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My son, Theodore A. Lee’s medical device start-up, AssistENT, made it to the finals in the UC Davis Big Bang Business Plan Competition!!! AssistENT is developing a comfortable and discreet nasal dilator designed to facilitate breathing. The company was founded through a partnership between student engineers in the Center for Bioengineering Innovation & Design (CBID), and Dr. Patrick J. Byrne, the Dir. of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at Johns Hopkins.

The team has earned over $6,000 in grants & their device is patent pending. This Wed he will be flying to UC Davis for the final round of competition.

2017 Big Bang! Business Competition: Finalists Vie for up to $67,000 in Prizes

The five finalist teams in the 2017 UC Davis Big Bang! Business Competition will pitch their ventures this Thursday, May 25, at an awards ceremony at the Walter A. Buehler Alumni Center.

A record 70 teams representing 373 aspiring entrepreneurs participated in the 17th annual competition. The contest provides workshops, mentorship, financing guidance and networking opportunities to accelerate commercialization and advance the startup process, and is open to UC Davis students, faculty, researchers and staff as well as to the public.

Up to $67,000 in prizes is at stake, the largest pot in the competition’s history. The first prize award is $10,000 cash. The second place team will receive $5,000 in cash. Attendees at Thursday’s event will vote to select the $2,500 People’s Choice Award winner.

Another $49,500 in prizes will be awarded to top concepts addressing biomedical innovation, clean tech, global poverty alleviation, innovation in food and agriculture and more.

“We’re thrilled with both the the quality and the number of the teams this year,” said Cleveland Justis, executive director of the UC Davis Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which organizes and hosts the competition. “They represent the wide variety of talents on campus and in our region, as well as across the nation.”

The Big Bang! was open to the general public for this first time this year.

The Big Bang! has produced many teams that have become successful startups since the contest began in 2000.

“Big Bang continues to grow in impact and, with the addition of new sponsors and prizes this year, we’re seeing exciting ventures in ag/food innovation, biomedical devices and social enterprises.”

The five teams presenting at the ceremony are:
  • AssistENT: One in four people struggle with nasal breathing, indicating a narrowing or collapse of the nasal valve. These people experience daily discomfort, snore and struggle to exercise. This intranasal dilator facilitates nasal breathing discreetly and comfortably during the day and night. Watch video >

Team lead: Clayton Andrews, Product Development Lead; Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering, B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, 2017

  • AthleticOutlook: AthleticOutlook is a web-based  platform that connects athletes to vetted professionals with college coaching experience or better for evaluations, feedback and resources to improve.
    Team lead: Russell Reeder, Founder/CEO, B.S. Community and Regional Development, UC Davis, 2017
  • Chromatiscope: To improve scientific literacy, the Chromatiscope combines four specialized laboratory devices, each of which costs thousands of dollars, into a single, easy-to-use device that costs $40-70, providing students the experiences they need to excel.
    Watch video >
    Team lead: Lisa Illes, UC Davis College of Engineering, B.S. in Biosystems Engineering, 2019
  • Raydiant Oximetry Inc.: Raydiant Oximetry is a medical device company that has developed a low-cost, non-invasive fetal pulse oximeter that keeps mothers and babies safe during labor and delivery. The device is intended to reduce unnecessary c-sections that increase healthcare costs while adding health complications to millions of babies and mothers every year.
    Watch video >
    Team lead: Neil Ray, MD, UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento; Chief Medical Officer, Raydiant Oximetry Inc., Mountain View
  • Reach 1600 Foundation: Reach 1600 Foundation is a free, adaptive SAT prep program for students from underserved communities. Unlike other programs, Reach 1600 adapts its curriculum for students’ individual needs and fosters a mindset that empowers them to confidently pursue higher education. The startup has served 66 students from 16 schools since 2015, with an average score increase of 410 points.
    Team lead: Rosie Fan, Marketing Director; UC Berkeley, B.A. Business Administration, 2013
Keynote speaker:
  • Ejnar Knudsen,  founder and CEO, AGR Partners

“Sweet Spot: Finding the right time, the perfect place, the key resources for your company”

A reception begins at 4:30 p.m., with presentations and the awards ceremony from 6 to 8 p.m. The event is free, but reservations are requested. RSVP here >