Five UMass Startups Advance to Final Round of Innovation Challenge

AMHERST — On March 2, the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship kicked off its premier pitch event with the Innovation Challenge: Preliminary Round and announced the following winning teams:

• MicrobeBlaster: “MicrobeBlaster eliminates IV catheter-borne bacterial infections before they begin and will save hospitals thousands of lives and billions of dollars. Our anti-fouling technology will prevent bacteria from adhering to the catheter and overall prevent the formation of biofilms.”

• FUD: “FUD’s goal for restaurant-goers is to remove unnecessary wait times from their dining experience, allowing them to focus on the best parts of dining: family, friends, and food. FUD’s goal for full-service restaurants is to increase their revenue by maximizing their table turnover.”

• Campus Atlas: “A campus accessibility, engagement, and navigation guide designed by students, for students and the greater community, to facilitate the spreading of equal opportunity, engagement, and success. Combining modern technology with a user-first approach, we bring campus to your phones.”

• MIGCIP Innovation Labs AI-Visa: “We drive by an accomplishing motto of introducing the process and importance of the research work. MIGCIP aims to give you a reinforcing platform to connect, explore, write, and publish your own research work with the help of best-known professors making your work worthy and up-top.”

• SequesChar: “SequesChar is transforming brewers’ spent grains, the predominant physical byproduct of brewing beer, into biochar for carbon capture and soil amendment, as well as a renewable source of heat to support brewing processes.”

At the event, startups presented polished pitch decks and startup plans to a panel of judges, with the five winners moving on to compete for up to $65,000 in the Innovation Challenge: Final Round on April 13.

Competitor submissions included everything from a business model canvas and executive summary to prototypes and more. The five-minute presentations were followed by judges’ questions, and the competition was held in person at Old Chapel on campus.