From Idea to Business Viability

Published on December 11, 2017

Bauer Entrepreneurship Students Partner with University of Houston Researchers To Create Startup Business Plans for Intellectual Property

Students from Bauer College’s Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship competed this month, pitching business plans for intellectual property created at the University of Houston. The winning team, Zapp Technology, took home the $2,500 prize. From left, Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship Director David Cook, Giovanna Jimenez, Jaquelyn De La Garza, Caroline Ferguson, Dane Ralph and lecturer Keith Rassin.

Students from Bauer College’s Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship competed this month, pitching business plans for intellectual property created at the University of Houston.

Seven teams of WCE students were tasked with learning how each technology works, applying it, finding a market and creating a plan, ultimately presenting their proposal to technology business owners in the area. The teams, which competed for a grand prize of $2,500, can then take the business to a reality upon graduation.

“WCE students have a unique and powerful opportunity to collaborate with UH researchers and their technologies,” said director David Cook. “This experience creates a robust learning experience as our students research markets, build financial models and create presentations to compete around the country.”

He added: “It is possible that these technologies may result in company formations and revenue for UH, but in any event, WCE students have the advantage of working with ‘real’ technologies, in real markets with a real team. This experience is invaluable in their professional and personal growth.”


Competition Results

1st Place: Zapp Technology

2nd Place: Polar Panel

3rd Place: FiberTech

4th Place: Mofnite


Meet the Teams


MOFinite is a metal organic framework (MOF) that removes the highest capacity of hydrogen sulfide from natural gas. It is a small crystal that has the surface area of a football field. MOF can be heated to easily release the sulfur molecules and be safely disposed.

The Team: Shirin Lakhani, Munib Jamil, Noah Kara, Tiffany Thai, Solida Chem

Inventor: Dr. Allan Jacobson, Director of the Texas Center for Superconductivity, University of Houston


Robo Glove

Researchers at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) in collaboration with General Motors (GM), have designed, developed and patented RoboGlove, a wearable human grasp assist device to help reduce the grasping force needed by an individual to operate tools for an extended time, or when performing tasks having repetitive motion.

RoboGlove has the potential to help workers, such as construction workers, hazardous material workers, or assembly line operators, whose job requires continuous grasping and ungrasping motion. The RoboGlove also has potential applications in prosthetic devices, rehabilitation aids, and people with impaired or limited arm and hand muscle strength.

The Team: Madison Boehm, Scott Glaser, Andrew Lee, Alejandro Dolores, Roxana Bagheri

Inventors: Lyndon Bridgwater, Aeorspace Engineer, Automation, NASA; Jack James Head of Intellectual Property and Technology, Transfer Group, NASA



Labyrinth is a software that will help retailers understand the high and low traffic zones of their store.

The Team: Anne Yu, Shalee Hindes, Yotham Kassaye, George Chuang, Iman Balagam

Inventors: Shishir Shah, Associate Chair and Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Houston; Pranav Mantini, Post Doctoral Fellow, University of Houston


Polar Panel

Polar Panel uses a battery-free solar refrigeration technology that stores excess energy as ice to maintain temperatures without sunlight. The process behind the technology was patented by NASA. Polar Panel is adapting this technology for use in the refrigerated railcar industry to curb the financial and environmental impact of diesel generators.

The Team: Bradley Cathcart, JP Pimienta, Luke Walther, Christian Kladzyk, Viviane Nguyen

Inventors: David Bergeron, CEO, SunDanzer Refrigeration Incorporated; Michael Ewert, Life Support and Thermal Systems Analyst, NASA; Erin Laguio, Market Manager, CSX



FiberTech provides carbon reinforced fiberglass pipes for the oil and natural gas industry. Using our patented process, we transform carbon soot into carbon Nano-structures. These carbon Nano-structures are then applied to the production of fiberglass pipes and act as effective reinforcement.

The Team: Owen Loock, Anthony Carvajal, Mandu Mbride, Aisha Dosani, Jonathan Daniels

Inventor: Dr. Francisco C. Robles Hernández, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering Technology, University of Houston



MedOptic is a technology which combines post-eye operation bandage contact lenses and “eye-drop” medications. The purpose of this is to make it easier for patients to deal with the post-operational care needs, without having to remember to use eye drops.

The Team: Emre Tichelaar, Judy Mai, Thao Ngyuen, Tayler Banes, Fantasia Verma

Inventors: Dr. Guoting Qin, Research Assistant Professor, The Ocular Surface Institute, University of Houston; Dr. Chengzhi Cai, Professor, Chemistry, University of Houston


Zapp Technology

Zapp Technology’s mosquito zapping drone is a chemical free, safe and effective solution to eliminating and tracking mosquitoes. Through the use of drones and GPS technology, Zapp is able to kill mosquitoes and produce density maps that illustrate the areas of highest concentration, while the drone is learning and processing this information to predict the location of the most concentrated areas and eliminate the mosquitoes autonomously.

The Team: Giovanna Jimenez, Dane Ralph, Caroline Ferguson, Jaquelyn De La Garza

By Amanda Sebesta