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Espy-Wilson, Pruthi Among Business Plan Competition Finalists

Prof. Carol Espy-Wilson (left) and Dr. Tarun Pruthi (Ph.D., E.E., '07)
Prof. Carol Espy-Wilson (left) and Dr. Tarun Pruthi (Ph.D., E.E., '07)

A team consisting of Prof. Carol Espy-Wilson (ECE/ISR) and Research Associate Tarun Pruthi, a 2007 ECE Ph.D. graduate, were among the nine finalist teams announced yesterday by the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) for the 2010 University of Maryland $75K Business Plan Competition. The event will be held May 7, from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., at the Kim Engineering Building as part of the University of Maryland Business Competitions Day.

The University of Maryland $75K Business Plan Competition promotes the commercialization of innovative ideas and university-created technologies by offering faculty and students prizes for the best new venture plans. The competition emphasizes learning through coaching and the experience of presenting ideas to an expert panel of judges.

Prof. Espy-Wilson and Dr. Pruthi will present their business plan for Omnispeech LLC, a speech extraction technology for voice communications in the High Technology category.

The Business Plan Competition finalists, who competed among 18 semifinalist teams, were selected in the categories of High Technology, Biotechnology, and Undergraduate Students. Finalist entries, submitted as business plans, were reviewed by 14 independent judges based upon their value proposition, competitive advantage, target market, profit model, intellectual property, and clarity. The Business Plan Competition Finalists will present their technologies and ideas to the public and a panel of expert judges on May 7. An awards ceremony will immediately follow presentations.

Judges who selected finalists include: Henry Ahn, Program Manager, Technology Funding Programs, Maryland Technology Development Corporation; Bill Bellows, serial entrepreneur and entrepreneurship instructor; Warren Citrin, Co-founder and Board Member, Gloto Corporation and Co-founder, Solipsys Corporation; Rob Cohen, formerly from Immersion Corporation; Christine Copple, President and CEO, Starise Ventures; Robb Doub, General Partner, New Markets Venture Partners; Craig Dye, Director of Venture Investments, Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship; Michael Gutch, Member, Life Sciences Team, H.I.G. Ventures; Joe Hernandez, CEO, Principio and Chairman, Prolias; Kiran Hebbar, Partner, Valhalla Partners; David Kirsch, Associate Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship in the Management & Organization Department at the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business; Brian Lipford, Partner, Key Technologies, Inc. and VP Strategic Development, Key Technologies; Karen Miller, Manager, BioEntrepreneur Resources Program, Maryland Biotechnology Center; and Charles Montague, Manager, Biotechnology Development Programs, Maryland Biotechnology Center.

Sponsors of the 2010 competition are Nixon Peabody LLP and Fish & Richardson P.C.

Now in its tenth year, the Business Plan Competition is administered by Mtech, an initiative of the A. James Clark School of Engineering. Previous winners include five multi-million dollar ventures; Inc. Magazine named two to the Inc. 500 list of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. in 2009.

April 7, 2010


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