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Kaylie Entrepreneurship Prize Finalists Announced

February 15, 2011

Kaylie Entrepreneurship Prize Finalists Announced

Shiraz Macuf, right, Cable Inspecting Robots team leader makes "elevator pitch" for its proposal, one of five finalists chosen in the first annual Kaylie Prize for Entrepreneurship competition at The City College of New York. Looking on is Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering Dr. Dan Steingart, the competition's faculty supervisor.

Five teams comprised of 23 students were announced today as finalists to compete for the first annual Kaylie Prize for Entrepreneurship at The City College of New York.  Over the next four months, the teams will refine their business ideas as they compete for the first prize: financial support and housing to work over the summer in a Silicon Valley garage-like environment to further develop their projects.

“The Kaylie Prize has generated tremendous excitement among our students,” said Dr. Dan Steingart, assistant professor of chemical engineering in the Grove School of Engineering, who serves as faculty supervisor for the competition.  “Shortly after it was announced, more than 35 teams mobilized to submit proposals for consideration by the judges.  This tremendous response shows that the spirit of entrepreneurship is flourishing at City College.”

The five finalist teams, their members and product ideas are:

Cable Inspecting Robots: Denis Arce, Rachel M. Lovell, Shiraz Macuff and Kenshin Ushiroda; robots that climb bridges to detect corrosion and failure points.  The team is advised by Dr. John (Jizhong) Xiao, associate professor of electrical engineering.

Stoke Innovation: James Scholtz, Sergey Lyapustin and Wayne Parkinson; cancer detection through light analysis.  The team is advised by Dr. Robert Alfano, distinguished professor of science and engineering.

Dynamic Braille: Joseph Borrello, Jeremy Cortez, Sullivan Fleming, Sankha Ghatak and Nick Macaluso; lower-cost braille computer interfaces.  The team is advised by Dr. Ilona Kretzschmar, associate professor of chemical engineering. Arber Ruci, Ariel Terefici, Arijon Xhelo, Edina Bektesevic and Jonida Xhaferaj; web-based virtual study group software.

MedMobileBP: Satadru Pramanik, Mohammod Arafat, Ishmam Ibtida, Khrisendat Persaud, Gerardo Sevilla and Michael Cheng; cell phone-based medical diagnostics.

The three finalist teams with faculty advisors are developing their business ideas around fundamental research conducted by their mentors.  “That’s a real exciting idea in and of itself: students doing the translational work to commercialize knowledge developed by their professors,” said Dr. Joseph Barba, dean of the Grove School.  “It adds a truly novel dimension to the learning experience at City College.”

A six-member panel of judges that included entrepreneurs and intellectual property attorneys selected the five finalists.  Serving on the panel were:

Hassan Albakri, associate, intellectual property, Bryan Cave LLP.

Gene Berdivchevsky, entrepreneur-in-residence, Sutter Hill Ventures.

Rob Faludi, director of user experience, Tendril Inc., and adjunct professor, School of Visual Arts and New York University.

Alicia Gibb, gadget wrangler, Bug Labs.

Christine Ho, co-founder, Imprint Energy, a printed battery start-up.
Zach Smith, co-founder, Makerbot Industries, a supplier of open-source 3D printers based in Brooklyn.

The Kaylie Prize for Entrepreneurship was established in 2010 through an endowment given to City College by alumnus Harvey Kaylie, ’60. Mr. Kaylie is president and founder of Mini-Circuits, a Brooklyn-based RF and microwave electronic components design, manufacture and distribution company.  Established in 1969, the company has grown into a global leader in RF, IF and microwave components for commercial, industrial, space and military applications.