In the News

2016 Big Bang! Business Competition: Finalists Vie for $50,000 in Prizes
Final Presentations + Awards Ceremony — May 26

The five finalist teams in the 2016 UC Davis Big Bang! Business Competition will pitch their ventures this Thursday, May 26, at an awards ceremony at the Walter A. Buehler Alumni Center.

Forty-two teams representing 120 aspiring entrepreneurs participated in the 16th annual competition. The contest provides workshops, mentorship, financing guidance and networking opportunities to accelerate commercialization and advance the startup process, and is open to students, faculty, researchers and staff.

$50,000 in prizes is at stake, the largest pot in the competition’s history. The first prize award is $10,000 cash, plus $10,000 in in-kind services from Davis Roots, a local startup incubator with strong ties to both the university and the city of Davis. The second place team will receive $5,000 in cash, plus $10,000 in in-kind services from Davis Roots. Attendees at Thursday’s event will vote to select the $2,500 People’s Choice Award winner. 

Another $12,500 in prizes will be awarded to top concepts addressing biomedical innovation, clean tech, global poverty alleviation, and innovation in food and agriculture.

“We’re pleased to see the high caliber of this year’s finalists,” said Cleveland Justis, executive director of the UC Davis Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which organizes and hosts the competition. “UC Davis has made a determined effort campus-wide to support innovation and entrepreneurship, and the results are really starting to pay off.” 

The Big Bang! has produced many teams that have become successful startups since the contest began in 2000.

“Particularly impressive this year is the degree to which we’re seeing companies grounded in UC Davis’ strengths in biomedical innovation, energy and computer science. These companies will change the world and—with determination—become profitable.”

The five teams presenting at the ceremony are:
  • Eclasstic trains international students and business professionals in English ​communication skills in the context of U.S. business and academic culture. Using a ​blended learning method, trainees attend live sessions and use an interactive video-based app to improve communication for teams, achieve clarity in pronunciation, and add critical skills to be more successful in work and study. View video >
    Team Lead: Matthew Vendryes, English instructor, UC Davis Extension
  • ImmunoTag develops novel antibody conjugation technologies. Its patented platform Linker Technology allows ImmunoTag to link virtually any small molecule to any antibody in as little as 15 minutes, saving hundreds of millions of dollars in drug manufacturing costs, speeding the approval of its drugs through clinical trials, and prolonging and saving the lives of millions of cancer patients each year. View video >
    Team Lead: Samantha Feng, Ph. D. candidate, pharmacology and toxicology, UC Davis
  • Phoenix Lift hopes to revolutionize the orthotic market with an affordable device that alleviates drop foot. The device knows where in the walking cycle the user is, and automatically lifts their foot. View video > 
    Team Lead: Gabriel Jagoe-Seidl, 4th year student, biomedical engineering, UC Davis
  • PlayPatch has created a wearable fertility tracker that makes natural birth control easy. The PlayPatch is as effective as the pill and offers a solution for the 6.6 million U.S. women who are dissatisfied with their contraceptive method. View video >
    Team Members: Team lead Justin Klein, Ph.D. candidate, biomedical engineering, UC Davis; Chuck Temple, UC Davis MBA student
  • Super Lithium Technology​ is developing the most durable high-power battery for automobiles and stationary energy storage. View video >
    Team Lead: Sam Zhang, Ph.D., biological systems engineering, UC Davis. Team includes Ari Halberstadt, UC Davis MBA student.
Keynote speaker:
  • Anthony Soohoo,  founder and CEO, Dot & Bo

A reception begins at 5 p.m., with presentations and the awards ceremony from 6 to 8 p.m. at the UC Davis Walter A. Buehler Alumni Center. Admission is free, but reservations are requested. RSVP here >

Competition sponsors

Platinum level: Andy Barkett, Davis Roots, DLA Piper, Morrison & Foerster, Sierra Energy

Gold level: Lamplighter Financial

Silver level: Akers Capital LLC, Central Valley Fund, CITRIS, Ernst & Young, Five Star Bank, Moss Adams LLP, Gary Simon, SMUD, UC Davis Blum Center for Developing Economies, Office of Research, School of Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine and World Food Center

Bronze level: Bay Area Council, Dow, PIPRA

More about the Big Bang! >