Posts Tagged ‘Tulane Business Model Competition’

Tulane Business Model Competition announces finalists

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

A biomedical firm with a technology to regenerate damaged tissue, a medical device manufacturer that’s developed a fast, accurate test to diagnose diseases, and a recycling company that extracts rare earth elements from discarded electronic devices have been named as finalists in the 2015 Tulane Business Model Competition.

The three companies — D & P Bioinnovations, Disease Diagnostic Group and REEcycle — will vie for $35,000 in cash prizes in the competition’s final round, which will take place before a live audience at the A. B. Freeman School of Business on April 16.


Tympanogen’s Parastoo Khoshakhlagh makes her pitch at last year’s Tulane Business Model Competition. The finals of the 2015 competition will take place on Thursday, April 16, in Goldring/Woldenberg Hall II.

They reached the finals by edging out three other ventures in the competition’s semifinal round, which took place on March 23 at the Chicory as part of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.

“Participants were judged on the viability and sustainability of their business models and their models’ ability to create substantive intended outcomes,” said Sherif Ebrahim, professor of practice in strategy and innovation and director of entrepreneurship and innovation education at the Freeman School’s Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship, which coordinates the annual competition. “D&P, DDG and REEcycle demonstrated to judges that they had well-developed business models, which makes them very strong candidates for future success.”

“All our semifinalists did an outstanding job pitching their ventures to judges,” added Lina Alfieri Stern, director of operations with the institute. “I think it was clear to judges that the finalists had done a great job vetting their products and services and pivoting based on what the market told them.”

The 2015 Tulane Business Model Competition finalists and their host universities are as follows:

  • D & P Bioinnovations (Tulane University) D&P Bioinnovations is developing a bioresorbable implantable medical device to regenerate a damaged esophagus.
  • Disease Diagnostic Group (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)Disease Diagnostic Group (DDG) is a pre-revenue medical device company specializing in the development of rapid, accurate and inexpensive disease diagnostic tests.  The company’s flagship product is RAM (Rapid Assessment of Malaria).
  • REEcycle  (University of Houston)REEcycle sells reclaimed rare earth elements from magnets used inside electronics, such as hard drives, cell phones and audio speakers.

Serving as judges for the semifinal round were Robert Autenreith, CEO of Pride Marketing and Procurement Inc.; Millie Bradley, retired controller of Exxon Mobil Corp.; E. Pierce Marshall, president/CEO of Elevage Capital Management; Chris Papamichael, principal and co-founder of the Domain Cos.; and David Rieveschl, shareholder and corporate securities attorney with Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz. Aaron Miscenich, president and CEO of the New Orleans BioInnovation Center, served as master of ceremonies.

The final round of the 2015 Tulane Business Model Competition will take place in Goldring/Woldenberg Hall II on Thursday, April 16, at 2 p.m., with the winner to be announced later that evening at the Tulane Council of Entrepreneurs Awards Gala. The competition is free and open to the public; the gala is by invitation only. For more information about the Tulane Business Model Competition, contact Lina Alfieri Stern at 504-865-5455 or


Three finalists announced for 2014 Tulane Business Model Competition

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Judges of the Tulane Business Model Competition’s semifinals round emerged from an upstairs room in New Orleans’ historic Gallier Hall on Tuesday (March 25) with three named finalists: Tympanogen offers a new treatment to replace surgery for chronic tympanic membrane perforations or holes in the eardrum; InVision Biomedical offers a device designed to help alleviate common tracheostomy complications; and Million Dollar Scholar hopes to help educate high school students on how to fund their college educations.

 Tulane Business Model Competition finalist Ras Asan, chief operating officer of Million Dollar Scholar, presents to the judging panel at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. (Photo by Maggy Baccinelli)

Tulane Business Model Competition finalist Ras Asan, COO of Million Dollar Scholar, presents to judges at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. (Photo by Maggy Baccinelli)

These businesses were chosen from a diverse group of eight startups, including a latke cart and catering service, a sugar cane juice drink and a volunteer management service, all of which presented at the New Orleans Entrepreneur Week event.

Finalists won an additional $2,000 each and the chance to win $25,000 more at the closing event on April 11.

Of the winners, competition judge and president of Medline Industries Andy Mills said, “There is a great understanding that products that improve health care, either by lowering costs or eliminating pain through a less invasive procedure, will inherently succeed.”

He added, “There is also a great need for Million Dollar Scholar, which was a well established, buttoned-up group. They are selling a book, they’ve won awards, and they have a good web presence.”

Ras Asan, chief operating officer of Million Dollar Scholar, appreciated the judges’ support. “We’ve received a lot of good feedback on the services we provide, but having such an esteemed group of entrepreneurs validate what we are doing was really rewarding,” Asan said.

The judging panel included eight professional entrepreneurs representing a wide range of industries, and all are proud Tulane alumni.

“I really appreciated the opportunity to see what the students are doing,” Mills said. “It made me feel good about the future and all that is happening at Tulane.”

–Maggy Baccinelli

Tulane Business Model Competition announces semi-finalists

Friday, February 28th, 2014

The Tulane Entrepreneurs Association (TEA) has announced eight semi-finalists for the group’s newly revamped Tulane Business Model Competition.

The Tulane Business Model Competition will award $35,000 to startups with customer-tested business ideas.

The 2014 Tulane Business Model Competition will award $35,000 to startup ventures with consumer-tested business ideas.

After a 13-year-run, the contest was redesigned to better reward the practical aspects of what make startups successful – the ability to rapidly adapt to customers’ needs. It offers a $25,000 grand prize and $10,000 for the runner-up.

“From food carts and hospitality ventures to educational technology and biomedical devices, our eight finalists truly represent a cross-section of the New Orleans startup scene,” says Ralph Maurer, executive director of the Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship. “I’m looking forward to seeing how these talented young entrepreneurs hone their business models in preparation for the final competition on April 11.”

The semi-finalists are:

ComeFail, a space for college students to fail safely and a platform for supportive learning and exploration.

CCC, a venture that offers customized volunteer and hospitality experiences for customers so that they can easily enjoy, learn, and support New Orleans like never before.

Fleur de Latkes, a new food cart and catering business in uptown New Orleans that specializes in bringing a modern take on your “bubbe’s” Jewish cooking down to NOLA.

InVision Biomedical, a firm that takes existing innovative procedures and implements novel medical devices, expanding patient safety and hospital cost efficiency.

Million Dollar Scholar, an education technology and services venture that addresses higher education affordability by providing students with an online platform to learn how to become successful in the scholarship application process

Threadix, an event management and data analytics company utilizing the latest technological innovations in near field communication to allow advertisers and event organizers new methods to expand branding opportunities.

Tympanogen, a firm commercializing a gel patch developed at Tulane University, called Perf-Fix™, for non-surgical repair of chronic tympanic membrane perforations.

US Fresh Cane, a sugar cane drink company that provides consumers an alternate and natural drink that can improve their health and fitness levels.

Semi-finalists receive $1,000 each and get to pitch, receive mentoring and network with a variety of lean startup experts on Tuesday, March 25, during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, the sixth annual premier showcase event for the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. Ultimately, three finalists will present their business models at Tulane University on Friday, April 11, 2014.

Tulane is now taking after the International Business Model Competition, a contest that wants ventures to prove customer validation and adapt to the process of creating a business model. Instead of intensive library research, student entrepreneurs will get out in the field and prove their assumptions.

TEA President Adrian Mendez believes the competition provides a deeper learning opportunity and a more guided process for those interested in launching and running a company. “Essentially what we’re doing is creating an evolution of what has been established at Tulane, allowing for students to quickly prototype and execute ideas instead of just participating in a one time pitch.”

“The competition has always been a flagship event that supports local–now regional– entrepreneurs and programs,” Mendez says. “As the program grows, we hope to continue to motivate and inspire students to be on the forefront of entrepreneurial activity with the resources we provide.”

Follow the Tulane Business Model Competition on Facebook at and on Twitter at


TEA offers more than $35K in revamped business venture contest

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

After hosting one of the region’s premiere college business plan competitions for 14 years, the Tulane Entrepreneurs Association (TEA) has completely redesigned the contest to better reward the practical aspects of what make startups successful – the ability to rapidly adapt to customers’ needs.


The 2014 Tulane Business Model Competition will award more than $35,000 in prizes to new business ventures demonstrating a customer-validated business model.

Instead of rewarding the theoretical, the new contest wants ventures to show they’ve worked with potential customers to vet their services, adapted to those needs and shown the ability to quickly change course if the market disproves their assumptions. The new Tulane Business Model Competition offers a $25,000 grand prize and a $10,000 award for runner-up.

“In this contest, sleek presentations are not going to cut it,” said Ralph Maurer, executive director of the Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship at Tulane University’s A.B. Freeman School of Business. “Participants won’t be rewarded for overly ambitious sales projections, drawing fancy graphs or crafting the perfect pitch to venture capitalists.”

Instead the contest rewards teams for breaking down their idea into a key business model hypotheses; testing their assumptions with customers; applying Customer Development/Lean Startup principles to make sure they nail the solution; and learning to pivot until they have a customer-validated business model.

The contest is open to any team led by at least two or more students enrolled in a college or university. To enter, teams must submit a video presentation – normally a voice annotated slide deck no longer than 10 minutes – online by 11:59, Feb 14. More details on submission criteria are available at: .

“Entering the first round of the competition doesn’t require a significant time investment, and it’s a worthwhile exercise for anyone working on a startup,” Maurer said.

TEA will select eight semi-finalists who will win $1,000 each and get to pitch, receive mentoring and network with a variety of lean startup experts on Tuesday, March 25, in New Orleans. Ultimately, three finalists will present their business models at Tulane University on Friday, April 11, 2014.

- Keith Brannon

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