Eighteen teams entered the University of Nevada, Reno’s Fifth Annual Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition, and five finalists were announced this week.
These teams will be competing for the final $50,000 Sontag Entrepreneurship Award.
Two business plans submitted by UNR student Chase Houston, Hana Energy LLC and Helmet Neuro Protection Technology, were both chosen as finalists.
“This was an amazing experience,” Houston said. “This competition provided me an outlet for my energy in entrepreneurship.”
The following teams have been chosen as finalists:
Team members: Dakota Ward, mechanical engineering student and Anthony Fernandez, mechanical engineering student.
Mentors: Jesse Adams, Mechanical Engineering mentor in the IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence program; Wanliang Shan, assistant professor at the University; Anthony Faddis, mechanical engineering student at the University.
Fraktion focuses on developing a bitcoin-based service that capitalizes on the emerging market of cryptocurrencies. Using cryptocurrencies, which are not physical, Fraktion aims to rethink the way people use things as mediums of exchange. Cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin in particular) are faster, and more efficient mediums of exchange that eliminate the chance of human corruption in the money supply. Fraktion wants to create kiosks that people can put their physical cash into and convert it into Bitcoin.
Hana Energy LLC
Team members: Chase Houston, MBA student: Mohamad “Mo” Masoumi, MBA student and Ph.D. candidate in Material Science.
Mentors: Chris Howard, executive director of the Ozmen Center; Sean Nichols, AIMS Power vice president of sales and COO of DragonFly Energy.
Hana Energy LLC will design and manufacture graphene-coated anodes for use in lithium ion battery manufacturing. In their approach they have combined two of the best anode materials tested so far (graphene and silicone) to create high capacity lithium ion batteries.
“A lithium ion battery with our anode will have 10 times more capacity, be five times lighter, and have a capacity retention of more than 1,000 cycles,” Houston said.
Helmet Neuro Protection Technology
Team member: Chase Houston, MBA student
Mentors: Bill Torch, founder and chairman of Northern Nevada Neuro-Developmental, Neuro-Diagnostic and Washoe Sleep Disorders Center; Ray Garcia, co-founder of Helmet Neuro-Protection Technologies – LLC and Napavaria Exports
The vision of Helmet Neuro Protection Technology is to create a modern sports helmet that is lighter, more comfortable, cost competitive, and most importantly, will effectively reduce the probability of a concussion and/or traumatic brain injury. Using the power of 3D-Printing, Helmet Neuro Protection Technology will create a new age helmet that not only disperses the brute force of an impact but also helps with reducing the more serious effects of shearing forces to the brain. Houston has filed a provisional patent and is in the prototyping phase of developing the product.
Inspiring the development of this product is Houston’s own experience with brain trauma. After playing football for more than 16 years, he is left with traumatic brain damage that has resulted in a learning disability and a sleep disorder.
Houston is now starting Helmet Neuro Protection Technology to offer a new kind of sports helmet, one that allows helmet-sport players to continue their love of the game while also protecting their heads.
Team member: Ryan Klekas, MBA student
Mentors: Matt Westfield, member of the Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship’s Entrepreneurs Assembly
Instally is an innovative mobile platform that provides superior parking solutions for universities. This is done in two parts. The first is to provide additional parking by utilizing surrounding neighborhoods and their remnant resources – privately owned parking spaces. The second is to incentivize and streamline human connection to make the process of finding a parking space on campus more efficient.
Team members: Spencer Lewis, business student; Brad Humphreys, business student; Tanner Johnson, business student
Mentors: Kirk Allaire, Gratis Marketing
Ucraft Brew is a custom beer creation platform. Using an online web app, customers create a beer tailored to their specific tastes, which will then be brewed and shipped to them. The web app will accommodate brewers of all skill levels – from novices, who wish to use to a preset recipe, to advanced brewers – who want control over each step in the brewing process.