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Posted: Mar 26, 2012
Wake Forest University entrepreneurs win the Grand Prize in the Elevator Competition
(Nanowerk News) A company that developed a monitoring device to reduce back pain and promote good posture just received a $10,000 boost for winning the grand prize in the 13th Annual Elevator Competition hosted by Wake Forest University Schools of Business.
Orthovative Technologies was founded by David Smitherman, a student in the MBA program for working professionals at Wake Forest University Schools of Business, and Tadhg O'Gara, a Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon and Assistant Professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Their OrthoCorrect Patch monitors patient posture and provides auditory and vibratory corrective feedback to strengthen back muscles and eliminate back pain.
"This is one step toward meeting our financing goal. We need to do more research and want to fund a full-time researcher at the Wake Forest Center for Nanotechnology," said Smitherman. "We have received tremendous support and advice from business professors at Wake Forest University including Stan Mandel, Mike Lord and Len Preslar, and the director of the Nanotechnology Center, Dr. David Carroll."
In addition to the $10,000 Elevator Competition prize, Orthovative Technologies received automatic entry into the Venture Labs Investment Competition and can qualify for up to a $500,000 investment from the Piedmont Angel Network.
Elevator Competition teams made two-minute elevator pitches while riding in an actual elevator at the BB&T Financial Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. Teams who impressed the judges advanced to a boardroom round in which they had 20 minutes to present a more detailed business plan to a panel of venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and Elevator Competition sponsors.
FlexLeg, from Brigham Young University, won second place ($2,500) in the Traditional track and Archon Medical Technologies from Johns Hopkins University finished third ($1,500).
In the Social Entrepreneur track, Matt Edmunson and Jennifer Tsai from New York University Stern School of Business earned first place and a $5,000 prize to invest into their company, Nutraceutical Market Solutions, that identifies nutrition and health gaps in global populations and develops high-quality, culturally appropriate products to reduce the burden of disease. They will also advance to the final screening round of the Echoing Green Foundation's business plan competition.
YardSprout, from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, won the second place prize of $1,500 in the Social Entrepreneur Track, and Innovostics from Johns Hopkins University was third ($1,000).
FlexLeg from Brigham Young University also took home the $1,000 Fan Favorite prize by garnering the most votes on ElevatorCompetitionLive.com. Throughout the weekend, a core of Wake Forest business students reported on Elevator Competition events by posting blogs, photos and videos to ElevatorCompetitionLive.com. The website had more than 18,000 unique visitors over a 24-hour time period.
The Elevator Competition is a student-run event organized and produced by 2nd MBA year co-chairs Julie Almendral, Andrew Akers, and Daniel Van Der Merwe. They were supported by steering committee members Guy Groff, Ellen Hart, Gabriela Scarritt, Cooper Warren and Jordan Wesley and a team of more than 35 MBA and Master of Arts in Management (MA) student volunteers. The faculty advisor is Elevator Competition co-founder Stan Mandel, Professor of Practice at Wake Forest University Schools of Business and Director of the Angell Center for Entrepreneurship.
During the awards ceremony, Mandel told attendees, "It is absolutely incredible to see the ingenious creativity that goes on in the world. You represent the best that I have seen."
Sponsors include: Altria, BB&T, BB&T Capital Markets, Bridgetree, Broyhill Family Foundation, Doug Shouse Marketing, North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Piedmont Angel Network, Sold Space, Travois, Truliant Federal Credit Union, Vino Del Sol, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC, Wake Forest University Schools of Business Net Impact Chapter, Wake Forest University Entrepreneurship Club and the Wake Forest University Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship.