While some of Philadelphia’s top entrepreneurs were gathering in the National Constitution Center in Old City last night, a dozen students were in a back room in the building, pitching one of the nation’s most well-known venture capitalists on their business ideas.
And they had just two minutes.
AOL founder Steve Case, who now runs Revolution, a venture capital firm based in Washington, DC, ended up awarding $10,000 to a UPenn student who is part of team that created Fever Smart, an app that continuously monitors temperature and alerts the user when a temperature is reaching a critical level. It has applications for parents, and it could one day be used worldwide to monitor disease outbreaks.
“It’s currently both a consumer and an enterprise solution,” Chief Technology Officer William Duckworth told Case, along with judges Amy Stursberg of Blackstone Charitable Foundation, and Steven Tang, President and CEO of the University City Science Center.
Case traveled to Philadelphia for the day with his Rise of the Rest tour, a bus trip to five cities considered up-and-coming hubs for technology and innovation. Case and his team visit successful startups in each city and then hold the signature event of each stop, which is a large pitch competition where a local startup is awarded $100,000. In Philly’s case, the winner was Scholly, a scholarship app started by entrepreneur Chris Gray, who’s most famous for appearing last season on ABC’s Shark Tank.
But just before the large pitch competition — attended by people like Mayor Nutter and judged by Case and guest judges like TV personality Stephen A. Smith — was the student pitch competition, a speed round of pitches to Case. Students from Penn, Temple, Drexel, Philadelphia University, La Salle and University of Delaware were represented during the competition.
The winner, Fever Smart, was launched last year by four Penn students who developed a smart patch thermometer system that tracks changes in temperature by minute and alerts the user’s smartphone when a temperature could be reaching fever range. The FDA-approved system is already being sold online direct to the consumer and is being targeted toward hospitals.
Here’s how the system works:
Fever Smart has so far been funded through an Indie GoGo campaign that brought in nearly $65,000 for the early-stage company last year. It’s currently being sold for $129 retail, and Duckworth said the founders are looking to expand further into “the clinical side” with the hopes of one day making it easier for nurses and doctors to monitor patients in hospitals around the world.
The company was one of 10 to pitch to Case and the judges during the student competition. These are the other companies that made appearances during the student pitch competition:
C-Crete Technologies – Students from Penn created a new calcium-silicate based gas separation technology that provides an energy efficient solution for manufacturers of membranes, because they discovered how to create the material out of sand and limestone instead of more expensive materials. This gas separation technology is used to, for instance, separate nitrogen from air or pull carbon dioxide from natural gas. The students who created this new gas separation technology believe it could save manufacturers money over time because of reduced cost of materials.
Loviseier – These Penn students created nanotechnology that tested medications and can tell if they’re real or not, solving what they say is a worldwide problem of counterfeit medication. Founded by three graduate students at Penn, this company is targeting Big Pharma and third-party packaging facilities looking to authenticate medications. The core technology of the product was recently finished and the founders are looking for their first round of funding.
Go Smart Track – Former teachers who now study at Penn have created Go Smart Track, an ed-tech company that works to reduce loss for schools. The app scans barcodes and numbers and inventories products so that schools can track what happens to books, technology, musical instruments and more in order to prevent students and teachers losing or misplacing materials owned by the school or the district.
Tour US – A Drexel student created this early-stage app that aims to connect people who speak the same language as them when they travel to other countries. For example, if you’re an English speaker and traveled to Spain but don’t speak Spanish, the app would match you up with a tour guide in the country who speaks English and can show you around the country in a way you can best understand. Tour guides would set their own hourly wages and Tour US would take a cut out of the price.
Lovoco – This language translation software was created by students at Temple who wanted to create a technology to create “clarity in the classroom,” AKA live translate lectures from professors who don’t speak English as their first language. The product hasn’t sold yet, but Lovoco already has pre-orders and the founders have goals to scale next into the hospitality industry with the product.
ME.mory – Inspired by the more than 16 million Americans who suffer cognitive impairment, Temple students created ME.mory, an app people can use to track — and then go back and search through — their memories. The user logs what they do throughout the day and can then go back through and search any term or day to remember what occurred.
Kyle Carb Design – A Philadelphia University student created this application that’s specifically geared toward burn victims. The technology is a device that distributes a therapeutic spray to burn regions of the body automatically so that burn victims don’t have to touch the area directly and inadvertently cause more pain. The technology isn’t yet patented, but the topical treatment is FDA approved.
Vita Virdi Carbon – This early-stage machine that’s still in prototype phase pulls carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and then stores and processes sequestered carbon. Created by students at La Salle, the machine, which runs on electric, aims to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through a chemical-filter-like process.
LendEDU – Students from the University of Delaware created LendEDU, an independent marketplace for student loans and student loan refinancing. The company which launched about a year ago is a free service for students graduates looking to compare options for how they can either obtain students loans or refinance the loans they currently have without hurting their credit score. The company makes money by charging lenders for the referrals.