Twenty-seven teams and 76 students from across campus competed in the Transcend Madison Innovation Competition, UW’s first-ever student-led innovation competition, on March 10 and 11 at Union South.
Emonix, a company developed by two undergraduate students that strives to reduce the amount of salt used by water softeners, took home $7,500, two T-shirts, and received immediate enrollment into Madworks seed accelerator, an intensive, 10-week program to provide them with the resources, mentorship and $5,000 in capital to take their idea to the next level.
Second-place went to Metrecycle, which won $5,000, and third-place went to Trumpet Toasties which won $2,500.
STEMyng took home $2,000 for the Best Educational Enterprise, sponsored by WICEPS. Mitometer won $1,000 for both Fan Favorite and Best Prototype. Zuntik won $1,000 for Best Pitch. WeightUp Solutions won $1,000 for Best Business Model. Project Redistribute, by the student organization Enactus, won $1,000 for Best Social Enterprise.
While about a third of the teams walked away with some amount of prize money, the innovation competition did not just benefit the winners. Students, like sophomore Spencer Fricke who is working with virtual reality to revolutionize education in science and math, had the chance to meet area entrepreneurs and network to take their ideas further.
“I have got a lot of people who are personally interested in either working with me or helping me because they met me at the competition,” Fricke said.
Transcend Engineering, a UW-Madison student organization dedicated to driving student innovation, hosted the competition.