April 29, 2011

Syracuse Company Wins Business Plan Competition

By: by Robin K. Cooper, The Business Review


Helios, a Syracuse-based start-up medical device company won the top prize Thursday night at the inaugural New York State Business Plan Competition at the University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

The company, led by Syracuse University's Luis Romo, a graduate biomedical engineering student, won $50,000 in cash and $20,000 in other assistance, according to Pradeep Haldar, a professor and head of clean tech programs at CNSE.

Helios, which is seeking to patent its ultraviolet device sterilization technology, was one of four finalists in the $100,000-plus business plan competition.

MICROrganic Technologies, a startup led by students from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, was one of four finalists, who won $10,000 apiece. Brent Solina, one of the founders, said the company is seeking funding for its wastewater treatment process.

Other finalist were Broodr.com of Syracuse University, an ecommerce company for startup products, and Radlab, a nanotechnology company started by students from Columbia University.

The business plan competition was a joint effort by CNSE, UAlbany's School of Business, the Lally School of Management and Technology at Rensselaer and Union Graduate College in Schenectady.

The $100,000 in awards attracted stiff competition with 23 student-led companies from around the state giving pitching their business plans, said Don Siegel, dean of the UAlbany Business School.

"The whole idea is to develop the entrepreneurship culture in New York State," Haldar said.

It's an effort to help mold more technology-based companies here to encourage more venture capital investments in New York instead of California's Silicon Valley, he said.

Supporting organizations include Stony Brook University, Polytechnic Institute of New York University, University of Buffalo, Syracuse University, Rochester Institute of Technology, and the University of Rochester.

The bulk of the award money was donated by SEFCU, the State Employees Federal Credit Union.