2 URI Start-Ups are semi-finalists in the 2016 Rhode Island Business Plan Competition.  Cycle-Sensing founder Dr. Mindy Levine and EchoWear founder Nicholas Constant will now compete for prizes valued at over $200,000.  Winners to be announced May 3 during a ceremony at the Chace Center/Rhode Island School of Design.  See full article below:


RI Business PlanCompetition

PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Business Plan Competition has named 14 semi-finalists in the 2016 competition from among 79 applicants.

Consumer safety, medication management, pain treatment, research management, manufacturing processing and solar cell development are a few of the areas the proposed businesses are focusing on, according to information from the competition, which is in its 13th year.

The semi-finalists will compete for prizes valued at more than $200,000. Winners will be announced May 3 during a ceremony at the Chace Center/Rhode Island School of Design Museum.

“We had an impressive group of applicants this year, and we strongly encourage those who were not chosen as semi-finalists to continue developing their business ideas, as persistence is often a key element of success,” Peggy Farrell, competition co-chair, said in a statement.

Semi-finalists in the entrepreneur track are:

  • Cyclo-Sensing: Developing a consumer product that will detect the presence of Bisphenol A (BPA), a toxic chemical found in plastics and can liners in food and water. Principal applicant: Mindy Levine, South Kingstown.
  • Echowear: Developing a cloud-based system that analyzes patients’ speech recorded from supported devices outside the clinical environment. Principal applicant: Nicholas Constant, West Warwick.
  • Farmer Willie’s: Developing a gluten-free, craft beer that serves the niche ginger beer market. Principal applicant: Nicolas Enriquez, Newton, Mass.
  • Neurocurious: Developing a computer vision algorithm to automate collection of rodent behavior data, aimed at reducing costs related to this significant component of pharmaceutical R&D. Principal applicant: Kurt Spindler, Providence.
  • Neurotecnix: Proposed a electroencephalography system for non-invasive recording of brain activity with software, which objectively measures and localizes pain. Principal applicant: Adam Nitenson, Providence.
  • Response Technologies: Developing a manufacturing process that makes fuel tanks explosion resistant while reducing weight and lowering production costs. Principal applicant: Ed Bard, Cumberland.
  • Vitae Industries: Developing a process, using 3D-printing techniques, that will allow pharmacies to make custom-dose oral medications in minutes. Principal applicant: Jeanine Sinanan-Singh, Providence.
  • XactSense: Created a drone-based hardware-software system to survey and inspect hard-to-reach infrastructure components at significantly lower cost and time than traditional methods permit. Principal applicant: Andy Trench, Warwick.

Semi-finalists on the student track are:

  • Empower: Developing a software application that enables users to hire the most appropriate virtual assistants for their tasks. Principal applicant: Cliff Weitzman, Brown University
  • Empower Photovoltaic: Developing a solar cell with photovoltaic efficiencies comparable to silicon-based solar cells, but which will be sold at potentially reduced cost. Principal applicant: Patrick Zhou, Brown University
  • PICCPerfect: Developed a functional accessory that enables chronically ill patients to manage peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) lines to avoid dislodging lines and preventing irritation or infection. Principal applicant: Emily Levy, Babson College.
  • Technologies Against Assault: Developing sexual assault kits used by examination providers and forensic labs, and creating additional technologies to aid publicly funded forensic labs. Principal applicant: Richard Park, Brown University
  • Vinespect: Developing a handheld optical tester that instantaneously and nondestructively determines sugar, pH and acidity of on-vine grapes, allowing viticulturists to make more frequent field measurements. Principal applicant: Richard McDonald, Brown University
  • Xperii: Developing a software product that simplifies and shortens time needed to recruit research subjects by automatically pairing individuals with appropriate studies. Principal applicant: Evan Ehrenberg, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Finalists will be selected later this month. To be eligible to win prizes, applicants agreed to establish or continue business operations in Rhode Island.

Lead sponsors of the 2016 competition are Bryant University; Focus Vision Media; Hinckley Allen & Snyder LLP; Kahn, Litwin, Renza & Co. Ltd.; Locke Lord LLP; Pure Haven Essentials; and the Providence Journal Charitable Legacy Fund.


This article originally published by the Providence Business News.