The $100,000 Lowell Milken Institute-Sandler Prize for New Entrepreneurs is a team business plan competition designed to recognize student innovation and support the real-world launch of promising new business ventures. Offering the largest entrepreneurship competition award of any law school with a total of $100,000 in prizes, the Lowell Milken Institute-Sandler Prize for New Entrepreneurs is open exclusively to UCLA students.
This year, eighteen teams submitted business plans. Six judges read the plans and narrowed the field to seven finalist teams to compete in the final round. Normally, the final round event is a large public event held on the UCLA campus for the entire UCLA and the broader entrepreneurship community. This year, we had to change course owing to the restrictions on public gatherings and the requirements of physical distancing. We asked each finalist team to submit a narrated PowerPoint of no more than 7 minutes in length pitching their venture and to write a short statement explaining how the coronavirus will affect their venture.
MEET THE FINALISTS
Team Wise Earthcare: Wise Earthcare is here to take care of your smile and the earth. According to the World Economic Forum, by the year 2050, there will be more pieces of plastic in the ocean than fish. And, 1.2 billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away in the US each year. The need for plastic alternative products has never been greater.
Team VHomes: VHomes is a Real Estate Saas company building the future of budget travel. VHomes provides landlords with long term liquidity by offering tenancy in exchange for converting the units into Short-Term Rentals to be listed on Airbnb, VRBO, and VHomes’ developing platform. VHomes leverages smart home technology and vibrant designs to improve upon the antiquated budget offerings of Motels and Sole Proprietor Vacation Rentals. VHomes uses proprietary machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence to empower scale and optimize operations.
Team Sike Insights: Sike Insights (sikeinsights.com) is an enterprise SaaS company that’s using AI to help remote teams work better together. We talked to 150+ remote managers at the top remote companies, and identified that the biggest problem they face is that they struggle to build relationships with their team in a remote setting. This leads to a loss in productivity, engagement and retention. Our goal is to help managers build strong working relationships and lead with empathy.
Team Sahara: Sahara is a SaaS platform that enables users to build physical products without downloading any software or purchasing any electronics, letting them prototype quickly and cheaply from anywhere. Our platform accomplishes this by allowing developers to connect to circuit boards, chips, and test equipment we host in the cloud. The end result is that users can code and test on remote electronics as if they were physically present.
Team Protean Surgical Instruments: Protean Surgical Instruments is developing a proprietary catheter platform technology for minimally invasive procedures. Our mission is to bring innovative medical devices to market that will improve patient outcomes and reduce overall healthcare costs. The company’s initial product is a neurovascular catheter that integrates soft-robotics to improve navigation through complex vascular anatomy to deliver life-saving treatments for diseases such as strokes, aneurysms, and brain tumors.
Team Brand Socialite: Brand Socialite is an on-demand staffing platform for event managers, hotels, catering companies and experiential marketing agencies, that uses matchmaking technology to fill shifts in real-time with promotional models, bartenders, servers and photographers. Brand Socialite connects businesses with high-quality, reliable, pre-screened and professional talent who enjoy a flexible schedule while earning extra income.
Team OYA Apparel: OYA Apparel is the first company to design health-inspired, direct-to-consumer leggings for a woman’s fit and lifestyle needs. Our pro-woman brand will normalize conversations around women’s health while increasing a woman’s confidence about her needs. Conversely, incumbents don’t invest in women’s health-related innovation, so they design “comfortable” leggings for noninclusive body-types with fabrics that are breeding grounds for feminine health issues.
The Final Round judges will meet by video call on April 20 to decide the winners. The competition rules provide that in selecting the winners, “the [Final Round] judges will consider the entire business concept, looking at overall feasibility, viability, attractiveness to investors and possibilities for growth, as well as the Team’s performance in the oral presentation and its response to the judges’ questioning. The judges shall award the Prizes… drawing on their experience and exercising their independent judgment.”
The winners will be announced on this site on April 21.
For more information on the competition, visit website UCLALawPrize.org
Media Interviews at Devon Willis-Jones Milken Educator Awards Assembly