Revolutionary sleep apnea repair takes dwelling $25Ok prize at College of Washington pupil startup contest

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Innovative sleep apnea fix takes home $25K prize at University of Washington student startup contest


Pupil entrepreneurs competing within the Dempsey Startup Competitors made their pitches Thursday to a panel of judges linked by Zoom. (UW Picture)

Ryan Yousefian had a bonus within the 2020 Dempsey Startup Competitors for pupil entrepreneurs within the Pacific Northwest.

The College of Washington pupil developed an modern expertise to resolve an issue that he personally skilled: obstructive sleep apnea. The situation causes folks to repeatedly cease respiration whereas they sleep, and can lead to hypertension, despair, issue concentrating, complications and different dangerous results.

Ryan Yousefian, co-founder of ApnoMed. (LinkedIn Picture)

Yousefian suffered from sleep apnea when he was youthful and obtained therapy from his dad, a Bellevue, Wash.-based orthodontist. In 2017 he co-founded ApnoMed, a startup that sells a tool to appropriate the dysfunction with out unfavorable uncomfortable side effects related to present applied sciences.

Right this moment ApnoMed was awarded the $25,000 Herbert B. Jones Basis grand prize after Yousefian efficiently pitched his concept to a panel of judges. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the occasion was carried out remotely and the prizes had been introduced by way of a pre-recorded awards presentation shared as we speak on YouTube.

“Our long-term imaginative and prescient for this enterprise is to be the Invisalign of sleep-apnea therapy,” Yousefian instructed judges throughout his pitch on Thursday, citing the corporate synonymous with bracketless braces.

Now in its 23rd yr, Dempsey Startup is organized by the UW’s Buerk Heart for Entrepreneurship. The middle gave away $77,500 in prizes this yr, bringing the lifetime complete awarded to $1.5 million. The Dempsey Startup is open to pupil entrepreneurs from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, British Columbia and Alaska and 97 groups entered the competition.

Given the competitors’s shift on-line, the highest 30 groups every submitted a one-minute video pitch and gave brief, stay pitches nearly for judges. These startups had been whittled right down to 16 contenders, together with college students from the UW, Seattle College and the College of Alaska-Fairbanks. By way of video convention on Thursday afternoon, the ultimate 4 startups — all of whom are from the UW — made their pitches and answered judges’ questions throughout a live-streamed occasion.

Yousefian defined how different units to used to appropriate sleep apnea pressure a consumer’s jaw into an below chew place, probably inflicting jaw ache, a everlasting shift of their bit, and motion of tooth. One other therapy method makes use of a CPAP (Steady Optimistic Airway Strain) machine that requires a consumer to put on a masks whereas sleeping. The machine may be noisy and disruptive, and plenty of sufferers hand over on the remedy.

Ryan Yousefian pitched ApnoMed to the judges. (UW Picture)

“Individuals are dumping hundreds of thousands of {dollars} on this house, and admittedly they’re poor merchandise,” Yousefian stated.

ApnoMed is promoting a tool that’s one thing like a high-tech evening guard that triggers a response in customers so that they naturally transfer their jaw place. The corporate has FDA approval for its system and presents coaching and certification to dental suppliers. Yousefian cited the years he spent within the presence of his father’s apply, giving him perception into gross sales methods within the sector.

This isn’t ApnoMed’s first win. In March, the corporate competed within the 2020 Hollomon Well being Innovation Problem, which can also be hosted by the Buerk Heart, and took dwelling $17,500 and the grand prize.

The highest prizes as we speak had been awarded primarily based on the startup staff’s dynamics and high quality, product match with prospects, the viability of their enterprise mannequin, and the standard of their presentation, information and skill to subject questions.

Right here’s a rundown of the highest winners from this yr’s occasion, and right here’s data on the extra prizes awarded by the competitors:

$10,000 2nd Place Prize: Bluebox Labs

Bluebox Lab staff photograph. (UW Picture)

Bluebox Labs provides “Tesla-like” software program and laptop imaginative and prescient capabilities to any present automobile with a $200 system. The corporate is focusing on working drivers, together with Lyft and Uber and supply drivers. Their software program offers drivers information on their miles pushed for work, diagnostics on wanted repairs and servicing, and video footage from the sprint digital camera. The prize was sponsored by WRF Capital.

Bluebox labs additionally gained the $5,000 Glympse Web of Issues “Massive Image Prize.”

$7,500 third Place Prize: The 2050 Firm

The 2050 Firm staff photograph. (UW Picture)

The 2050 Firm creates wholesome meals merchandise that cut back waste within the meals trade. Their first product, The 2050 Smoothie, is a powdered smoothie made out of rescued produce and is ready utilizing a blender in lower than a minute. The prize was sponsored by BECU. The startup additionally gained the $2,500 Thatcher & Shannon Davis Finest Shopper Product Concept.

The 2050 Firm just lately took first place and a $10,000 prize on the Northwest Entrepreneur Competitors, and was beforehand coated by GeekWire.

$5,000 4th Place Prize: Spira 

Spira staff photograph. (UW Picture)

Spira is an AI service for telehealth that enables sufferers to report and display their respiratory signs utilizing a smartphone. Healthcare suppliers use the platform to raised inform docs offering telehealth a few affected person’s situation, saving time for physicians. The prize was sponsored by Associates of the Dempsey Startup. Spira additionally obtained the $2,500 Premera Finest Well being & Wellness Influence Concept prize.

The corporate in March gained $7,500 in prizes on the 2020 Hollomon Well being Innovation Problem and Spira co-founder Nikolas Ioannou was a GeekWire Geek of the Week final November.

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