mHUB Innovation mHUB Venture Board Hosts First mHUB Venture Challenge
Two weeks ago five mHUB member companies pitched in front of their peers and the public for $35,000 in prizes. They were finalists in the mHUB Venture Board’s Venture Challenge, an mHUB-exclusive pitch competition for pre-seed, early-stage companies, sponsored by KPMG, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, IA Collaborative, and MB Financial.

 

The mHUB Venture Board is a volunteer auxiliary board made up of young professionals within the community focused on supporting entrepreneurship at mHUB.

 

“The venture board observed that hardware startups are disadvantaged compared to their software counterparts when it comes to fundraising. Traditionally more initial capital is needed for hardware than software,” said John Busch, mHUB Venture Board president and founder. “We wanted to alleviate some of the pain involved and felt this area would be worthy of our efforts.”

 

Over twenty mHUB member companies applied for the challenge, with five moving onto the pitch competition round: aLoo, Colca LLC, MakeXchange, PraxiCut, and SymGym. They represent some of mHUB’s best and brightest pre-seed and early stage companies.

 

aLoo is a device that reduces backwash contamination of breast milk or formula during bottle feeding. Developed at mHUB by Aarti Mehta MD and Kapil Kalokhe, aLoo surpassed its Kickstarter goal in 2017 and is available on the aLoo website and on Amazon.

 

Colca LLC is a technology that monitors failures of mechanical systems in condominiums, apartments, and private residences. Founder Alon Friedman has used mHUB to prototype his product since May 2017.

 

MakeXchange creates and sells STEM education toys and games that make it easy to learn about the worlds of invention, programming, electronics, and science. Founded by Joe Greer and developed at mHUB, MakeXchange’s first product is an electronics invention kit, available on the MakeXchange website and Amazon.

 

PraxiCut creates surgical simulation technology for residents and fellows to practice surgery. Founders Cecilie and Sabina Tassone used mHUB as a product development resource for their dissection models and are currently planning their product validation studies across several hospitals.

 

SymGym SymGym is an interactive augmented reality workout supported by the SymGym controller. Founded by Robert Quinn and Ivan Kiselev in 2013, the team is currently using mHUB to build out their prototype.

  • Kapil Kalokhe and Aarti Mehta MD of aLoo

  • Alon Friedman of Colca LLC

  • Joe Greer of MakeXchange

  • Cecile Tassone of PraxiCut

  • Robert Quinn of SymGym

 

The top three winners were as follows:

 

1st Place: PraxiCut, with winnings of $15,000 of non-dilutive cash, along with a $10,000 interdisciplinary design workshop from IA Collaborative, $5,000 of pro-bono tax and business consulting from KPMG, and a month of free membership at mHUB

 

2nd Place: aLoo, with winnings of $5,000 of non-dilutive cash

 

3rd Place: MakeXchange, with winnings of $1,000 of non-dilutive cash

  • Image

    John Busch, mHUB Venture Board and KPMG, Haven Allen, mHUB, Cecilie Tassone, PraxiCut, Sabina Tassone, PraxiCut, Michael Welton, mHUB Venture Board and KPMG, Michael Donnelly, mHUB Venture Board and Venture FWD

  • Image

    John Busch, mHUB Venture Board and KPMG, Haven Allen, mHUB, Michael Welton, mHUB Venture Board and KPMG, Kapil Kalokhe, aLoo, Aarti Mehta MD, aLoo, Michael Donnelly, mHUB Venture Board and Venture FWD

  • Image

    John Busch, mHUB Venture Board and KPMG, Haven Allen, mHUB, Joe Greer, MakeXchange, Michael Welton, mHUB Venture Board and KPMG, Michael Donnelly, mHUB Venture Board and KPMG

 

“The funding gap in physical products is real, and funding is particularly crucial at the pre-seed early stage for these companies,” said Haven Allen, mHUB CEO, at the end of the evening.

 

The mHUB Venture Board aims to provide even more funding opportunities for mHUB member companies for next year’s Venture Challenge. In the meantime, look out for news regarding more venture board hosted events at www.mhubchicago.com/events.

 

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