April 18, 2018
College of Engineering and Computer Science students Kayla Simon ’19 and Elizabeth Tarangelo ’19 took first place and a $20,000 prize in the 2018 Panasci Business Plan Competition with their In-Spire wearable asthma inhaler. The competition is hosted by the Martin J. Whitman School of Management.
“We’re honored that the judges saw the potential for In-Spire and our business plan,” said Tarangelo. “We have a lot of work ahead of us but this prize money will go a long way towards moving us forward.”
In-Spire is a bracelet that holds up to ten doses of asthma medication. Tarangelo, a bioengineering major, has exercise-induced asthma and saw a need for a portable inhaler after realizing she did not always have one nearby when she needed it. She teamed up with Simon, an aerospace engineering major, during the 2017 [email protected] invention accelerator program in New York City and their invention took first place. [email protected] gave them experience pitching In-Spire to guest evaluators and judges, but Simon and Tarangelo had to learn to structure and format a business plan to compete with students who had more experience creating growth-oriented business models.
“As engineers we have all the technical details but to write the business plan we had to do a lot of research,” said Simon. “You also need to be able to show it can succeed financially.”
“Blackstone LaunchPad has been instrumental in moving us forward, they have experience in the startup world and can connect us with business, marketing and legal help from all across the SU campus,” said Tarangelo.
In-Spire also tied for first place at Syracuse University’s Impact Prize awards, won the SU campus ACC InVenture Prize competition and took first place in the Product category at the SU iPrize Competition. They have also been working with the New York State Science and Law Technology Center at the SU College of Law on an Intellectual Property report, and just applied to the CNY Biotech Accelerator for the prestigious Medical Device Innovation Challenge.
“It is such a pleasure to work with the accomplished In-Spire team. They have a compelling invention, and have invested a great deal of time and energy to turn it into a strong business model, supported by industry and market research, and a clear path to market. We look forward to continuing to work with them on their roadmap, which includes incorporation, finalizing their patent, final prototype and testing, and the FDA approval process. The [email protected] program put them in such a competitive position, and the SU innovation ecosystem helped accelerate their progress,” said Blackstone LaunchPad Executive Director Linda Hartsock.
Later this month, the In-Spire team will be part of the New York State Business Plan Competition.
“Getting feedback from judges has been invaluable. It has validated that this is something we should keep pursuing,” said Tarangelo.
As student entrepreneurs, Simon and Tarangelo are busy balancing engineering courses while also growing their business. It is not easy but they have no doubt there is a demand for their wearable inhaler.
“We have met so many people with asthma, parents, entrepreneurs, even judges who say they want to be our first customer,” said Simon.
Team WAYV finished in second place at the Panasci Business Plan Competition and won $7,500. WAYV team members Julia Haber, Mitchel Myers, Alex Hively, Dylan Gans, and Sarah Mathews developed a business that facilitates an experiential connection between brands and college students through a unique pop-up shop experience.
Team Miruku finished in third place and won $2500. Miruku team members Thuy Nguyen and Giorgio Parlato developed a unique peanut milk beverage made with sustainable ingredients that has more protein than other non-dairy milk types.
For a full list of winners, click here.