The Chicago Innovation Exchange, in partnership with UChicagoTech and the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation held the University of Chicago’s Innovation Fund final presentations today, where four amazing companies competed for a share of the university’s $20 million Innovation Fund — up to $250,000 in proof-of-concept capital.

It was an exciting morning, full of buzz about the opportunities and ventures not just from the presenters, but by an audience full of alums, blooming fellow entrepreneurs, researchers, and supportive community members. The morning started off with a rousing keynote from Inc.’s Editor-In-Chief Eric Schurenberg, who drove home the basics of why he believes that businesses don’t have to choose between working toward a social good vs. maximizing profits. From there, Executive Director of the Chicago Innovation Exchange, John Flavin, kicked off the day and introduced the four finalists to begin their presentations in front of the Innovation Fund Advisory Committee, an esteemed group of judges made up of investors, serial entrepreneurs and industry experts from across the industry.

After an inspiring round of presentations, we came away with three amazing winners that are all now one step farther in their journey to commercialize their innovative discoveries and technologies. Congratulations to these amazing entrepreneurs!

BallotReady

BallotReady is an online voter guide to local, state, and national elections. They make it easy to vote informed in every race, in every election.  BallotReady is developing innovative and proprietary ways to source content, using automated content collection that will allow rapid expansion to elections nationwide. Over 64,000 voters researched their ballots last month leading up to the Illinois primary election. The team is led by Alex Niemczewski, CEO, Alumnus of The College, Aviva Rosman, COO, The University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, Graduate Student and Alumnus of the College.

Infrared Polymerase Chain Reaction

Formerly Nucleic Acid Detection, Infrared Polymerase Chain Reaction methods represent valuable and important tools for chemists, biologists, and medical scientists. Nucleic Acid Detection is developing cheap, highly mobile, and low energy methods for precise detection and rapid diagnosis of new contagions, potentially changing how crises, such as the recent Ebola and Zika outbreaks, would be contained. The team is led by Yossi Weizmann, Assistant Professor, The University of Chicago Physical Sciences Division,  and Postdoctoral Scholars Dr. Zoya Cheglakov and Dr. Jung-Hoon Lee.

Rzhetsky Language Science LLC

Rzhetsky Language Science is bringing to market the powerful “Text Filter” technology created by Andrey Rzhetsky at the University of Chicago. Text Filters are a sophisticated, mathematical representation of a significant body of text that captures the native relationships between words. The first product to use this technology is Articulate, a service that advises users on how to tune their writing to more accurately reflect their intentions and that helps them communicate with others more clearly. The team is led by Andrey Rzhetsky, Professor, University of Chicago Medicine, Schoeller Porter, Project Lead, and Nancy Harvey, UChicagoTech EIR.

Innovation Fund Finals was part of UChicago Innovation Fest, a three-week celebration of the University of Chicago’s entrepreneurial and innovative advances and solutions, kicks off May 12 and runs through June 2, with more than 35 sessions scheduled across the city and UChicago’s downtown and Hyde Park campuses. Join us to share big solutions to problems in Chicago and across the globe, find new collaborators, and rub shoulders with leaders in business, healthcare, tech, and social and environmental policy. Highlights of this year’s celebration include the 20th anniversary of the Polsky Center’s Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge, a behind-the-scenes look at life as an entrepreneur at the university’s Chicago Innovation Exchange, and events featuring faculty who are bringing groundbreaking advances out of the lab and classroom.

This annual festival is led by UChicago’s innovation leaders, including Arete, the Chicago Innovation Exchange, the Institute for Translational Medicine, the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the Social Enterprise Initiative, and UChicago Tech. Additional sponsors include UChicago Urban, UChicago Urban Labs, and the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. Thanks for making the 2016 Innovation Fest the best yet!

– See more at: https://cie.uchicago.edu/article/winners-announced-innovation-fund-spring-2016-cycle#sthash.riW1LZdc.dpuf

Source: Winners Announced for Innovation Fund Spring 2016 Cycle | CIE