Originally published February 20, 2012

The sixth annual MSOE Business Plan Competition ended in a tie for first place. Sharing the top prize are: The Notebook, an online company developing innovative services for college students, and Xeratec, a start-up property development business focused on environmentally sustainable building renovation in downtown Milwaukee. These two teams will represent MSOE at the Mason-Wells BizStarts Collegiate Business Plan Competition, a regional competition among 21 universities in southeastern Wisconsin that will be held at MSOE’s Todd Wehr Auditorium on April 26.

The competition began earlier this school year when students and alumni were invited to present their business ideas. More than 125 students entered the competition. Eighteen teams were asked to submit full business plans and advance in the competition, and five winners were chosen.

The MSOE Business Plan Competition is sponsored annually by MSOE’s Uihlein/Spitzer Center for Entrepreneurship and supported by MSOE’s Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network (KEEN) project grant. Dr. Jeffrey Blessing, professor, Rader School of Business, serves as Kern Fellow and competition coordinator. Business plans are sought from MSOE students and alumni.

The 2012 MSOE Business Plan Winners were:

1st Place Tie ($1,750 each)
The Notebook
Victor Bande, Industrial Engineering
Max Poeske, Biomedical Engineering
Jaren Singh, Business Management

The Notebook is an online company devoted to developing innovative services and web applications for university students through social networking platforms. The company mission is to make students’ tasks simpler, saving time and money in a number of aspects of their daily life by providing personalized, relevant information. This “all-in-one” experience is offered through four applications. The two primary services are the study materials network and the online book exchange. The two secondary applications are the professor rank and online food directory. The goal of the primary services is to attract and obtain users whereas the secondary services will keep users active and enhance their experience.

Andrew Hillstrom, Architectural Engineering & Construction Management
Keith Kumpula, Architectural Engineering & Construction Management

Xeratec is a property development company with a proposed renovation project called the Underwriters Exchange. An existing structure is currently being utilized for office space. It has greater than 50 percent vacancy and commercial and residential zoning. The redeveloped structure would consist of residential apartment spaces, floors 1-9, and a first floor office space. All units would be rented as a mix of studio/efficiency, single, and two bedroom apartments. The market for apartments in downtown Milwaukee is currently 94 to 96 percent occupancy level.

3rd Place ($1,000)
IV AutoChill
Kyle Ewert, Biomedical Engineering
Kate Herrmann, Biomedical Engineering
Jeff Sugar, Biomedical Engineering
Lindsey Youngs, Biomedical Engineering

IV AutoChill is a medical device that induces therapeutic hypothermia, which combines intravenous and surface cooling to create the most efficient cooling system possible. Therapeutic hypothermia, or the controlled reduction of core body temperature, has been proven to increase the survival rate of patients who have experienced temporary loss of circulation brought about by conditions such as sudden cardiac arrest, traumatic brain injury and stroke—three very common medical emergencies.

4th Place ($500)
Erik’s LLC
Erik Winer, Electrical Engineering

Erik’s LLC is a diverse company comprised of a number of different entities, each recognized by the local community of Marshfield, Wis. With business roots over a decade deep, Erik’s LLC is established within the lawn maintenance industry, produce growth and distribution industry, and most recently, the plant retail industry. Erik’s LLC is a strong coalition of the following entities: Erik’s Chore Service LLC, Good Earth Produce LLC, and Mill Creek Gardens LLC. Erik’s LLC works each day to maintain a proud and industrious name through each of the represented entities under its title.

5th Place ($250)
Peripheral Neuropathy Device
Brandan Fajardo, Biomedical Engineering
Michael Robertson, Biomedical Engineering
Christa Staudy, Biomedical Engineering
Kevin Zimmerman, Biomedical Engineering

The Peripheral Neuropathy Device provides a more convenient, efficient and accurate way of diagnosing and assessing peripheral neuropathy. The device integrates existing thermal, vibration and force tests. It is a patient-controlled device minimizing need for doctor administration. Peripheral neuropathy is a slow progressing disease that damages the peripheral nervous system, which connects the limbs and extremities to the brain and spinal cord. Diabetics make up 43 percent of the total 20 million peripheral neuropathy patients. There is no cure for peripheral neuropathy, only treatments to alleviate the symptoms.

MSOE is an independent, non-profit university with 2,500 students. MSOE offers 18 bachelor’s degrees and nine master’s degrees in the engineering, engineering technology, building and infrastructure engineering, health-related engineering, computer, business and nursing fields. The university has a national academic reputation; longstanding ties to business and industry; dedicated professors with real-world experience; extremely high placement rates; and the highest starting salaries of any Wisconsin university according to PayScale Inc. MSOE graduates are well-rounded, technologically experienced and highly productive professionals and leaders.