BioBotic Solutions, an undergraduate business plan competition team at the University of Arkansas, beat more than two dozen teams from across the United States to take the $25,000 grand prize at the Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures Business Plan Competition.
BioBotic Solutions won for a business plan built around a container and robot that automate tissue handling, one of the few areas in a pathology lab that is not already automated. The concept, which is based on existing technology, would decrease pathology lab errors from 1 percent to 0.005 percent.
Michael Iseman, a senior finance major in the Sam M. Walton College of Business and Honors College, said he and fellow members of the team would like to go forward with the plan as a real business.
“Every time we pitch this I believe in it more and more,” Iseman said. “I think that is why we do so well; we believe in this product. We’ve spoken with health care recruiters about hiring a CEO, and we’re looking for someone with experience in fundraising and pathology. With the money [from the award] and the time we’ve spent here, I could not be more excited about the future.”
Twenty-seven teams competed April 11-12 at the Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. Teams that were invited to the competition had to demonstrate a societal or environmental need to be filled, as well as the profitability of the business.
Carol Reeves, associate vice provost for entrepreneurship at the University of Arkansas and one of the team’s advisers, said the win was the most significant for an undergraduate team at the U of A.
Just days earlier, BioBotic Solutions won $22,000 at the 2014 Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup Collegiate Business Plan Competition, including the $15,000 second-place prize in the undergraduate division.
BioBotic Solutions developed its plan in close cooperation with the U of A’s department of biomedical engineering in the College of Engineering. Reeves and Jeff Amerine, who directs Technology Ventures, the U of A’s technology transfer office, co-advised the team.
In addition to Iseman, BioBotic Solutions includes: Kelley Coakley, a senior biomedical engineering major in the College of Engineering; Aundria Eoff, a senior biomedical engineering major in the College of Engineering; and Rachel Zweig, who is majoring in chemistry and mathematics at Hendrix College.
The team and results would not have been possible without the strong input and support from three units across the campuses of the U of A, Hendrix College and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.