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2018 Big Bang! Business Competition to Award More Than $100,000 in Prizes
Finalist Presentations + Awards Ceremony Held May 24

The five finalist teams in the 2018 UC Davis Big Bang! Business Competition will pitch their ventures this Thursday, May 24, at an awards ceremony at the Walter A. Buehler Alumni Center.

Sixty-two teams representing more than 250 aspiring entrepreneurs participated in the 18th annual competition. The contest provides workshops, mentorship, and networking opportunities to accelerate commercialization and advance the startup process. It is open to UC Davis students, faculty, researchers and staff as well as to the public.


2018 Big Bang! Business Competition to Award More Than $100,000 in Prizes

This year’s competition will award more than $100,000 in prizes, the largest purse in its history. The first prize award is $10,000 cash. The second place team will receive $5,000 in cash. The audience at Thursday’s event will vote to select the $2,500 People’s Choice Award winner. The five finalist teams are eligible for these prizes.

Our finalist teams are:

Anu Snacks (Sacramento): all-natural barley grain snacks
Team Lead: Denise Bronner, UC Davis Postdoctoral Scholar and Business Development Fellow

Cognivive Inc. (Davis): digital medicines for impaired brain function
Team Lead: Tony J. Simon, Ph.D., Associate Director of Behavioral Sciences, UC Davis MIND Institute
Team includes Sara Howard, MBA student at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management

Compassionlit (Los Angeles area): phototherapy for developing-world newborns with jaundice
Member: 2018 UC PLASMA cohort
Team Lead: Nicolle Ma, B.A. in Psychology, B.S. in Human Biology and M.S. in Biology, UC San Diego
Team includes UC Davis alumnus Scott He MBA 16

DTE Materials (San Luis Obispo): sustainable building insulation derived from natural fibers
Team Lead: Tanner Jolly, B.S., Materials Engineering, California Polytechnic State University–San Luis Obispo

Japa Inc. (Davis): a smart parking system that delivers real-time availability
Team Lead: Mathew Magno, B.S. in Computer Science, 2018, UC Davis; Co-Founder/Director, PLASMA at UC Davis
Team includes Charles Chen, B.S. in Computer Science, 2018, UC Davis

Additional prizes will be awarded to top concepts addressing innovations in food and agriculture, health, energy efficiency, global poverty alleviation, small-scale farmers in developing countries, economic development in California’s Central Valley and more. The competition’s 15 semifinalist teams are eligible for these prizes

The Big Bang! this year included three Little Bang! Pitch + Poster Competitions designed to help UC Davis undergraduate and graduate students define their business idea and communicate it concisely through a poster. These entry-level contests supported students who are first exploring entrepreneurship, and promote business ideas where university intellectual property is not a primary driver. The Little Bang! is funded by the State of California through Assembly Bill 2664: University of California Innovation and Entrepreneurship Expansion.

In addition, a Big Bang! Food and Ag Pitch + Poster Competition, open to the public, offers three awards totaling $5,000 for innovations in food and agriculture.

A networking reception begins at 5 p.m., with presentations and the awards ceremony from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The event is free, but reservations are requested. RSVP here >

Competition sponsors

Endowment: Andrew Barkett Business Competition Endowed Fund,  Mike and Renée Child Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Endowment, Gary Simon and CleanStart Clean Tech Endowment

Platinum level: AGR Partners, BlueTechValley, DLA Piper US LLP, Gowan Co. LLC 

Gold level: Bayer

Silver level: Barry and Lynda Keller and the Sacramento Region Community Foundation​, Lamplighter Financial LLC, Marrone Bio Innovations, Sierra Energy, UC Davis Blum Center for Global Affairs, WilmerHale

Bronze level: Dow International, EY, Five Star Bank, Steve Hill, HM.CLAUSE, Inventopia, IN2, Abigail A. Lunardini, UC Davis Innovation Institute for Food and Health, UC Davis School of Medicine, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

More about the Big Bang! >