The finalists of the third annual USC Viterbi School of Engineering Maseeh Entrepreneurship Prize Competition reconvened on March 28, 2013 for a final round of presentations, and the winners emerged. The seven hopeful entrepreneurial teams presented their business ideas to a panel of judges in the Forum of Tutor Campus Center. Each 10-minute presentation outlined how their ideas will revolutionize their given field and be highly profitable in the long term.
At stake were four Alumni Choice Awards, ranging from $5,000 to $25,000, as well as the $50,000 grand prize. And for some teams like Fluid Synchrony, matching government funds could make any prize even more impactful for their company.
The grand prize and giant check for $50,000 went to none other than the Second Spectrum team: USC Viterbi computer scientists Rajiv Maheswaran and Yu-Han Chang and their students, Adam Wexler, Sheldon Kwok, and Tal Levy.
The Second Spectrum team wins the Maseeh Entrepreneurship Prize Competition
Maheswaran explained the significance of this award, saying, “We’re incredibly thrilled. We’re USC faculty, and we’re very committed to USC, so it’s nice to know that USC is supporting our efforts. It’s really validating to know that we’re going in the right direction.”
The fourth place Alumni Choice Award of $5,000 went to InPower for their intelligent integrated circuits. In third place, and with another award of $5,000, was Second Spectrum and their motion analytics. Infomax’s enhanced Wi-Fi came in second place with an award of $15,000. And the first place Alumni Choice Award of $25,000 was given to Fluid Synchrony for their revolutionary drug-delivery pump. In addition to these awards and the flexibility they will give these burgeoning companies, the prize winners also received awards for free legal services.
The panel of judges had to make some very tough choices, as all the teams did an excellent job of pitching the importance and profitability of their ventures. Additionally, the breadth of topics covered showcased USC Viterbi’s wide range of mastery and ingenuity:
CornSuite developed an algorithm to enhance images based on how our brains process visual information, as opposed to enhanced printing quality as one might suspect.
Flashquest gives businesses tools to improve relations with their customers and build highly rewarding loyalty programs. The smartphone app allows companies to reward customers who share pictures and mention their business on social media.
Fluid Synchrony developed a highly efficient and compact medical pump to provide a more targeted and precise drug delivery system.
Infomax has a system to maximize bandwidth of existing Wi-Fi networks that could later be applied to cellular communication systems.
InPower promises to run integrated circuits with intelligent software, helping to solve the power ceiling many of our favorite devices have come up against.
Media Q offers a way for smartphone users to sell their pictures and videos to major media outlets. Key to their platform is technology that automatically tags people and locations in the images, making them instantly and easily searchable for buyers.
Second Spectrum’s motto is, “We turn numbers into insight.” Indeed, they make meaning of huge swaths of spatial temporal data collected from motion-tracking cameras through data analytics and data visualization. The application focus is currently NBA team performance.