By John Larrabee
(Correction, Dec. 13)
PROVIDENCE – The top prize in this year’s Rhode Island Elevator Pitch Contest went to a Pawtucket company with a product that could save the lives of stroke and heart attack victims.
Kippkitts LLC took the $300 award on Wednesday night with a proposal for a portable device that could be used by EMTs to reduce a person’s core body temperature after a heart attack or stroke. According to presenter Kipp Bradford, research has shown that cooling the body could reduce mortality by 50 percent. The market: the 35,000 ambulances in the United States. Bradford described Kippkitts as a company that invents products that “solve problems that matter” in medical, engineering and design fields. The portable cooling system is already in development.
A panel of judges awarded a total of $1,000 in prizes to the top nine presenters at the sixth annual statewide Elevator Pitch Contest. The contest is a lead-up to the annual Rhode Island Business Plan Competition, at which the prizes total more than $200,000 in cash or professional services. The contest is meant to promote entrepreneurship and job creation in the Ocean State.
The application deadline for the business plan competition is April 2. See www.ri-bizplan.com for details.
The elevator contest is so named because competitors are required to pitch their business idea in 90 seconds, about the same amount of time they would have should they bump into a potential investor in an elevator. This year’s event was a huge success according to organizers, with more than 50 entries. As in past years, there were many pitches involving high-tech and electronics communications. But the innovators of 2011 showed they have a strong interest in medical services and green technology as well. They’re also looking at fashion, fitness, social media, education and child care.
“We had a lot of great ideas,” said Larry Davidson of the Providence accounting firm Kahn, Litwin, Renza & Co., one of the organizers of the event. “They all didn’t get into the final round, obviously. There’s something to be learned here for everyone. Starting a business can be discouraging, and you’ll face a lot of rejection, but you shouldn’t let that discourage you.”
The $200 second prizes went to Innovostics, a company run out of the Center for Bioengineering Innovation & Design at Johns Hopkins University, and Easy Island, Inc., whose partners include a University of Rhode Island student.
Innovostics is looking at new medical-test kits that could help doctors diagnose fevers in regions where hospital resources may not be available. According to the company’s pitch, misdiagnosis of bacterial pneumonia and malaria claims the lives of more than 3 million children each year, mostly in developing nations in Africa and Asia.
Easy Island Inc. has a plan to produce disposable plates that can be “thrown away guilt-free,” according to presenter and URI student Kristen Legge. That’s because the plates will be completely biodegradable, and could even be used as garden mulch.
The other six finalists in the competition were:
Judges for the event were:
Correction to information on Innovostics.