Audiallo, a semiconductor company aiming to improve the listening experience for users of hearing aids and consumer electronics, won first place ($10,000) on February 20 in ninth annual Georgia Tech Business Plan Competition.
The formal awards presentation will follow Georgia Tech's IMPACT Speaker Series event at 4:30 PM on Wednesday, February 25 in LeCraw Auditorium. Following the IMPACT lecture featuring Christopher Klaus, CEO and founder of Kaneva, a reception for competition participants and guests will be held in the atrium of the College of Management building (800 West Peachtree Street). The event is free and open to the public.
Participation in the annual Business Plan Competition is open to all Georgia Tech students and alumni who've graduated within the last five years. Intended both to educate and facilitate startups, the competition often leads to the creation of real technology-based businesses.
Members of the winning Audiallo team include Brian Degnan, an electrical engineering PhD student at Georgia Tech, and Aaron Nelson, an MBA student at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. Their company leverages an understanding of how the human auditory system processes sound to create biologically inspired audio-processing integrated circuits for the hearing aid and consumer electronics markets.
Second-place Team Deemed Most Fundable
Second place ($3,000) in the Business Plan Competition went to Syzygy for its plan to market shape-memory plastics that are capable of perfectly adapting to fit into a customer's ears. This technology creates a personalized fit for earphones, wireless Bluetooth devices, and hearing aids, alleviating the common comfort problems associated with these devices.
Syzygy also won the Most Fundable Award (a service package worth $35,000 in legal, financial, and other services), which goes to the team deemed by judges to be most ready to enter the marketplace. This team's members include Georgia Tech MBA student Brent Duncan, Georgia Tech mechanical and systems engineering PhD student Walter Voit, and Emory law students Justin Helsby and Rob MacKenna.
The Syzgy team participates in the Technological Innovation: Generating Economic Results (TI:GER®) program, a collaboration between Georgia Tech and Emory Law School that is nationally recognized for its success at developing the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Third-place Winner Targeting Sports Market
The third-place award ($2,000) in the overall competition went to FansWantMore, a telemetry data collection service provider that plans to introduce innovative, real-time sports viewing experiences and alternative access to games. The company's services will enable major sports leagues to capture additional revenue through a range of digital channels.
The FansWantMore team includes Cliff Archibald, Jim Doeden, and Steve Gieseking, who are all graduates of Georgia Tech's Executive MBA in Management of Technology program; Ryan Dawe, who holds a BS in computer science from Tech; and Chris Gibbons.
Teams Competed for More than $70,000 Total
All together, the 2009 Business Plan Competition awarded more than $70,000 in cash and services to participants. Of 18 teams that made it to the semi-finals, six advanced to the final found held February 20.
Noted entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, scholars, and technology industry leaders judged the various award categories.
Sponsors of the 2009 competition included Georgia Tech College of Management, GreenGuard Environmental Institute, Georgia Tech's Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship, InterfaceFLOR, and MaRC Sustainable Design & Manufacturing.
Team service providers included Hi Tech Partners, HLB Gross Collins PC, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, Adams Capital, Bondurant Mixon & Elmore LLP, PaloAlto Software, and Fish & Richardson PC.