Rady School students win entrepreneur awards


Rady School of Management students were involved with the teams that took first and second prize on June 2 at UCSD Entrepreneur Challenge.

Cognionics, a team of graduate business students from Rady and graduate science students from other schools at UCSD, won $25,000 cash and $15,000 in legal services for their business plan advancing a clinical-grade, wireless heart monitor that can be worn outside of a person’s clothes. In addition to winning first place, the team took home a $1,000 prize for being the audience favorite and a $2,000 prize for having the best high-tech and information-technology device.

Jacobs School of Engineering Ph.D. student Mike Chi developed the device and was the main architect of the team’s technical and business strategy. Rady students Silvia Mah, Ph.D.; Lydia Grypma, M.D.; Kabir Gambhir; Ali Esteghlalian, Ph.D.; and Xiluo Chen, Ph.D., helped Chi develop the business plan with adviser Michael Elconin.

The second-place winner, Halo Imaging, developed a business plan for a portable device that can be used by paramedics to scan a patients’ brain before the patient arrives at the hospital. The team of business students from Rady included Ang Shih, Byron Myers, Natalia O’Connor and Rohit Gupta. They won $10,000 cash and $10,000 in legal services. They also won $2,500 cash and $5,000 in legal services for a previous round of the competition for having the best executive summary and $2,000 for having the best biotech and life sciences business plan.

Team Interra Energy, led by Rady student Thomas Del Monte, J.D., also won $2,000 in the category of clean technology. Del Monte developed a business plan for a technology that converts biomass to energy and sequesters carbon in soil to improve soil quality. Rady students Amanda Esquivel, Amparo Ng, Anna Runyan, Eunice Martinez, Ian Foster, James Baggerly and Tony Principi are helping him advance the business in their Lab to Market class.

The challenge is held during the fall, winter and spring quarters. The competitions are designed to follow the process of an entrepreneur from concept to implementation, with teams developing an elevator pitch in the fall, an executive summary in the winter, and a business plan in the spring.