BYU student startup takes top honors in Utah Entrepreneur Challenge

The Utah Entrepreneur Challenge awarded Portal, a student startup from Brigham Young University that developed a revolutionary way to open doors for wheelchair users, with the grand prize and first place title. (Photo: Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, University of Utah)

(KUTV) -- The Utah Entrepreneur Challenge awarded Portal, a student startup from Brigham Young University that developed a revolutionary way to open doors for wheelchair users, with the grand prize and first place title.

The students received $40,000 at the 2018 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge at the University of Utah on Saturday at the statewide business model competition open to all university students in the Utah.

Portal's device overcomes the major issue of automatic door opening buttons for wheelchair users by use of a downloadable app. The app opens the door if the user comes within a five-foot radius, and the door remains open until the user has left the range of the app.

“The best and most important part of the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge is to see the innovative and creative solutions that students develop to solve problems and improve the entrepreneurial space,” said Mark Pratt, a University of Utah student and marketing director of the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge, in a press release. “It is wonderful to see how this event has grown and to be able to have the business competition held at Lassonde Studios. It was definitely a successful event.”

Additional prizes were awarded to the team with the best video, design, presentation, technology and more.

“I was so impressed with the level of competition this year,” said Brody King, a University of Utah student and chair of the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge, in a prepared statement. “It was a fantastic experience going from a competitor the last two years to running the UEC this year. I am very proud of the work that my team has put into running the event this year, and I think it was a tremendous success overall.”

The competition was managed by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business, and sponsored by Zions Bank.

Winners of the 2018 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge

Grand Prize Award ($40,000): Portal

Second Place ($10,000): ProLink

Third Place ($5000): BayWatch Technologies

Emerging Entrepreneur 1 ($1,500): Electrochrome LLC

Emerging Entrepreneur 2 ($1,500): ScreenLog

Best Speed Pitch Award ($1,000): Portal

People’s Choice Video Prize ($1,000): Electrochrome LLC

In-Kind Awards:

Stoel Rives Best Technology Award ($5,000 value): RhinoStasis

Snell & Wilmer Intellectual Property Award ($5,000 value): Portal

Espiritu Best Design Award ($2,000 value): Portal

Additional Cash Prizes:

The Actium Bootstrap Award ($1,000): Maple Canyon Adventures

The Jones Waldo Peoples Choice Video Award ($1,000): Electrochrome LLC

Top 20 winners packet (All teams):

Zions Bank – Top 20 Finalist Award ($500)

Workman Nyedeggar – 1 hour IP consultation & patent search ($250)

Tanner Co – 2 hours financial consultation ($500)

Impact Hub – 50 percent off co-work membership ($100/month)

Utah Entrepreneur Challenge Top 20 Teams

Here are the top 20 teams in the 2018 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge.

AllyWatch (BYU) – The 21st century “LifeAlert” that revolutionizes the care of aging adults.

Barolock (UofU) – Developing a new innovative hip implant device.

BayWatch Technologies (BYU) – Building camera and software solutions for auto insurance claims.

Burp Book (Dixie) – Creating baby products to make caring for infants easier.

ColoClean (UofU) – Providing a comprehensive colonoscopy preparation kit.

Easy Scholarship (SUU) – Helping international athletes obtain athletic scholarships and get recruited into U.S. universities.

Electrochrome LLC (UofU) – Creating smart glass technology that allows you to control the tint of your glass at the touch of a button.

KB Medical (UofU) – Creating an improved oncological surgical drain.

Khione Outdoor Gear (BYU) – Creating a camping shelter that is used with a hammock.

Maple Canyon Adventures (Snow) – Guided rock climbing tours in Maple Canyon.

Mentionables (BYU) – A lingerie website dedicated to model-free photos, classy styles and pretty prices.

Nani Swimwear (USU) – Offering affordable, trendy women’s swimsuits with more coverage.

Other Half App (Westminster) – A new social app that encourages users to be social with their friends both online and in real life.

Portal (BYU) – Revolutionizing the way doors open for wheelchair users.

ProLink (UVU) – Creating the LinkedIn of gaming.

RhinoStasis (Weber) – Developing an effective, easy-to-use, chemically treated nasal insert that will help stop nosebleeds.

ScreenLog (SLCC) – Developing a tool to help streamline communication between client and web developers.

SonoShield (UofU) – Improving the durability of ultrasound probes.

Southrail (UofU) – Providing a higher-speed rail service between neighboring cities.

Zero Stitch (SUU) – Developing an adhesive bandage to replace stitches for at-home use.

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