Below are a selection of stories from past Cade Prize Winners & Finalists. They generously share their insights regarding the Inventory's Journey. Learn more about these past winners and finalists, and hear the stories of many others, on Radio Cade.
Imagine a brain on a computer chip. Jack Kendall, founder of Rain Neuromorphics has figured out how to connect artificial neurons in “neuromorphic hardware,” a brain scaffolding useful for artificial intelligence. He hopes it will make A.I. cheaper and faster for all types of applications. A fan of the Crocodile Hunter, Jack grew up in the tiny town of Belleview, Florida. Hear Jack Kendall’s story in our Rain Man podcast on Radio Cade. Learn more about Rain Neuromorphics at: http://rain-neuromorphics.com/
2015 Cade Prize Finalists
Jonelle Toothman has done a lot. A former Division 1 soccer player, Journalism major, and Army brat, she also co-founded NextGen Biologics and became its CEO. The company uses salamander tissue as an architecture for regenerative medicine to help burn victims and help repair wounds. As far as other applications, Jonelle says "our imagination is our only limitation." Hear Jonelle’s story in our Leap ‘n Lizzard podcast on Radio Cade.
Amir Rubin is the co-founder of Paracosm, a company that developed a handheld device that creates 3D color maps of real-world environments. “We’ve turned reality,” says Amir, “into a video game.” Amir is a second-generation entrepreneur. Both his parents are PhD’s, but his father quit academia to start a hardware store, and later a bakery. Amir wonders if any entrepreneur would make it without some level of “blind enthusiasm.” Hear Amir’s story on our A 3D Walk to Remember podcast on Radio Cade. Learn more at: https://paracosm.io/
2013 Cade Prize Finalists
Elena Fraser & Duncan Kabinu
EEG’s are great for diagnosing all sorts of conditions, including head injuries and seizures. But they’re hard to administer and thus don’t get used as often as they should. Elena Fraser and Duncan Kabinu, work with EncephaloDynamics a company that has developed a cap that makes EEG’s much easier to use. A born adventurer, Elena grew up one of four girls with a single mom. Duncan, a notable in Gainesville’s start-up scene, is no stranger to challenges. Hear Elena & Duncan’s story in our Fast Thinking podcast on Radio Cade. Learn more about EncephaloDynamics at: https://www.eeg-now.com/
“Don’t over-romanticize the process” and “adapt & learn” are sage words of advice from Dr. Chris Morton, founder & CEO, NanoPhotonica. Chris Morton and his team developed an innovative nano-material layering technique, winning the Cade Prize in 2013, with this ground-breaking technology. Morton added “the Cade Prize was really timely for funding and for validating the technology.” In addition to being a visionary behind this technology, Chris also spoke of the complex process of bringing a new technology to market. He spoke of resilience – and how it was an explicit part of their business strategy. Rather than forging forward alone, they engaged with potential display partners very early on in the process. “A good technical idea might not be a good market idea” Chris added, noting how crucial it is to evaluate one’s technology to determine the best market application. It’s also important to source opinions outside of the firm – including potential external partners – to also validate a technology’s true marketability. This sounds like an obvious concept, but the idea of not over-romanticizing one’s idea or process is often harder than it sounds. The team also accomplished an honest assessment of their individual strengths, with Chris adding “If you want to be the inventor and stay at the center – know what you do well, and know what you don’t do well. You can’t do it all.” It takes a strong and dedicated team to navigate the ups and downs - challenges of funding, disappointing meetings and so much more. Chris had the commitment of a team that he calls “the great people” who all truly believed in what they were doing. NanoPhotonica just signed a $3.5 million investment deal with Samsung Ventures and Deep Work Capital. The goal is for NanoPhotonica’s technology to be used to create electronic displays with high resolution, pure, vivid colors, and high efficiency at significantly reduced manufacturing cost. Their system of light emitting nano-materials, including Quantum Dots (QDs), and unique method of layering these materials together, form the core technology for a new generation of electronic displays - Electroluminescent Quantum Dot-Light Emitting Diode (EL-QLED) - displays that will soon appear on HDTVs, smartphones, tablets, notebooks, and beyond. The recent press release stated that Samsung Ventures' investment in NanoPhotonica reflects further the belief that the company has created world class QLED technology that has the potential to make a significant impact in the display sector. NanoPhotonica will utilize the investment to hire more engineering staff, finalize development and move to the commercialization phase of their offering. Read more about this exciting investment news here. www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/nanophotonica-announces-3-5m-investment-led-by-samsung-ventures-300848123.html Learn more about NanoPhotonica at: https://nanophotonica.com/
2012 Cade Prize Finalists
Detecting diseases in water is harder than it sounds. The normal process involves expensive, time-consuming lab tests. Joseph Moss of the University of West Florida has invented a better method that spins out water-borne pathogens to help identify them quickly and cheaply. A native of Holland, Pennsylvania and the youngest of five children, Moss was a “fidgety” boy who loved being outside because “everything fascinated me.” After a “rambunctious phase” and a “dead-end” job on the West Coast, Moss, who had initially failed out of college, returned to school and became a researcher. Hear Joseph Moss’ story in The Spin Zone podcast on Radio Cade.
How do you train people to talk to other people? For some professions, like nursing, communicating with others is a critical part of the job. Computer scientist Ben Lok developed software for nursing students to interview and examine a “virtual patient.” The patients speak like actual people, have back stories, and don’t necessarily share information easily. The son of a pipeline engineer and a nurse, Lok moved to the Tulsa from Malaysia when he was 5 years old. He credits his father’s prescient interest in computers - and an Atari game - with his career path. Lok’s company, Shadow Health, has plans to develop applications for other occupations that rely on face -to-face communication. Hear Ben Lok’s story in our Virtual Patients podcast on Radio Cade. Learn more about Shadow Health here: shadowhealth.com/.
2011 Cade Prize Finalists
Florida Sustainables & US Bioplastics
Steven Miller says it so aptly “the journey is on-going”. Steven Miller and Ryan Martin want to create a more sustainable planet through a new polymer that significantly advances the biodegradability of plastic. Some plastic is projected to take a millennium – imagine 1,000 years – to break down in the environment. So finding a way to reduce that time to 10 years or less is a game-changing proposition for our planet. When Steven Miller and his team won the Cade Prize in 2011, their concept was an academic endeavor. They quickly formulated a company to take their technology beyond the lab. One of their flagship products is a bio-renewable, water-degradable plastic designed for use in highly disposable applications. It eliminates environmental contamination by replacing non-degradable petroleum-based plastics with materials derived from agricultural and other waste products. “It takes a billion dollars to enter the polymer market” Steven noted, so the team sought to align with large manufacturing firms who could advance their process and products through their technology. After some starts and stops (again…it’s a journey) Steven and the team at US Bioplastics are forging an alliance with a new manufacturing partner, which already produces biodegradable plastic products. Their biodegradable plastic is a hybrid of a regular polymer plus a bio-degradable polymer, and the cost of the bio-degradable polymer currently being used is high. Steven and his team just might be the key to helping this large company increase the level of biodegradability in its products, reduce costs and help save the plant too! Cost in the plastics industry is a key impediment to advancing even more products towards significantly higher levels of biodegradability, so a lower materials cost can be a key driver of that evolution. The firm continues to benefit from its access to tremendous UF graduate and post-doctoral students, and everyone on the Cade Prize team remains so excited to see where the future takes Steven - his incredible team – and their incredible dream. Learn more here.
For Nik Kundra, launching a successful bar and restaurant inventory management system happened almost by accident. Nik’s instinct to listen to the market continues to fuel his success. During a break from medical school in 2010, on a whim, Nik enrolled for a 3-day business start-up course, and a related, yet very unexpected sequence of events led Nik to the local bar. Nik and his friends waited for a few bartenders to complete their evening shifts, but they were stuck in the painstakingly difficult and time-consuming process of monthly inventory. That was the moment that Partender was born. With his on-premise inventory management system idea formulated, Nik entered the Cade Prize. “The Cade Prize was the first real pitch we ever gave”, he said, “it helped us hone the way we presented our idea, and prepared our team to go out and present our idea to funders and partners”. Nik and his team quickly moved forward with business development, refining the business model, product development and app design. He assembled a team and the company made its first liquor inventory solution sale to a group of 9 bars within the first year. Partender also surveyed more than 1,000 bars & restaurants, and it was this client-centric approach - that not only led to the launch of a successful product - but has sparked product evolution since that time. Speaking of time, Partender helps bars and restaurants reduce average inventory time from 6 hours to 15 minutes, and promotes financial savings as another key benefit. Another unexpected moment that accelerated Partender’s business was the decision to attend a trade show very early on in the process. Crowds at the Partender booth caught the attention of the trade show founder, which led to Partender being tapped to appear on the Bar Tender show. Since that time, Partender has grown its accounts - with more than 15,000 bar and restaurant locations using their app/product – and its business lines have expanded significantly. Nik and his team have continued to listen intently to their clients, gaining crucial market and channel insight, which was instrumental in expanding Partender services beyond an on-premise inventory system - into liquor gap assessments, food and added product inventory & ordering, fraud & waste control, and financial control. Learn more about Partender.
2010 Cade Prize Finalists
One of nine children, Dr. Anthony (Tony) Brennan grew up in a small town in upstate New York. He invented a way to inhibit bacterial growth through plastic sheets that are comprised of millions of microscopic features arranged in a diamond pattern - much like shark skin. A voracious reader, Tony wanted to be an astronaut growing up, but had poor eyesight. His inspiration for Sharklet Technologies was the US Navy, which in 1999 asked him to figure out a way to keep barnacles from growing on its ships. Hear Anthony’s Brennan story in our Shark Think Tank podcast on Radio Cade. Learn more about Sharklet at: https://www.sharklet.com/