These Three Startup Teams Will Vie For The $50K BIG IdeaBounce Prize
Wash U’s Olin Business School BIG IndeaBounce finalists: Alexander Dungate of Ondeck Fisheries (top left), Dr. Linda Wu of MiDoc (top right), and Adam Hokin of PedalCell (bottom)
OnDeck Fisheries has created a monitoring tool that meets regulatory needs using AI instead of humans to automatically quantify the numbers of fish caught, revolutionizing marine conservation while cutting costs by a factor of 10.
Pedal Cell has launched with a unique bicycle power source that converts a cyclist’s motion into continuous charge for lights, smartphones, GPS, and other essential USB devices.
MiDoc has imagined an at-home medical device that allows physicians to remotely conduct lung and heart physical exams, revolutionizing the patient-provider telehealth experience and improving healthcare access, affordability, convenience, and quality.
Three great ideas. Three great startup teams. And all three have been named finalists out of an initial crop of a dozen startups in our BIG IdeaBounce competition sponsored by Washington University’s Olin Business School, the winner of our 2022 ranking of the best MBA programs for entrepreneurship.
Overall, WashU Olin’s BIG IdeaBounce® powered by Poets&Quants pitch contest attracted 167 founders and founding teams from all over the world, including India, Nigeria, Ghana, Belgium, Spain, England, and Canada. Open to all current undergraduate and graduate school students or any prospect interested in a graduate business school degree, more than 55 universities were represented.
‘WASH U’S BIG IdeaBounce Judges Drawn To Startups With A Triple Bottom Line’
Doug Villhard of Washington University’s Olin Business School
As difficult as it was to narrow the 167 ideas down to a dozen, it was even more difficult for the judge to select just three for the final competition. “It was difficult for the judges to pick a final three based on the quality of submissions we received,” says Doug Villhard, academic director for entrepreneurship at Washington University. “In the end the judges appear to have been drawn to what is commonly referred to as the ‘triple bottom line’ — profit, people, and planet. All three finalists have profit potential, but they are also good for people and/or the planet.”
The three finalists will now converge on the Olin Business School campus to present their ideas to a panel of three judges who will determine the winning team in a video show on March 22. You can register to see the entire event, including all three elevator pitches, here.
Each team is tackling challenges in three vastly different fields: commercial fishing, adventure cycling, and telemedicine. Consider OnDeck Fisheries, launched by a team from the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business. Alexander Dungate, who will earn his master’s in management this year, leads a team that includes young professionals who bring software development and scientific research skills to the game.
Bringing Technology To The Fishing Industry
Their idea brings technology to what is now a labor-intensive practice: monitoring fish hauls to make sure they meet government regulations. Currently, the industry uses human observers on board a small percentage of fishing vessels to monitor what goes on at sea. These observers operate in challenging and hostile conditions where they are frequently threatened by the crew, and research has found that their collected observations can contain significant misreporting. The team’s AI-assisted monitoring software would accelerate a shift toward electronic monitoring and revolutionize workflows. Globally, approximately $1.5 billion is spent on fisheries observations annually, with at least $400 million spent on manual review.
The team at PedalCell, meantime, is tackling an entirely different challenge. The two co-founders met in 2015 as college freshmen. CEO Adam Hokin graduated from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business in 2019 with concentrations in Sales, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship. CTO Vishaal Mali invented the company’s core intellectual property and is a graduate of Northwestern University’s McCormick Engineering School in Computer and Electrical Engineering.
They’ve assembled a team that has not only developed a bicycle power source but has brought the product to market. PedalCell mounts in minutes on nearly all bike designs. The design is patented in the U.S. and internationally pending. PedalCell is reviewed to be 3X more powerful than competitors while costing 1/2 as much. PedalCell is made in Chicago, IL, and has shipped to 30+ countries. PedalCell is available at pedalcell.com and its global dealer network.
Advancing Telemedicine To Test Lung & Heart Issues
And finally Dr. Linda Wu, who is earning her MBA at Washington University’s Olin School, along with two other partners has come up with MiDoc, an idea to capitalize on the growing trend in telemedicine. A pediatrician and a member of the faculty at Washington University School of Medicine, Wu notes that telehealth is only able to replace the conversational component of a doctor’s visit.
With current technology, physicians are unable to perform a physical exam, and thus do not know the full health status of their patients. This restricts their ability to effectively diagnose and treat patients. For this reason, patients may still have to go into the doctor’s office due to inconclusive telehealth consults. Lastly, the lung and heart exams are the most important to a physician (as it relates to many primary complaints and medication side effects) and this vital information is not available via telehealth.
Wu’s team came up with a unique solution: An at-home wearable product that the patient wears like a vest, equipped with sensors which are able to perform a remote heart and lung exam. It can also convey electrocardiogram (EKG) readings, which evaluates the electrical health of the heart.
(In the following pages, you can read each finalist’s business plan and watch their two-minute elevator pitches.)
Team Name: OnDeck Fisheries AI
BIG IndeaBounce 2022 finalist
Concept: For fisheries, OnDeck is a monitoring tool that satisfies regulatory needs using AI instead of humans to automatically quantify catch; revolutionizing marine conservation while cutting costs by a factor of 10.
Challenge: Fisheries support the livelihoods of 10% of the world’s population, generating as much as $400 billion USD in revenue annually. Fish provide more than 2.9 billion people with 20 percent of their animal protein needs, and are an irreplaceable source of nutrients to many coastal communities. Despite the importance of the world’s fish stocks, two thirds of fish stocks are currently in decline, threatening the global economy and billions of livelihoods. Quantifying the number of fish taken from the ocean is critical to fisheries management, however it is not currently possible to measure this at scale.
Currently, the industry uses human observers on board a small percentage of fishing vessels to monitor what goes on at sea. These observers operate in challenging and hostile conditions where they are frequently threatened by the crew, and research has found that their collected observations can contain significant misreporting. These human observers cost between $500-$800 per day, paid for by the captain of the ship.
Recently, cameras have been installed on some boats to replace human observers. These cameras (known as “electronic monitoring”) film for entire fishing trips, which vary in length from 1-8 weeks. Once the vessels return to shore, reviewers watch the footage and manually identify the amount and types of sea life brought on board. This is extremely expensive and slow, creating a significant delay in reporting.
Solution: The majority of tasks performed by human observers or reviewers can easily be automated. Leveraging modern software technology, specifically machine learning and computer vision, we will automate the counting of fish in the videos recorded by existing electronic monitoring hardware. Our idea is to develop a software product which can automatically analyze video footage of fishing trips, measuring the number and types of fish caught as well as identifying bycatch when it occurs.
Our solution has many advantages over the manual analysis being used currently. Automated monitoring is nearly instantaneous, much faster than manual review which can take hours to days. By virtue of its speed and the inherently low marginal cost per product of software, automated monitoring will be far less expensive than manual review. Likewise, the increased speed and decreased cost will allow for comprehensive monitoring of a far larger portion of global fishing activity, which will be integral to improving the sustainability of the fishing sector in the coming decades. Finally, we note that human observers are subject to human error, which can lead to inaccuracy and bias. We believe that automated monitoring software can achieve >95% accuracy with minimal bias. This level of accuracy is well within reach of existing computer vision algorithms.
Market: There are currently over 1,400 fishing vessels with electronic monitoring (EM) systems on board today, and this number is expected to grow to 25,000-50,000 by 2028. With this explosion of EM, automation is critical to enable the review of this huge volume of data. Globally, approximately $1.5 billion USD is spent on fisheries observations annually, with at least $400 million USD spent on manual review.
Our first customers would be the established observing companies in North America. There are approximately a dozen observing providers in North America, the biggest of which are all trying to make the shift to EM. Our software would accelerate this shift and revolutionize their workflow. We have a budding partnership with the dominant observing provider in Canada to deploy our software on EM systems across Canada, the US, Australia, and New Zealand.
After 2-5 years of working with established observing providers and proving the efficacy and accuracy of our automated review software, we could become our own certified fisheries observing company. This would enable us to sell our monitoring solutions directly to fishers, facilitating vertical integration.
Competition: There is no software company developing the solutions needed for the fishery observing industry. Academic researchers have developed and proven the capabilities of computer vision technology for our use cases, but there has been no attempt to bring these solutions to market.
The four biggest observing companies in North America are making slow attempts to add some automation into their workflow, but they do not have the in-house technical capabilities to develop true computer vision or AI. These four competitors are also our main customers. We have already developed a working relationship with several industry leaders, and they are eager to purchase automation software from OnDeck Fisheries AI.
Value Creation: The potential for value creation is twofold. First and foremost, by improving global fisheries monitoring capabilities, our idea has the potential to revolutionize the management of fish stocks all over the world. Better measurement of the number of fish being taken from the ocean will help to guide policies to increase the sustainability of global fish stocks. Likewise, automated bycatch detection will aid in identifying fishing practices with significant collateral damage and thus reduce the damaging effect of fisheries bycatch on endangered species.
Secondly, this project has the potential to be highly profitable. Current fisheries monitoring requires paying by the hour for human observers to either observe on fishing vessels in real time, or manually view hundreds of hours of video footage for each fishing trip. With this current business model, the marginal cost of observing additional fishing trips is high. Our proposed automated electronic monitoring software, however, would reduce marginal costs of increased monitoring to essentially zero. Thus, we will be able to undercut the pricing of traditional monitoring services, allowing us to quickly scale up to reach a large section of the market.
Team: Our team members’ respective credentials showcase our collective business acumen (A. Dungate), scientific research expertise (M. Leighton), and software development experience (S. Dyanatkar).
Specific skills and experience that will be integral to the successful development and implementation of our vision include, but are not limited to:
– Product management experience (A. Dungate)
– Contacts and network within the fisheries sector (A. Dungate)
– Scientific research expertise (M. Leighton)
– Proven history of securing federal grant money (M. Leighton)
– Experience with machine learning and computer vision (M. Leighton)
– Software development experience at a major global software company (S. Dyanatkar)
– Previous experience in the development of innovative new technologies synthesizing software and hardware (S. Dyanatkar)
VOTE FOR TEAM ONDECK FISHERIES HERE
Team Name: PedalCell
BIG IndeaBounce 2022 finalist
Concept: PedalCell is the ultimate bicycle power source to keep cyclists safe and connected. PedalCell converts their motion into continuous charge for lights, smartphones, GPS, and other essential USB devices.
Challenge: Batteries run out of power while biking. A bike light can die in as little as 30 minutes, leaving riders unsafe. The riders with the largest need for power are bicycle tourers who go on trips ranging from days to months. Bicycle tourers depend on wireless devices on their trips, such as smartphones and GPS cycling computers. Other essential devices include lights, electric tire pumps, cameras, speakers, water purifiers, and CPAP machines.
Tourers have difficulty staying charged off-grid, especially when their devices are used while riding. Low service areas, extreme climates, and high screen brightness can drain a device up to 10X faster than normal. Some are forced to plan their trips around multiple hours-long recharge locations at bars or gas stations. These pit stops conflict with the spontaneous and fun nature of bicycle touring. Bicycle tourers invest upwards of $700 into complex energy solutions (batteries, generators, solar, etc.) that fail to meet their power needs.
Solution: PedalCell is the ultimate bicycle power source to keep cyclists safe and connected. Bicycle tourers take trips without access to power that ranges from multi-days to years-long. PedalCell converts their motion into continuous charge for lights, smartphones, GPS, and other essential USB devices. Cyclists can ride safer, longer, and further with fully-charged batteries, thanks to PedalCell.
PedalCell mounts in minutes on nearly all bike designs and is ready for the outdoors with a weather-resistant housing. The design is patented in the US and internationally pending. PedalCell is reviewed to be 3X more powerful than competitors while costing 1/2 as much. PedalCell is made in Chicago, IL USA and has shipped to 30+ countries. PedalCell is available at pedalcell.com and its global dealer network.
Market: PedalCell’s Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM) is touring “bicycle touring” enthusiasts in cycling-accessible communities who spend over $3K on their cycling gear in North America and Europe. These bicycles comprise 1% of bicycles (5 million bikes) within these nations, leading to a market value of $1.6B when multiplied by PedalCell’s MSRP of $299.99. This market has grown 144% YoY, accelerated by the COVID-19 bicycle boom.
Competition: PedalCell is far more powerful and durable than any other bicycle generator on the market and is better suited to outdoor environments than any battery pack. PedalCell uses its patented supercapacitor technology (patent no. 10727688 in USA, pending in AU, CA, and EU), that generates up to 6X the power output of any other generator competitor. In addition, the technology can withstand wide outdoor temperatures, has high efficiency, and has a 20X lifespan of any lithium-ion battery.
The product itself installs in minutes on nearly any bicycle, unlike the professional installs of other generator solutions. PedalCell also costs 1/2 ($299 MSRP) of any alternative.
Value Creation: PedalCell’s bicycle tourer addressable market is $1.6B. However, the overall cycling addressable market is worth $15B. PedalCell will capture this market share by developing new products and services, such as more affordable future generations and a mobile app with a subscription to track health metrics for PedalCell rides. In addition, lights, battery packs, and other complementary accessories will build out an ecosystem of products for PedalCell riders. It’s on track for $7M+ annual revenue by 2023, and $22M+ by 2024.
PedalCell will also target new distribution channels. These include large retailers such as REI and Costco and B2B cycling brands such as Trek and Specialized.
PedalCell’s power management patents are agnostic to the bicycle, meaning they can be applied to other sectors such as green tech, scooters, and automobiles. PedalCell can choose to enter these sectors or license the technology to others.
PedalCell was founded with a mission to promote bicycling adoption. Cycling promotes sustainable transportation, decongestion within cities, and healthy behaviors. Also, PedalCell offers 100% clean electricity generation for its users, energy that the grid would have otherwise provided. PedalCell estimates that its user base will generate 1.9 million kilowatt-hours per year by 2025. This number is equivalent to 190 million charged iPhones or ~200 U.S. homes powered for one year. These metrics ensure that PedalCell’s impact grows along with its user-base. Cycling is a critical activity now more than ever. Not only is cycling healthy and sustainable, but COVID-19 has reinforced its placement in our day-to-day lives. Bicycling is one of the top activities for exercise and social distancing. There has been a 600% increase in bicycle sales since COVID-19 started. These trends created permanent changes in cycling infrastructure across the globe. PedalCell is the ultimate way to keep these cyclists charged, connected, and safe throughout their rides through clean electricity generation.
Team: The company’s award-winning team has won over two-dozen awards and grants, including the midwest’s largest hardware start-up competition in 2020. Co-Founders Adam Hokin (CEO) and Vishaal Mali (CTO) founded PedalCell in 2015 as college freshmen. Adam is a graduate of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business with concentrations in Sales, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship. Vishaal invented the company’s core IP and is a graduate of Northwestern University’s McCormick Engineering School in Computer and Electrical Engineering. David Harper (CMO) is also a Northwestern Graduate with half-a-decade of online marketing experience. Other team members include Mitch Muller, a mechanical engineering veteran with experience at SpaceX as well as Apple, and Kyle Gao, a China-based member with 5+ years of Asian supply chain operations experience. PedalCell’s is headquartered at mHUB, a micro-factory in West Town, Chicago, and manufactures in Evanston, IL.
VOTE FOR TEAM PEDALCELL HERE
Team Name: MiDoc
BIG IndeaBounce 2022 finalist
Concept: MiDoc is an at-home medical device that allows physicians to remotely conduct lung and heart physical exams, revolutionizing the patient-provider telehealth experience and improving healthcare access, affordability, convenience, and quality.
Challenge: There are 3 issues with in-person doctor’s office appointments.
1. Patient’s perspective. Long waits while in agony from feeling ill: wait until the doctor’s office is open or has an available appointment, wait in traffic during the commute, and wait in line at the office. Additionally, there are patients with poor immune systems, or other obligations (i.e. parents that can’t find a babysitter) that restrict them from leaving their homes.
2. Healthcare system’s perspective. Cases that could be easily resolved with an office appointment are instead treated at an emergency room (ER), resulting in rising healthcare costs and overcrowded ERs. By one estimate, $32 billion is wasted annually in ER visits. Additionally, there are rural patients that don’t have access to in-person physicians that are often left unseen and untreated.
3. Provider’s perspective. Tediousness of note writing, inefficiencies due to late or missed appointments.
Currently, telehealth is only able to replace the conversational component of the doctor’s visit. With current technology physicians are unable to perform a physical exam, and thus do not know the full health status of their patients. This restricts their ability to make a proper diagnose and treat patients, resulting in ineffective care. For this reason, patients may still have to go into the doctor’s office due to inconclusive telehealth consults. Lastly, the lung and heart exams are the most important to a physician (as it relates to many primary complaints and medication side effects) and this vital information is not available via telehealth (phone or video).
Solution: The MiDoc helps address these issues by bringing the third dimension of telehealth: the physical exam. MiDoc is an at-home wearable product that the patient (consumer) wears like a vest, equipped with sensors which are able to perform a remote heart and lung exam: an at-home version of the stethoscope. It can also convey electrocardiogram (EKG) readings, which evaluates the electrical health of the heart.
By using MiDoc, physicians will be able to use the physical exam information gathered to support them in the making the proper diagnosis, leading to more effective treatment of their patients. Additionally, this will lead to more complete home-care telehealth visits, resulting in less referrals to a doctor’s office, easier access to rural patients or ones that cannot leave their homes, improved access to doctors, easing the stress on the healthcare system/ERs, and reducing costs. Lastly, MiDoc can auto-import patient exam data into the electronic medical record (EMR) saving physicians time in note writing, leading to increased efficiency for medical practices allowing them to see more patients and improved quality of life for doctors, especially important given the national shortage of physicians.
MiDoc will revolutionize healthcare by closing the last mile and providing at-home offerings to improve the patient-provider experience, bringing improved access, convenience and affordability to healthcare.
Market: McKinsey estimates that telehealth service utilization rates are 38x higher than pre-pandemic (as of July 2021). Additionally, in the first half of 2021, $14.7Bin VC investment went into the digital health space. There was an estimated $3.2B in telehealth provider revenue in 2020 with an 8.3% 2020-2025 projected annual growth rate. And finally, McKinsey estimated that of the multi-trillion-dollar healthcare market, $250B is poised to shift to virtual care. The takeaway is that the telehealth industry is young, growing rapidly, and there is strong investor appetite.
Our team utilized the most recent US census data to determine a target market. Our potential market is total US persons with internet, which represents 225M people or roughly 69% of the US population. From there, we identified individuals with high telehealth potential, which we broadly categorized as homebound individuals (parents with dependents, senior citizens, and immunocompromised persons) and then rural patients, which reduced our available market to 100M people or roughly 33% of the US population.
Next, we utilized a recent market study from McKinsey to estimate the interest of US consumers in telehealth, which was estimated at 40%. Thus, that leaves us with an actual target market of 40M in the US.
Lastly, we drilled down to our actual market by estimating roughly 10% future market share, leaving us with an actual market of 4M US consumers. We further drilled down between rural and urban consumers which, per the US census, is around an 80/20 split in favor of urban.
Competition: MiDoc faces several competitors, both online and in-person options. First, the in-office doctor’s visits are the standard, but a patient may have difficulty travelling to the doctor’s office, which is a problem we aim to solve. In-home options include doctor house calls (these are rare and expensive), and home nursing (which deliver nursing care, so they’re in a different space as patients still need a physician).
All of these groups may be served by Telehealth, which could be considered a competitor. However, Telehealth has no ability to do a lung or heart physical exam, and lack monitoring methods as mentioned in the Problems section. Thus, it does not overlap with MiDoc as MiDoc is trying to solve the problems and limitations of Telehealth.
A competitor is Heal, an all-in-one mobile service that seeks to match people with various in-home health offerings. These include house calls, Telehealth, and Telehealth with remote monitoring services. However, their remote monitoring services are limited to heart rate and blood pressure only (basic vitals), but no physical exam.
Lastly, Eko has a product like ours (Eko Duo) that can remotely transmit heart sounds (but not lung sounds) and EKG data to doctors. However, this device requires the patient to place it at the proper positions on their chest to get an accurate reading, which is difficulty as patients are not medically trained professionals. MiDoc is a simple vest that users wear and all the sensors line up at the correct locations (ergonomically efficient).
Value Creation: Financial Sustainability:
Revenue Drivers: primary go-to-market would be through partnerships with existing telehealth providers (e.g. Teladoc, Heal). We would sell MiDoc (one-time revenue transaction) plus share of revenue / subscription fee (continual revenue transaction), providing multiple revenue streams. As a benefit, there is natural overlap between our target markets.
Pricing: looking at multiple pricing scenarios and ultimately modeled our pro forma financials using a $500/unit price, which provides a gross margin contribution of 50%. Our variable costs sit at $250/unit comprised of $180 in raw materials and $70/unit manufacturing. One ER visit could cost hundreds to thousands of dollars, if an effective MiDoc telehealth visit could prevent one ER visit, then the customer already received a return on the money spent on the device.
Impact of Insurance: Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services has added reimbursements options during the pandemic to support telehealth services and there is possibility for expansion. Thus, although the broader medical device manufacturing industry might be seeing some pricing pains, devices in the telehealth space might be an exception. Private insurers have largely broadened coverage for telehealth services in response to COVID-19. (Sources: IBISWorld, DHHS)
ESG Benefits of Improved Telehealth (broadly):
– Environmental: Digital healthcare reduces need for patients to needlessly travel (emissions), medical centers can scale down as demand shifts online (resources and land used).
– Social: Increases access to quality care for marginalized, underserved, and rural patients through enhance affordability and convenience. Healthcare money saves could be used to spend on other social services.
Team: The team is composed of three members: Dr. Linda Wu, Lili Hostetler, and Michael Newbold.
Dr. Wu is a pediatrician and a member of the faculty at Washington University School of Medicine. She has firsthand experience with the difficulties described in the problem section and thus came up with the idea for MiDoc. Her medical knowledge and connection within the medical community will lead to early and comprehensive feedback to guide the direction of MiDoc. She also has over four years of professional experience as a human factors engineer, which will support the design and implementation of MiDoc and ensure the product is ergonomically sound and easy to use by all patients.
Ms. Hostetler has a background in Biomedical Engineering and experience building similar medical devices. She is currently pursuing a masters in Biomedical Engineering and can gain access to lab space and support from professors to help in the design of MiDoc. She also has a network of engineers and computer programmers that could be recruited to join MiDoc as supplemental team members. Lastly, she is pursuing an MBA and will be able to support the financial and marketing aspects of this product.
Mr. Newbold has a background in accounting with 6+ years of experience in the consulting world, especially innovative start-up products. He is currently an Innovation Investment Strategy Manager at EY. He is responsible for all the financial, marketing, and customer relations for MiDoc.
VOTE FOR TEAM MIDOC HERE
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