describing
the nature of the technology and potential of its proposal. This was followed
by a 15-minute question-and-answer session during which the judges — more than
25 successful venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and business leaders — quizzed
team members about their presentation. Twelve of the 13 invited teams braved
the wintery weather to compete.
As the winner, NanDio
received $15,000; an invitation to the 2014 Global Venture Lab Investment
Competition, which will be held May 1-3 in Austin, Texas; and a more
than $125,000 “Launch in Louisville” package, which requires the winning team
to locate and operate its business in Louisville within one year of receiving
the award as well as an advertising package, $25,000 design and technical
architecture services, logo development, a $10,000 cash economic incentive,
website development, office space for a year, and more.
Other participants included Local Libations from the
University of Texas at Austin (second place), A-76 Corrosion Inhibitors from
Rice University (third place), Movellus Circuits from the University of
Michigan (fourth place), Appro Therapeutics from the University of Louisville,
CYANO Pharmaceutical from the University of Oregon, the University of Arkansas’
Datavis, Don’t Be Skiddish from the University of Manitoba, the University of
Cincinnati’s Effuelent, FluidScreen from Yale University, Huntin’ Buddy from
Kennesaw State University and NuFortis from the
University of Illinois at Chicago.