OnDeck Fisheries has created a monitoring tool that meets regulatory needs using AI instead of humans to automatically quantify the numbers of fish caught, revolutionizing marine conservation while cutting costs by a factor of 10.
Pedal Cell has launched with a unique bicycle power source that converts a cyclist’s motion into continuous charge for lights, smartphones, GPS, and other essential USB devices.
MiDoc has imagined an at-home medical device that allows physicians to remotely conduct lung and heart physical exams, revolutionizing the patient-provider telehealth experience and improving healthcare access, affordability, convenience, and quality.
Three great ideas. Three great startup teams. And all three have been named finalists out of an initial crop of a dozen startups in our BIG IdeaBounce competition sponsored by Washington University’s Olin Business School, the winner of our 2022 ranking of the best MBA programs for entrepreneurship.
Overall, WashU Olin’s BIG IdeaBounce® powered by Poets&Quants pitch contest attracted 167 founders and founding teams from all over the world, including India, Nigeria, Ghana, Belgium, Spain, England, and Canada. Open to all current undergraduate and graduate school students or any prospect interested in a graduate business school degree, more than 55 universities were represented.
‘WASH U’S BIG IdeaBounce Judges Drawn To Startups With A Triple Bottom Line’
As difficult as it was to narrow the 167 ideas down to a dozen, it was even more difficult for the judge to select just three for the final competition. “It was difficult for the judges to pick a final three based on the quality of submissions we received,” says Doug Villhard, academic director for entrepreneurship at Washington University. “In the end the judges appear to have been drawn to what is commonly referred to as the ‘triple bottom line’ — profit, people, and planet. All three finalists have profit potential, but they are also good for people and/or the planet.”
The three finalists will now converge on the Olin Business School campus to present their ideas to a panel of three judges who will determine the winning team in a video show on March 22. You can register to see the entire event, including all three elevator pitches, here.
Each team is tackling challenges in three vastly different fields: commercial fishing, adventure cycling, and telemedicine. Consider OnDeck Fisheries, launched by a team from the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business. Alexander Dungate, who will earn his master’s in management this year, leads a team that includes young professionals who bring software development and scientific research skills to the game.
Bringing Technology To The Fishing Industry
Their idea brings technology to what is now a labor-intensive practice: monitoring fish hauls to make sure they meet government regulations. Currently, the industry uses human observers on board a small percentage of fishing vessels to monitor what goes on at sea. These observers operate in challenging and hostile conditions where they are frequently threatened by the crew, and research has found that their collected observations can contain significant misreporting. The team’s AI-assisted monitoring software would accelerate a shift toward electronic monitoring and revolutionize workflows. Globally, approximately $1.5 billion is spent on fisheries observations annually, with at least $400 million spent on manual review.
The team at PedalCell, meantime, is tackling an entirely different challenge. The two co-founders met in 2015 as college freshmen. CEO Adam Hokin graduated from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business in 2019 with concentrations in Sales, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship. CTO Vishaal Mali invented the company’s core intellectual property and is a graduate of Northwestern University’s McCormick Engineering School in Computer and Electrical Engineering.
They’ve assembled a team that has not only developed a bicycle power source but has brought the product to market. PedalCell mounts in minutes on nearly all bike designs. The design is patented in the U.S. and internationally pending. PedalCell is reviewed to be 3X more powerful than competitors while costing 1/2 as much. PedalCell is made in Chicago, IL, and has shipped to 30+ countries. PedalCell is available at pedalcell.com and its global dealer network.
Advancing Telemedicine To Test Lung & Heart Issues
And finally Dr. Linda Wu, who is earning her MBA at Washington University’s Olin School, along with two other partners has come up with MiDoc, an idea to capitalize on the growing trend in telemedicine. A pediatrician and a member of the faculty at Washington University School of Medicine, Wu notes that telehealth is only able to replace the conversational component of a doctor’s visit.
With current technology, physicians are unable to perform a physical exam, and thus do not know the full health status of their patients. This restricts their ability to effectively diagnose and treat patients. For this reason, patients may still have to go into the doctor’s office due to inconclusive telehealth consults. Lastly, the lung and heart exams are the most important to a physician (as it relates to many primary complaints and medication side effects) and this vital information is not available via telehealth.
Wu’s team came up with a unique solution: An at-home wearable product that the patient wears like a vest, equipped with sensors which are able to perform a remote heart and lung exam. It can also convey electrocardiogram (EKG) readings, which evaluates the electrical health of the heart.
(In the following pages, you can read each finalist’s business plan and watch their two-minute elevator pitches.)