The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Engineers Win Two Cash Prizes in Innovation Challenge Seed Pitch Competition

Tariq Ahmad

Tariq Ahmad (center)

Alexander Smith

Alexander Smith (center)

A graduate of our Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department and a Biomedical Engineering doctoral student were members on two of the four winning teams at the recent Innovation Challenge Seed Pitch competition, held on Wednesday, November 29.

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Hosted by the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship, the four-part Innovation Challenge continued its year-long competition when the Seed Pitch was conducted in front of three judges, and 13 teams gave five-minute pitches of their venture ideas and participated in Q&A discussions with the panel. With assistance from the sponsors, EY and Bud Robertson (Isenberg ’72), $15,000 in prize money was awarded to four ventures.

The engineering participants represented two award-winning teams.

Team Anatres Micro, developed by Tariq Ahmad (M.S. ECE ’08 and Ph.D. ECE ’14 with advisor Professor Maciej Ciesielski of the ECE department) and Maria Afzal (M. Ed. student), was awarded $4,000 by the judges. Its premise includes securing software, hardware, and IoT by ProActive, an application that monitors security of the underlying software or hardware.

Team eBiologics, pitched by Alexander Smith (Ph.D. student in Biomedical Engineering), was awarded $5,000 by the judges. It is focused on providing early detection of chronic diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, using a skin sensor patch that monitors biomarkers in your sweat.

Next up in the four-part Innovation Challenge series is the Semifinal, set for Wednesday, February 28. This competition simulates the closed-door pitch process, and teams will compete for a spot in the Final. Submissions close on February 5. (December 2017)