APRIL 24, 2023 — Four teams, including three made up of UTSA students, won prizes during the first annual UTSA Draper Data Science Business Plan Competition. These teams were among six finalists chosen to pitch their business plans to a team of judges in front of an audience of approximately 100 people in the Weston Conference Center at San Pedro I, competing for prizes of up to $30,000.
The competition was made possible by a $1 million donation from third-generation venture capitalist and founder of Draper University Timothy Draper, and his wife, Melissa Parker Draper. While the Draper Competition exists in various forms at other universities, the competition held at the UTSA School of Data Science is unique as it focuses on data science and its applications in entrepreneurship.
“Throughout history we have been shown how dreams can and do become reality, and I think this competition proves that with these teams today showing us their passion for data science and showcasing their vision,” said UTSA School of Data Science Manager of Strategic Initiatives Amanda Mukengeshayi Brown, as she introduced the presenting teams.
Of the six competing teams, four ultimately received prizes totaling $75,000.
Ultratech from UTSA took first place for their "Ultra Sleeve." Photo courtesy of Donnie Aronson, Johnny Bender Productions.
The first-place prize of $30,000 was awarded to Ultratech, from UTSA, for their “Ultra Sleeve,” which combines ultrasound imaging technology with a deep learning neural network to monitor the health of an athlete’s anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) by detecting the presence of microtears. In addition to the first-place prize, Ultratech was also named the fan-favorite team by the audience, winning the students an additional $5,000.
“It was very shocking to win, but we’re very grateful for it,” said Ultratech’s Chief Technical Officer, Arnob Haque, a senior biomedical engineering student.
The team’s chief executive officer, Yohannes Akiel, also a senior biomedical engineering student, added, “All the other teams did an amazing job as well. It was really fun to compete against the other teams.”
The Ultratech team also includes three other senior undergraduate students: Ikram Ahmad and Tristan Pepper, both biomedical engineering majors; and Josh Klopfenstein, a computer science major. Akiel, Haque, Ahmad and Pepper, who already knew each other, met Klopfenstein two years ago. From there, the five students conceived the idea behind Ultratech and have been working on it for the last year.
“It was very nice to see it all come together, each of our parts that we put into it,” Haque said. “Coming from where we are in the sciences, you tend to see people specialize and then shut themselves off into their individual labs, but to see our various interest come together, that was nice.”
In second place was MitoAI, from Carnegie Mellon University. Photo courtesy of Donnie Aronson, Johnny Bender Productions.
MitoAI presented their AI-manipulated robotic system for improving cell culturing protocols. They won $20,000.
Coming in third place and winning $10,000 was Aptitude Medical Modeling. Photo courtesy of Donnie Aronson, Johnny Bender Productions.
Aptitude Medical Modeling, a collaboration between UTSA and UT Health San Antonio pitched an interactive and predictive AI-based tool to help patients and providers better predict the outcomes of cosmetic medical procedures.
The UTSA team that pitched SilentSiren received two awards: $5,000 honorable mention and a $5,000 bonus at the judges' discretion. Photo courtesy of Donnie Aronson, Johnny Bender Productions.
The Draper Data Science Business Plan Competition is an annual event hosted by the School of Data Science. A recording of the competition and the teams’ presentations will be made available on the Draper website soon.
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