University startup team wins Innovation Prize
Students at a local university are pursuing a patent after winning a statewide contest — and funds from Masco to commercialize their physical therapy device.
A small team of students from Grand Valley State University participated in the Michigan Collegiate Innovation Prize final pitch this month and won the $20,000 Masco Undergraduate Prize.
The GVSU team, or Team Fluition, went up against 16 teams from institutions across the state.
The panel of judges was made up of members of the academic and business communities and experienced entrepreneurs.
Team Fluition developed a device to help hospital patients move from a sitting position to a standing position.
The team is comprised of five GVSU students: product design and manufacturing engineering students Kathryn Christopher, Leah Bauer and Andrew VanDyke, as well as business students Brittany Taylor and Briauna Taylor.
Team Fluition met with Spectrum Health physical therapists who expressed a need for a product to help their patients.
The device is designed to allow easy patient loading at critical care centers.
Team Fluition plans to pursue patenting their product and manufacturing several devices for testing at select hospitals, using the prize money from the competition.
The MCIP is a six-month program where students are paired with mentors to take an entrepreneurial idea to launch.
The competition began last September and included team interviews with MCIP staff, bi-weekly conference calls, pitch training and the final pitch competition.
The final projects were judged on multiple criteria: market need, potential and scalability, product definition, cost and revenue forecast, venture timeline, required capital investment and defensibility from competitors, according to the MCIP website.
The competition is hosted by Michigan I-Corps, or the Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan.