UMA Bioseed, a Cornell startup, Wins Grand Prize in Annual New York Business Plan Competition

UMA Bioseed, an energy and sustainability startup comprised of Cornell students, won the $100,000 grand prize in 6th annual NY Business Plan Competition...

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UMA Bioseed, a student-led energy and sustainability startup company from Cornell University, took home the $100,000 grand prize in the New York Business Plan Competition.(PHOTO CREDIT: SUNY Poly CNSE)
UMA Bioseed, a student-led energy and sustainability startup company from Cornell University, took home the $100,000 grand prize in the New York Business Plan Competition.(PHOTO CREDIT: SUNY Poly CNSE)

By Eric Reinhardt via The Central New York Business Journal, 4/27/2015

ALBANY, N.Y. — UMA Bioseed, an energy and sustainability startup comprised of Cornell University students, won the $100,000 grand prize in the 6th annual New York Business Plan Competition.

UMA Bioseed presented its plan in the final round Friday at the SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (SUNY Poly CNSE) in Albany.

SUNY Poly CNSE announced the winners in a news release issued Saturday.

The New York Business Plan Competition drew interest from UMA Bioseed and more than 500 student-led startups, with teams representing 65 colleges and universities pitching their business plans.

SUNY Poly CNSE hosted the final round in which 120 student-led teams representing 37 colleges and universities from across New York presented their plans.

Besides the grand-prize award, the judging panel also awarded UMA Bioseed a first-place prize of $10,000 and in-kind services in the energy and sustainability track.

UMA Bioseed — led by Cornell students Margaret Wu, Abhijeet Bais, and Brennan Duty — will use its funding awards to support further development of its “novel” organic crop-seed coating product that “destroys pathogens that surround a planted seed,” according to the news release

The “unique approach can increase crop yield without the use of harmful pesticides or the deployment of genetic modifications to spur healthy seed growth,” SUNY Poly CNSE added.

Besides UMA, Volu, a Syracuse University (SU) startup; Four Score Jeans, a Clarkson University startup; and three others outside Central New York also claimed first-place prizes.

Volu won in the social entrepreneurship and nonprofit track, and Four Score Jeans prevailed in the products and services track.

Volu, which is based at the Syracuse Tech Garden, provides an application that makes the volunteering cycle “easier, faster, and more efficient,” according to a news release the company sent to CNYBJ on April 16.

Six teams ended in second place, earning a cash prize of $5,000.

They included Elektrac, a Clarkson startup that presented its plan in the advanced technology and nanotechnology track; and RightPrice, a Cornell startup that offered a business plan in the information technology and software track.

The competition also had six teams end in third place, earning a cash prize of $1,500.

They included Underground Greens, a Mohawk Valley Community College startup that presented a plan in the energy and sustainability track.

The recognition also included a People’s Choice Award of $500. The six winners included Z-Score, a Clarkson startup that presented a business plan the information technology and software track.

Two other Clarkson startups, Comfy Pets, LLC and Powder Partner; MSquare, a SUNY Potsdam startup; and Vets2Farm, a Morrisville State College startup, were among six winners of the Undergraduate Excellence Award.

Comfy Pets presented in the biotechnology and health-care track; Power Partner offered its business plan in the products and services track; MSquare competed in the information technology and software track; and Vets2Farm presented its plan in the social and nonprofit track.

SUNY Poly CNSE also recognized six startups with the Esprit de Corps award, including Contact, an SU startup that competed in the advanced technology and nanotechnology track; InsertHeals, an Ithaca College startup that presented a plan in the biotechnology and health-care track; and Travelsee, a SUNY Oneonta startup that competed in the information technology and software track.

SUNY Poly CNSE, the University at Albany’s School of Business, and Syracuse University presented the New York Business Plan Competition, according to the news release.

A panel of national venture capitalists, angel investors, investment bankers, and “seasoned” entrepreneurs selected the winning teams.

The competition sponsors included Albany–based credit union SEFCU; the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA); First Niagara; Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR); National Grid; Center for Economic Growth; Albany Medical Center; New Energy New York; and FuzeHub, and others, according to the news release.

Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@cnybj.com

Views expressed in News posts may not be those of Cornell University. No endorsement is implied.