Press Releases


Winners Announced in 2020 Lowell Milken Institute-Sandler Prize for New Entrepreneurs


Apr 24, 2020

 

Student-run startup companies in technology, dental hygiene and women’s clothing won the top awards in UCLA School of Law’s $100,000 Lowell Milken Institute-Sandler Prize for New Entrepreneurs competition, which concluded its fifth-annual event on April 20.

Taking home the first place and $60,000 was the team from Sahara, which allows inventors creating physical products to build and test their designs in an online environment. Customers can save substantial costs that are ordinarily lost to trial and error in production, and they can continue to innovate in today’s remote-working environment. Team members include UCLA Law student Elaine Park ’21 and UCLA Anderson School of Management students Andy Chang, Josh Kimmel, Annie Lu and Jama Mohamed. “While completely remote work is not necessarily the ideal future we envision, virtual product development is a tool that we hope will be helpful in uncertain as well as normal circumstances,” says Park, who worked at a financial technology startup in the San Francisco Bay Area before studying business law with the Lowell Milken Institute.

Wise Earthcare finished in second place and won $25,000. The company seeks to reduce plastic pollution by marketing a line of toothbrushes and other home-dental-care products that are compostable and sustainable. UCLA Law student Scott Panitz ’21 teamed with UCLA Anderson students Andrew Coyle, William Hawkins, Belinda Lau, Pradnya Parulekar and Ingrid Vining.

“The work we produced for the competition has helped us to critically evaluate and improve all the aspects of our business — legal, operations, production, marketing, et cetera — and sharpen and refine our vision,” says Panitz, who founded a tutoring company in the Czech Republic before law school and will work at the national business law firm Greenspoon Marder this summer.

OYA Apparel earned the third-place prize of $15,000 and the audience award of $1,000. It designs fashionable leggings that minimize the health problems that are commonly associated with functional sportswear for new mothers and other women. The team includes UCLA Law student Ashley Sykora ’21 and UCLA Anderson students Patrick Ayers, Mitchella Gilbert, Mac Seder and Raylan Vaz.

Amid the pandemic, Sykora headed to Texas and collaborated with teammates who had dispersed to New York and around California. While most of her legal education has been focused on litigation, she says, “to have the opportunity to do hands-on work involving the transactional side was something I really valued.”

Sandler and Milken served as judges for the final round alongside Fenwick & West partner Joshua Geffon ’04 and Victoria Slivkoff, who is the global head of innovation and entrepreneurship at the UC Office of the President. Fenwick & West sponsored the final-round competition, which was overseen by Lowell Milken Institute Executive Director Joel Feuer. He will continue to advise the winners.

Other finalists included Brand Socialite, a staffing platform for event managers and other employers; Protean Surgical Instruments, which is developing a cost-effective catheter; Sike Insights, whose technology uses artificial intelligence to improve the ways that remote teams collaborate; and VHomes, which helps convert distressed real estate properties into budget-travel destinations.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the semester-long contest shifted from its traditional in-person final gala to virtual platforms, where a panel of distinguished judges evaluated pitch videos that were produced by teams of students from UCLA Law and other schools at UCLA.

With a total of $100,000 at stake, the LMI-Sandler Prize is the largest entrepreneurship competition at any law school in the United States. It is the brainchild of Lowell Milken and Richard Sandler, members of the UCLA Law Class of 1973, who established the competition at the law school’s Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy in 2016. The aim is to foster an atmosphere where UCLA students can bring their ideas to market and where UCLA Law students can gain experience building a company from the ground up.






RECENT PHOTOS


Lowell Milken Presents Steven Gamache With Milken Award in New Orleans

Jennifer Williams Surprised with Louisiana Milken Educator Award

2019 Lowell Milken Founder's Award Goes to Wildflower School in Goodyear, AZ

STEM Teacher Nichole Anderson Receives Milken Educator Award

2010-19 Missouri Milken Educator Therese Shain Shares Big News

Angie Beavin wins Milken Educator Award in Kentucky

Erica Stephens Accepting 2018 Tenneesee Milken Educator Award

Oklahoma Kindergarten Teacher Hailey Couch Wins 2018 Milken Award

Kansas 2018 Milken Educator Award Recipient Linda Dishman

West Goshen Elementary School Named 2018 TAP Founder's Award Recipient

Teacher Theresa Cross Surprised with Milken Educator Award

Principal Debreon Davis Wins Milken Educator Award

Katherine Watkins Surprised with Milken Educator Award

Knoxville Teacher Paula Franklin Receives Milken Educator Award

Lisa Rodgers Announced as this year's Colorado Milken Educator Award Recipient

Lowell Milken's James Bryant Conant Award Acceptance Speech

Lowell Milken Congratulates 2015 Milken Educator John Lary

Lowell Milken Speaks at 2015 Chapman University Commencement

Lowell Milken with Students at Friendly House Academia del Pueblo Elementary Charter School

Lowell Milken Keynote Address at 2017 TAP Conference

Felicia Casto wins Milken Educator Award at Rim Rock Elementary

Lowell Milken Speaks with Students at East End Prep in Nashville, TN

Ryan James Presented with 2017 Milken Educator Award in Richmond, Virginia

Lowell Milken, Tom Torlakson and Wayne Jospeh at 2017 Milken Educator Award Presentation

Lowell Milken Accepts 2017 James Bryant Conant Award

Media Interviews at Devon Willis-Jones Milken Educator Awards Assembly





RECENT VIDEOS




Lowell Milken Presents Music Teacher Nicolas Jacques with Nevada Milken Educator Award





Computer Teacher Nichole Anderson Surprise with Milken Educator Award





Missouri Teacher Therese Shain Receives Milken Educator Award





Angie Beavin Surprised with Kentucky Milken Educator Award





Math Teacher Erica Stephens Wins Tennessee Milken Award in Memphis, TN





Heather Hurt Announced as 2018-19 Alabama Milken Educator Awardee





Oklahoma Kindergarten Teacher Hailey Couch Wins Milken Award





Perry Township Schools Receives First-Ever National Award of Excellence for Educator Effectiveness





AZ Science Teacher Jonathan Cadena Surprised with Milken Educator Award





Math Teacher Angela Boxie Wins Milken Educator Award





Katherine Watkins Surprised with Milken Educator Award





Knoxville Teacher Paula Franklin Surprised with Milken Educator Award





Chino Hills Teacher Alexis King Receives 2017 Milken Educator Award





G.W. Carver Primary School Wins 2017 TAP Founder's Award





Arizona Teacher Ana Gutierrez Receives Milken Educator Award





Principal Wendy Shirey Receives Nevada Milken Educator Award





Sarah Szymanski Wins Colorado Milken Award