Rhode Island Business Plan Competition Names 14 Semi-finalists

Winners and Finalists Will Share Prizes Valued at $265,000

PROVIDENCE – (April 10, 2018) – The Rhode Island Business Plan Competition today announced 14 semi-finalists in the 2018 competition, which will award prizes valued at $265,000 next month.

The semi-finalists were chosen from 61 applicants who proposed businesses that address opportunities in agriculture, biotechnology, data management, energy, health care, maritime applications, music, and nutrition, among other areas of commercialization.

Winners in the 2018 competition will be announced at a public ceremony on May 17 at the Rhode Island Nursing Education Center in Providence. Prizes will be awarded to winners and finalists.

"Entrepreneurship is thriving in Rhode Island, as evidenced by this year's strong applicant group," said Competition Co-chair Anthony Mangiarelli, partner with the accounting firm of KLR in Providence. Co-Chair Peggy Farrell, partner with the law firm of Hinckley Allen in Providence, added, “Those who were not selected as semi-finalists should understand that persistence is a key success factor for launching and growing a business, and should keep working on their idea.”

Entrepreneur Track Semi-finalists

Semi-finalists in the entrepreneur track are:

Biomimesis Medical Technologies is developing a synthetic, non-immunogenic, multi-layer wound dressing to treat third-degree burns. Principal applicant: Anup Mohanty, Grantham, NH.

Certified Organic Produce of New England is proposing to increase the quality of organic produce brought to market at lower cost by relying on advanced indoor growing technology. Principal applicant: Rhonda Price, East Providence.

Keel has developed an open-source technology that enables companies to integrate external services and data sources in minutes rather than weeks. Principal applicant: Andrew Kelley, Providence.

PowerDocks has created floating platforms, such as moorings and docks, that use renewable energy sources to generate, store, and distribute power at those sites. Principal applicant: Anthony Baro, Newport.

Sol Tiempo is creating a suite of battery-based household products that charge during the day and run off batteries during peak demand, usually during evening, easing demand on existing electricity generation systems. Principal applicant: Cristian Potter, North Providence.

Your Heaven Audio has developed a hardware/software technology platform for amplifying and recording acoustic musical instruments accurately and easily. Principal applicant: Prachi Jain, Providence.

Student Track Semi-finalists

Semi-finalists in the student track are: 

A2Z Drones is developing a delivery drone that will transport small goods to ships at sea, and other water-based destinations, replacing helicopters or boats that are slow, costly, and pose risks to human operators. Principal applicant: Aaron Zhang, Brown University.

CrossCheck is developing a software system that verifies the accuracy of online news and displays this information to consumers in an accessible format. Principal applicant: Franklin Young, Brown University.

FungEye is a rover-based detection system, using multispectral imaging, to identify mold growth before the human eye can, replacing manual inspections which often lack accuracy. Principal applicant: David Katzevich, Brown University.

goTeff is a low sugar, all-natural, nutrition bar that uses Teff, a gluten-free super-grain with low-glycemic index and a superior balance of nutrients, for cardio, nutrition, and health-minded consumers. Principal applicant: Saron Mechale, Brown University.

Poseidon Sensors is a water monitoring system that uses ultrasonic sensors and machine learning to eliminate the risk of water damage to homes or work places. Principal applicant: Daniel Meteer, Brown University.

Predictive Optics
is developing a portable, inexpensive wearable device that optically evaluates cerebrovascular health by quantifying retinal blood flow dynamic differences between eyes. Principal applicant: Vishnu Dantu, Brown University.

Pro-Therapy is developing a turnkey solution for hospitals and clinics that reduces the cost and space needed for proton therapy in cancer treatment. Principal applicant: Jonathan Sheedy, Brown University.

TextUp has developed an encrypted, affordable software package for social workers that increases their efficiency by enabling them to manage all documents and information flows. Principal applicant: Michelle Petersen, Brown University.

Sponsors of the 2018 Competition


The 2018 competition is supported by 58 sponsors, including private businesses, professional firms, banks, investors, colleges and universities, nonprofit and service organizations, and public agencies, as well as five former competitors. 

Lead sponsors of the 2018 competition are Bryant University, Cox Business, Everhope Foundation, Hinckley Allen, Integrated Media Group, KLR, Locke Lord, Materials Science Associates (former competitor), MedMates, The Providence Journal Charitable Legacy Fund, and Sprout.

Also sponsoring the 2018 competition are Bank of America, Barlow, Josephs & Holmes, Ltd., Brown University Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship, Center for Women and Enterprise, Cumulus Media, Envision Technology Advisors, FM Global, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses at CCRI, Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, Hatch Entrepreneurial Center, Luminous, RevUp Capital, Roger Williams University, Social Enterprise Greenhouse (former competitor), Tech Collective, and the URI College of Business Administration.

Sponsors also include AAA Northeast, Bank Rhode Island, The Beacon Mutual Insurance Company, Business Development Company, Delta Dental of Rhode Island, Dimeo Construction Company, The Hilb Group of New England, The Idea Turbine, IGT Global Solutions Corporation, Morgan Stanley-Richard Carriere, The Moore Company, Navigant Credit Union, RI Student Loan Authority, Savings Institute Bank and Trust, Slater Technology Fund, Teknor Apex, and The Washington Trust Company.

Additional sponsors include BankNewport, Cherrystone Angel Group, Citizens Bank, Classic Hassocks, CVS Health, Deepwater Wind, Fidelity Investments, Hayes & Sherry Real Estate Services, InsureMyTrip, Johnson & Wales University, Newport Biodiesel (former competitor), Pawtucket Credit Union, StormTree (former competitor), and Virgin Pulse (former competitor).

About the Competition

Established in 2000, the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition has been recognized as one of the top 40 business plan competitions in the country. To date, it has awarded prizes valued at more than $2.3 million to developing companies across many industries. More information is available at www.ri-bizplan.com.