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The 2017 inaugural class of participants completed a 7-week training and outreach program emphasizing the technology commercialization process through educational materials, training sessions, and coaching from experienced scientific and business professionals. The competition culminated Wednesday, April 5th with a final pitch competition at Memphis Bioworks.

The program showcased STEM-related intellectual properties (IPs) being generated at Memphis’ premier research institutions and provided entrepreneurship training to students and postdoctoral fellows. The participating teams, comprised of research scientists, business students, clinicians and mentors presented business plans and competed to win prizes in a final pitch competition, judged by the Memphis business community.

 It started with an IP parade, in which the 6 technologies from the 3 institutions (UTHSCSJCRH,UM) were introduced to the participants, who then were formed into teams by ranking which IP they wanted to work on. There were 4 education sessions (Business Model Canvas, Regulatory Affairs, IP, Pitching) and then the competition. Teams had 5 minutes to present, followed by 5 minutes of Q&A with the judges. The judges were local investors and tech transfer professionals.  A total of six teams participated in the final pitch competition.

Nanoseyet, the nanoparticle intraocular drug delivery system, took first place and the $4,000 prize. The Nanotrode and ProteinPaint teams tied for second place and were awarded $2,000 each.

“I think that the inaugural SciPreneur challenge was a huge success. In a very short period of time, teams of trainees at multiple levels from various Memphis institutions created de novo companies centered around technologies that were generated at UTHSC, St. Jude and U of M. This would be a major challenge for even more seasoned professionals. Despite the short period of time and the fact that none of these individuals have any experience with a start-up company, the six teams rose to the occasion and generated business plans, executive summaries, slide decks and incredible pitches.

I am honored that my nanoparticle technology was selected to be included in this year’s challenge. I am also so proud that my team, Nanoseyet, won first place in this year’s event. They all worked very hard and really gelled as a unit, which I think was key to their success. Even though this was an exercise, every member of Nanoseyet was fully committed to creating a real business. They reached out to me for guidance on scientific issues and Kayla Rodriguez Graff, their business mentor, for guidance on business-related aspects. By combining our mentoring with the knowledge they received from the various seminars they attended on topics ranging from regulatory affairs to customer discovery, they created a solid foundation for a bona fide company. Team Nanoseyet inspired me to do the same. As I move forward in that direction, I will likely call on members of my team for help.”

Dr. Monica Jablonski


Participating Teams

Nanoseyet (HSC)

Nanoparticle lntraocular Drug  Delivery System

Miranda Jarrett
Kimbra Turner
Daniel E. Bastardo Blanco
Raji Rajesh Lenin
Anne Guetschow

Scientific Mentor:
Monica Jablonski, PhD

Business Mentor:
Kayla Rodriguez Graff, MBA

Flex-Trac (HSC)

Mobility-Preserving Back Support

Bishwas Shrestha
Sharad Shrestha
Peter Oladimeji
Eli Ostrow
Lynn Kizer

Scientific Mentor:

Denis J DiAngelo, PhD

Business Mentor:
Stewart Young

Auth-Central (UofM)

Intelligent and Robust Multi-Factor Authentication Technology

RaJu Rayavarapu
Yatin Kothari
Misha McCleary
Rhemrose Sabio
Shobhit Saxena

Scientific Mentor:

Dipankar Dasgupta, PhD

Business Mentor:
Allan Daisley, MBA

Nanotrode (UofM)

Dry Electrodes for Vital Sign Monitoring

Ping-Chung Chen
Anisha Rathi
Sankedra Hudson
Farrah Phillips
Prakash Devaraju

Scientific Mentor:

Bashir Morshed, PhD

Business Mentor:
James Bell, MBA

FlewVac (SJCRH)

Avian Influenza Vaccine

Ajeeth Kumar Pingili
Cina Pourhashemi
Kevin Winder
Satish Kallappagoudar
Heba Mabrouk-Mostafa

Scientific Mentor:

Richard Webby, PhD

Business Mentor:
Chris Przybyszewski, MA

ProteinPaint (SJCRH)

Web App for Visualizing Genomic Data

Brittany Dong
Maria Purice
Helene Tournu
Evan Comeaux
Aaron Chakraborty

Scientific Mentors:

Xin Zhou, PhD & Chadwick Lynnis Riggs, MBA

Business Mentor:
Michael Hoffmeyer



MSC program (pdf)


The  Memphis Scipreneur Challenge (MSC) is an entrepreneurship-based competition organized by LifeSciTN’s Mid-South Academic Alliance in collaboration with Memphis Bioworks, University of Memphis (UofM), University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (SJCRH).

MSC  showcases IPs being generated at Memphis’ premier research institutions and provides entrepreneurship training to students and postdoctoral fellows. The participating teams, comprising of research scientists, business students and mentors, present business plans and compete to win prizes in the final pitch competition, judged by the Memphis business community. MSC is similar to UTRF’s Tennessee Venture Challenge and other regional TechVenture Challenges.