The Massry Center for Business at the University at Albany hosted the semi-finals of the Capital Region New York Business Plan Competition on April 12th, 2019. 30 teams from around the Capital Region area came out to pitch their business and compete for the Capital Cup pgrand prize of $1,000. The competition was divided into six distinct tracks; Agtech & Food, Consumer Products & Services, Energy & Environment, Medtech & Well-Being, Military & First Responder and Technology & Entertainment. Each track produced 1 winner and 1 runner-up who were both awarded a cash prize as well as the chance to continue to the State Business Plan Competition finals which took place on Friday, April 26th at the Sage Armory in Albany.
Each track at the competition had 2-4 judges evaluating the presentations. Between the 20 judges they have over 20 years of entrepreneurial experience.
After the winners from the initial pitches were selected, the 6 first place winners from every track were then required to pitch their idea to the full panel of judges to win the Capital Cup for a grand prize of $1,000.
The 1st and 2nd place winners from each track that will compete in the State Finals were:
AgTech & Food Track
Judges: Julianne Clouthier from FuzeHub, Heidi Knoblauch from ReceiptHQ & Plum Oyster Bar and Matt Wagoner from Wagoner Law Firm
1st place - Ndriana Agro: A farming business based in Madagascar that holds social responsibility goals. By purchasing and distributing highly fertile land in economically depressed areas of Madagascar, Ndriana Agro is working to give back to the Malagasy rural community by growing the economy. This will open up opportunities for jobs and improve the standard of living in Madagascar. Presented by: Jessica Ndrianasy, Skidmore College
2nd place - Sanctuary Farm Brewing Company: Produces small-batch beer in a bucolic setting. The Sanctuary Farm Brewing Company prides themselves not only on their ingredients but also providing a holistic beer-drinking experience. They are committed to the ideas of transparency, responsibility, and community-building, from knowing where the ingredients come from to creating an environment that fosters relationship-building and responsible drinking. Sanctuary Farm Brewing Company is distinct from other breweries in the area because it not only offers high-quality beer, but also allows consumers to experience the 250 acres of land where the hops used to make the beer are grown- an experience akin to that usually found on vineyards. Presented by: Conor Austin, Skidmore College
Energy & Environment Track
Judges: Christy Alexander from WorkSmart and Dan Bullis from Saratoga CoWorks
1st place - Mobius Packaging Company: The only group in the Energy and Enviorment track Mobius Packaging Co. is a sustainable packaging company that provides packaging solutions that are biodegradable, and plant based. Their product, the BioRing, is a 6-pack ring made out of plant materials and will offer craft brewers of NY an opportunity to make their 6 packs more sustainable. Presented by: Katherine Walker, RPI
Military & First Responder Track
Judges: Eli Rabinowitz from Pioneer Bank, Dorothy Rogers-Bullis from Saratoga CoWorks and Lea Weir from CoveyCS
1st place - Iconoclasm: A collaborative reverse engineering platform that aims to change the cybersecurity and threat intelligence space by equipping tier three operators, analysts, and researchers with tools to collaborate and to protect us from the threats of the world with increased efficiency and ease of use. Iconoclasm provides an online platform equipped with best in class tooling to meet the needs of the good guys as the capabilities of attackers grow daily. Presented by: Lucien Brule, RPI
2nd place - Vets Together: An app-centric social network community-based approach to tackling the veteran suicide and PTSD epidemic. Utilizing the US Army’s “battle buddy” philosophy, the network is designed to form meaningful connections within the veteran’s area to ensure he or she has the support needed. Presented by: Benjamin Harris, UAlbany
Medtech & Wellbeing Track
Judges: Shawn Allan from Lithoz-America, Gary Goldstein the Director of Dental Programs Emblem Health, Elizabeth Meliski from Peak Neuro Group and Bill Newman the Managing Director of Northwestern Mutual
1st place - Intelligent Medicine: Developing training solutions for doctors powered by augmented reality and artificial intelligence. Intelligent Medicine hopes to solve inadequacies in current training of airway management with a modern training platform that provides users with realistic medical simulations. Presented by: Adam Ryason, RPI
2nd place - Deadeye Technology: Deadeye is reinventing the way athletes train for their sport. They offer a low-cost hardware unit similar to the size and shape of a GoPro which wirelessly connects to a smartphone app tracking the users every movement and providing targeted feedback towards what the user wants to improve on most while creating a sharing and social platform for athletes. Presented by: Daniel Lannan, RPI
Technology & Entertainment Track
Judges: Jeff Goronkin from Urban CoWorks, Marcia Mitchell from FFVC, Mike Mozill a professor at WIT, and Tyler Wrightson from CoLab
1st place - EmpowerU Virtual Reality: A Virtual Reality content house and development company specializing in developing efficient and effective training modules designed to immerse our users into stress-inducing environments to create experiential learning that bridge classroom and real-life training. This technology could be used to educate someone on how to physically do something in a virtual space. Presented by Yumi Kageyama, Siena College
2nd place - Mantapoole Technologies: MantaPoole Techonologies is developing the next generation of plenoptic cameras. This capability will allow for the accurate Identification and positional capability that is needed for the next generation of smart machines in autonomous drones, robotic manufacturing, automated agriculture, and automated surgery applications. Presented by: Jesse Claypool, SUNY Polytechnic
Consumer Products & Services Track
Judges: Tom Brownell COO/Entrepreneur, Cheryl Kennedy from Tech Valley Center of Gravity, Julie Massry-Knox the Sales and Marketing Manager at Tri-City Rentals and Jay Singh from Sunmark Federal Credit Union
1st place - Funletz, LLC: A fun accessory with school logos, animals, or sports icons that attaches to the aglet on your sweatshirt, backpack or zipper. Funletz will attach directly to drawstrings and showcase, conveniently hiding the existing aglet and making your clothing pop. Every pair of Funletz comes with a pair of Zipletz allowing you to attach them to zippers, key rings, your imagination is the only limit. Presented by: Zachary Mills, Siena College
2nd place - OgaFaaji, LLC: Luxury traditional accessories uniting cultures through fashion. The name “Oga Faaji”, stems from the Yoruba language which translates roughly to “boss of flexin” Faaji is flexibly used to describe an extravagant swagger, enjoyment, or the act of flexin’. Presented by: Afolabi Soetan, UAlbany
After each of the first-place winners in every track presented their final pitches in front of the full panel of judges, they determined one winner. The winner of the 2019 Capital Cup was awarded to Yumi Kageyama and her business, EmpowerU Virtual Reality.
Yumi Kageyama created VR technology for multiple types of training purposes. Say you need to be trained for life safety procedures for work or you are a referee that needs to be coached on how to manage a contest. By immersing yourself with virtual reality visuals to gain expertise in your topic, this training process can be completed efficiently and without the cost of an actual person dictating the training. This technology Empowers U to improve the quality of your training experience. The future of this software will engage users in even more virtual reality experiences like driving a car or a boat.