From The Virginian-Pilot
Three teams received $2,500 in startup funds on Friday after participating in a business competition that was part of the Something in the Water festival.
Students from Virginia Wesleyan and Virginia Commonwealth universities took part in the SPLASH! SITW Pitch Competition at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.
Six teams competed and each one got five minutes to pitch startup ideas to the judges — rapper and producer Timbaland, former NFL player Bruce Smith, and Nneka Chiazor, Cox Communications public affairs vice president.
VCU students Kayla Burkholder and Karlie Vogt won best female founder with their pocket protector. It’s a device that applies compression to the implantation site of pacemakers to prevent pocket hematomas from forming, or it can reduce them, shortening hospital stays.
Pocket hematomas, they said, form when blood pools beneath the skin, making it uncomfortable for patients. They can sometimes cause infections.
“It’s the leading complication that comes from pacemaker implementation,” Vogt said. “Unfortunately, this leads to longer stays at the hospital.”
Timbaland said he could see the pair opening a hospital, adding that they complemented each other.
Next up was the group with the biggest social impact.
VCU students Chandana Muktipaty and Aniket Kulkarni won that category with the Brise-Solette, which helps neonatal care providers control the amount of light that premature infants in NICU receive. This positively impacts their cognitive, optical and overall physical development.
Muktipaty said every year, 15 million babies are born prematurely around the world and placed into specialized incubators where doctors can control humidity, heat, oxygen and other factors, but not light.
“Light has been shown to have a huge effect on the development of premature infants,” she said. “Improper lighting control can have several adverse effects. It can affect their brain as well as their optic development.
The Brise-Solette, Muktipaty said, is the first technology to fully automate light control in the NICU for premature infants.
Alex Vawter from Virginia Wesleyan University was recognized for the boldest emerging technology application.
His app, FinX, will teach young people how to invest in the financial market. It’ll have educational, social and competitive features that’ll allow users to track how their friends and competitors are doing. He said the app will also increase financial literacy.
“They’ll be able to generate supplemental income,” he said. “Build for their financial future.”
From The Virginian-Pilot
By Saleen Martin
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