Brown engineering students take top prize at RI Business Plan Competition

Brown School of Engineering seniors Abbie Kohler ’20 and Greg Boudreau-Fine ’20 were named winners of the MedTech track last week at the 2020 Rhode Island Business Competition. Winners were announced Wednesday, May 13 at a virtual awards ceremony.

Abbie Kohler
Abigail Kohler '20

Kohler and Boudreau-Fine’s venture, ResusciTech, is a novel CPR feedback device that will give people the ability to perform CPR accurately in order to increase survival rates of victims of cardiac arrest. The duo received $10,000 in cash along with $40,025 in professional and consulting services. Additionally, they will benefit from 20 hours of mentoring services provided by the New England Medical Innovation Center (NEMIC).

Greg Boudreau-Fine
Greg Boudreau-Fine '20

ResusciTech aims to produce a wearable aid to improve the quality of chest compressions. Currently, CPR only has a 40 percent success rate, primarily because of failure to follow CPR guidelines. Rescuers are often stressed and become fatigued as they are performing CPR, making it difficult to maintain the required compression depth and frequency. Studies indicate that this could be improved significantly by providing real time feedback to first responders, helping them to adjust their compressions to give victims the best chance of survival. Kohler and Boudreau-Fine’s app aims to do this by using a proprietary design and simple user interface that is streamlined for rescuers to use in emergency situations. This will result in higher rescuer confidence in their performance of CPR, as well as increased quality of care and survival rate for victims of cardiac arrest.

Kohler (biomedical engineering) and Boudreau-Fine (electrical engineering) were named last fall to Rhode Island Inno’s second annual Inno Under 25 list, a compilation of the best of the Ocean State’s young innovators. The pair spent the summer of 2019 developing ResusciTech in Providence at Brown University’s Breakthrough Lab, an intensive eight-week accelerator program designed to support student entrepreneurs and their high-impact ventures.

ResusciTech was chosen the winner over finalists bosWell, a two-sided marketplace intended to connect health plans and providers to community-based organizations utilizing a free application for client management and linking individuals at these touch points back to care teams, and Synapse Dental, a low-cost, highly effective device to mitigate oral/dental pain in under two minutes for most oral pain issues.

The Rhode Island Business Competition aims to create and foster growth companies in Rhode Island that will increase local employment. This year the competition had two tracks. The MedTech track was supported by Rhode Island Commerce and managed by NEMIC to enhance one of R.I.'s strong and emerging business sectors: medical technologies. The Entrepreneur track is for all other participants which can include any industry specialty. 

Winning the Entrepreneur track was Jonathan Lord, who with his team has designed, manufactured, and marketed electric outboard marine motors for the boating industry called Flux Marine. Finalists in the track included Retail Marketpoint, which has developed a universal, objective, real-time measure that instantly evaluates any location in the U.S. for any retail brand or concept, and Brown’s Jack Roswell (mechanical engineering) and Alex Zhuk’s (mechanical engineering) venture Cloud Agronomics.

Cloud Agronomics Inc. is developing a global analytics platform marketed to traders and producers utilizing advanced cameras mounted on a network of aircraft to gather crop data. Like a CT scan for crops and soil, their breakthrough in geospatial imaging enables in depth nutrient analysis, yield predictions, and carbon monitoring and verification, enabling the digital revolution toward sustainable food production. Entrepreneur Track finalists each received $5,000 in cash and services valued at $13,725.

Established in 2000, the Rhode Island Business Competition is supported by a broad range of sponsors that include private businesses, investors, foundations, colleges and universities, public entities, nonprofit organizations, and former competitors. Today, it is the leading community-supported business plan competition in the Northeast. The competition encourages plans for new businesses, as well as from early stage companies. An early stage, or seed stage, company typically is at the inventor stage where there is an idea, a concept, or even a product, but little or no income has been generated yet.

ResusciTech is the inaugural MedTech track winner of the competition. Entrepreneur track winners connected to Brown in the recent past include Uproot (2019), Your Heaven Audio (2018), HM Solution (2015), Lucidux (2011, founded by Jason Harry, who is now a Professor of the Practice in the Brown School of Engineering) and Axon Labs (2006). From 2006 to 2019, the competition also featured a student track which included winners from Brown University such as H2Ok Innovations (2019), TextUp (2018), Namito (2015), Dual Server Cooling (2014), Azavy (2013), (2012), Premama (2011), Speramus (2010), Runa (2009) and ShapeUp (2007).