Biological science majors emerge as top winners of InNOLEvation Challenge
They vied against some stiff competition in the Shark Tank round of Florida State University’s InNOLEvation Challenge and faced tough questions by a panel of judges, but on April 13, High-Throughput Revolutions emerged as the first-place winner of the six-month business competition, and taking home $150,000 in cash and in-kind services.
The first-place winners and founders of High-Throughput Revolutions are biological science majors Nicholas Vafai and Aubrey Kusi-Appiah, both graduate students, and Sohai Merchant, a senior.
Shark Tank was the third and final round of the InNOLEvation Challenge — one of the nation’s largest collegiate business plan competitions — sponsored by the Florida State University College of Business and The Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship. Ten student business startups competed in the Shark Tank, culled from an initial 78 fledgling businesses that submitted business plans in October. The owners of the final 10 businesses made their pitches for funding before a panel of five judges from the investment community. The ranking of the teams was based on the judges’ willingness to invest in the company. Scores are based on the written business plan, an oral presentation and business viability.
High-Throughput Revolutions LLC’s business plan detailed its strategy to provide “LIMITtm” — LIposome Microarray Technology — to offer a cost-effective solution for high-throughput screening (HTS) during drug development. HTS’ founders say the market for HTS accounts for the largest share of the drug discovery market. “HTS technology has the potential to carry our tests at higher magnitudes in addition to being cost-effective, which is highly advantageous,” said Vafai. “In the future, we plan larger purchasing contracts with pharmaceutical companies, which will translate into steady and larger profit margins.”
The runners-ups included:
The other competing teams included:
It's an entrepreneurial feeding frenzy at Florida State – FSU Headlines radio story.