Louisiana Life Sciences Startups To Compete For $50K+ In Prizes
NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans BioInnovation Center is accepting applications for the 2017 BioChallenge competition, in which Louisiana life sciences startups will compete for more than $50,000 in cash and investment prizes. This annual competition gives entrepreneurs the chance to present their bold ideas to receive expert feedback and possibly win capital to fund company growth, organizers said. The BioChallenge accepts applications from startups that are developing a solution in healthcare, biotechnology, environmental science or other life sciences industries. Previous finalists have been developing new tools, treatments, and solutions in cancer, pediatrics, digital health, advanced materials and many other areas.
The final pitch event, which is open to the public, will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at The Joy Theater, 1200 Canal St.
The featured entrepreneurs will offer an eight-minute pitch presentation to a panel of investors and industry expert judges, who will have a chance to ask questions and provide feedback. The Grand Prize is $25,000 cash, and two additional award winners will be selected. The New Orleans BioFund is offering a $25,000 investment prize, contingent on a due diligence process, and event attendees will select the winner of the $2,500 Audience Favorite Award through a text vote.
In order to compete, companies must not have received more than $1 million in investment funding. In addition, the business must have significant operations in Louisiana, as the BioChallenge was developed specifically to boost new businesses that will generate jobs and economic growth within the state. Applicants are often developing a technology initially conceived at a university or hospital, but innovators without institutional affiliation are also eligible.
Applicants should submit an executive summary by Friday, Sept. 15, describing their company and the problem they aim to solve. Applications will be scored by independent judges, and semi-finalists will present a short pitch to a separate set of judges. Throughout October, top-scoring finalists will receive pitch coaching by the Center’s Commercialization consulting team. Part of its free services for entrepreneurs, this team has coached local startups to international business competition wins totaling more than $900,000 since 2011.
The 19 finalists from past competitions have raised more than $16 million to develop technologies and build companies in Louisiana that save lives and address urgent environmental challenges. The 2016 winner, Chosen Diagnostics, is developing a test that can diagnose a life-threatening gastrointestinal disease in preterm infants and that offers more accurate results than current options, allowing earlier intervention in these fragile patients. BioAesthetics, the 2015 winner that is developing a regenerative nipple graft for post-mastectomy patients, made headlines in May 2017 after securing a $250,000 investment and entering a prestigious business accelerator program in San Francisco.
The BioInnovation Center presents the competition finals as part of the annual Innovation Louisiana series of special events highlighting ground-breaking scientific innovation at universities and startups across the state. This year, these events are running from Sunday, Nov. 5 – Friday, Nov. 10, in New Orleans.
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