BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Four UB students took first place in the
University at Buffalo’s Henry A. Panasci Jr. Technology
Entrepreneurship Competition (Panasci TEC) for their plan to
manufacture an invention that removes problematic vibrations in
Conor Flynn, JD ’15, of Batavia; Hosein Kerdar, PhD
’14, of Tehran, Iran; John Fraczek, JD/MBA ’16, of
Watertown; and Travis West, BS ’14, of Clifton Park will
receive $25,000 in startup funding for their company, EMVISS.
Certain vibrations, even some that are imperceptible to humans,
can negatively impact readings on sensitive microscopes or impair
the ability to manufacture precision equipment. Existing solutions
can muffle the vibrations, but EMVISS has developed a platform that
can eliminate them entirely.
Development of the platform was led by Kerdar, who specialized
in earthquake engineering for his doctoral degree. He will serve as
the company’s president and CEO.
“Creating a successful business requires far more than a
great idea,” said Flynn, who served as the team lead for the
competition. “It requires a solid plan, a great team and an
ability to adapt to fill a market need. The Panasci Competition
helped us take an innovative, game-changing concept and mold it to
fit a business reality. It was instrumental in crystalizing the
business concept that will make EMVISS successful in the
In addition to the $25,000 in seed capital, the winning team
will receive in-kind awards valued at more than $27,000 for legal
services from Jaeckle Fleischmann & Mugel LLP; accounting
services from Kopin & Co. P.C.; business development services
from the UB Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic
Outreach; human resource startup services from the People Plan by
HR Foundations Inc.; and office space from North Forest Office
Space, bringing the total package to more than $52,000. The
remaining nine teams of semifinalists will be offered space in dig,
a co-working space in the Thomas R. Beecher Jr. Innovation Center
on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
The second-place award of $10,000 went to Emmanuel Oche, MBA
’14, of Williamsville and Jeffrey Beacham, MBA ’14, of
Williamsville for Laundry Box, a drop-off box providing a
convenient alternative to doing laundry.
Now in its 14th year, Panasci TEC awards seed money and business
services to the team that presents the best plan for launch of a
viable new business. Thirteen local ventures have been launched
with first-place prize money since the UB competition began, and
most are still in business.
The competition was created by the University at Buffalo School
of Management and the UB Office of Science, Technology Transfer and
Economic Outreach. Funded with a $1 million endowment from the late
Henry A. Panasci Jr., the program is designed to bring together UB
students from science, technology, business and other disciplines
to maximize their potential and create viable businesses in Western
Thirty-three entered this year’s competition, and a record
28 made first-round pitches to the preliminary judges. Ten teams of
semifinalists were selected from that group to submit a written
business plan and a video pitch, and five teams were chosen, based
on the content of their written business proposals, to present
their business plans publicly in the competition’s final
round on April 2 at UB’s Center for the Arts Screening
Each team delivered a 10-minute presentation and was evaluated
on how well they described the feasibility and marketability of
their venture, proved the need for their product or service and
presented potential sources of capital.
Other new venture ideas included a platform presenting data
overlaid on interactive maps, a producer of viruses for research
labs, and a company that provides prediction and risk assessment
services for natural disasters.
Serving as judges for the competition were Robert Fritzinger,
director, SUNY Fredonia Technology Incubator; Marnie LaVigne,
associate vice president for economic development, University at
Buffalo; Brian Pearson, president, Valuation Advisors LLC; Daniel
Penberthy, executive vice president, Rand Capital Corp.; Michael
Weisman, executive vice president and co-founder of Campus Labs and
2001 Panasci TEC winner; and Alan Zdon, owner, MidnightBox.com and
2005 Panasci TEC winner.
The UB School of Management is recognized for its emphasis on
real-world learning, community and economic impact, and the global
perspective of its faculty, students and alumni. The school also
has been ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek, the Financial Times,
Forbes and the Wall Street Journal for the quality of its programs
and the return on investment it provides its graduates. For more
information about the UB School of Management, visit mgt.buffalo.edu.