UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge:
Rady Student Takes Top Honor
On June 6, 2012, over 300 students, faculty, investors, professionals and entrepreneurs gathered on the UC San Diego campus to see seven teams pitch their ventures to an expert panel in the UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge 6th Annual $100k Business Plan Competition. Rady School of Management student Sean Madanipour and his team from Nasseo Inc. won first place and $57,000 in cash and services for their innovative business plan.
A medical device startup that has developed novel technologies to treat dental/orthopedic implant failures, Nasseo's first product is a dental implant that utilizes a proprietary surface modification technology that provides a bone-to-implant bond that is nine times stronger than current bonding methods. The technology was primarily developed in the lab of Dr. Sungho Jin, chair of the materials science program at UCSD.
In addition to Rady MBA student Sean Madanipour, Nasseo's strong interdisciplinary team includes Garrett Cale Smith, a Ph.D. candidate in bioengineering at UC San Diego, Kayvon Pourmirzaie, a UC San Diego bioengineering and USD School of Law graduate, Gary Johnston, a UC San Diego Ph.D. candidate in materials science, and Handan Yildiran, an M.S. candidate in biobusiness at Danmarks Tekniske Universitet.
Madanipour credited his Rady School experience with his contribution to Nasseo's success. "A lot of things I applied came from the first year of the Lab to Market program. It's promising to see the direct effect of the knowledge I gained here at Rady. One challenge is to take the technology we develop from UC San Diego to the market - that's where Rady comes in." The evening celebrated student-driven entrepreneurship and featured a keynote by futurist Dr. David Brin discussing multiple visions of the future and of student entrepreneurs vying to turn those visions into reality. The evening also featured an alumni montage by Dr. Rajesh Grover (VP Corporate Relations) and Helen Saad (COO), honoring the journey of six San Diego based start-ups including NeuroVigil, Biological Dynamics, Cognionics, Cypher Genomics, Lumedyne Technologies and The Nicholas Conor Cancer Institute, all of which started their successful journeys by winning the Entrepreneur Challenge competition. The UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge is a wholly student-founded non-profit organization aimed at connecting and funding aspiring student entrepreneurs at UCSD and neighboring research institutes. In the six years since its creation, the Entrepreneur Challenge has raised and awarded over $500,000 in prizes to enterprising students and researchers. Many of these startups have continued to grow and raise significant venture funding.
The Entrepreneur Challenge comprises three business competitions throughout the year: the fall Elevator Pitch Competition, the winter Executive Summary Competition (also won by Nasseo, Inc.) and the spring $100K Business Plan Competition. The challenges are designed to follow the thought process of an entrepreneur from concept to implementation, and are independent of each other.