Skip to content

FBB Biomed wins first-place award in Iowa Innovation Challenge

FBB Biomed wins first-place award in Iowa Innovation Challenge


On Nov. 15 and 16 the University of Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (Iowa JPEC) held the first phase of the Iowa Innovation Challenge and awarded $75,000 in prize money.

FBB Biomed, a company that has developed a blood test to screen for neurologic diseases, took home a $20,000 first-place award in the Innovation Challenge’s graduate/faculty technology division at the award’s event on Nov. 17 at MERGE in Iowa City.

FBB Biomed was one of 22 winners from the pitch competition that was held on Nov. 15 (for graduate students and faculty) and Nov. 16 (for undergraduates). A total of $74,750 in prize money was awarded. 

Winning a $5,000 first-place award in the non-technology department for graduate students and faculty was Creative Manufacturing Solutions, a patent design and manufacturing company.

In the undergraduate competition, first place for best technology went to Chemo Care Solutions and first place for best non-technology went to ChordaWorm Lures. Both businesses received $5,000. Chemo Care Solutions is developing medical devices that will prevent chemo-induced neuropathy through early intervention. ChordaWorm Lures is a fishing lure innovation utilizing cords.

Here are all the companies that received awards:



First Place, $20,000     

FBB: Biomed, Howard Urnovitz    

FBB: Biomed has developed a blood test that can screen for neurologic diseases. The company anticipates launching its market validation study in the first quarter of 2022. Its customers are clinical labs that service neurologists and life insurance companies.

Second Place, $10,000     

X-Ray Vision/Immersive Med, Salah Abuhammoud and August De Oliveira

X-Ray Vision is a dental image-guided surgery system using augmented reality.

Third Place, $5,000     

NanoMedTrix, Sean Sweeney    

NanoMedTrix has a platform technology based on nanomaterials that is used to respond to a variety of biomedical needs. Its main focus is a diagnostic/therapeutic form that delivers drugs to the bladders of bladder cancer patients.


First Place, $5,000     

Creative Manufacturing Solutions, Ryan Howell

A patent design and manufacturing company offering creative solutions for manufacturing problems. Consulting occurs from start to finish, including the manufacturing of the solution. That could include designing a product, process, or prototype. Creative Manufacturing Solutions manufactures its individual products that have been designed for varying industries.                    

Second Place, $3,000     

Avena Pro Oat, Maxwell White    

Pro Oat is a hypoallergenic, environmentally friendly, and bioavailable protein powder made from oats.

Best Social Impact, $2,000     

WeMigrate, Melika Farshad

An online platform/application that helps international students (expandable to other visa categories) stay on top of their visa and immigration requirements and deadlines, based on their field of study and nationality, from their first United States embassy appointment to Optional Practical Training, H-1B, and Green Card and citizenship application. It also provides them with resources and updates along the way and connects them to the immigration attorneys who have successfully handled the same cases if need be.

Best Pitch, $3,000     

The Common Ground, Serina Sulentic

The Common Ground seeks to find a balance in location, timeline, budget, and interests between travelers located in different regions. The Common Ground, a virtual service, aggregates information from profiles to deliver custom package plans for travelers. The Common Ground eliminates hours of searching for deals, locations that are the halfway point for travelers while providing unique options that travelers may not know about.

Judge’s Choice, Best Technology, $1,000     

STEM Innovator, Leslie Flynn    

STEM Innovator provides K-12 schools with web-based STEM education curriculum, instruction and assessment solutions to better prepare the next generation of students to be future innovators. STEM is a new field of academic study to address the need for a technology-driven workforce with the skills and knowledge to solve complex global problems. Its products provide schools with solutions they need to graduate future-ready students.

Judge’s Choice, Best Non-Technology, $1,000     

AHM Jewelry, Agnes Harry Mills    

Wearable conceptual jewelry.    


First Place, Best Technology, $5,000  

Chemo Care Solutions, Jordan Ewald, Garett Caltrider, Madeleine Humpal-Pash, Tiffany Tran         

The mission as “Chemo Care Solutions,” is to fill a void in the market by developing medical devices that will prevent chemo-induced neuropathy through early intervention. Devices will be targeted to the different areas commonly affected by this type of neuropathy.

Second Place, Best Technology, $2,500

PTXtension, Ryan Gudenkauf

PTXtension is a web-based mobile application designed to help physical therapy patients confidently and continuously complete their home exercises.

Third Place, Best Technology, $1,250     

Casmium, LLC, Nikhil Herdt and Ashwin Dervesh

Casmium uses an app to allow baseball and softball teams to collect in-game data, then view on its website. Casmium shows raw data collected and processes many statistics to display on its website.

First Place, Best Non-Technology, $5,000

ChordaWorm Lures, John Hatfield

Fishing lure innovation utilizing cords.

Second Place, Best Non-Technology, $2,500

Local Shore Shrimp, Jared Sherwood

Local Shore Shrimp aims to provide fresh, organic, and sustainably-farmed shrimp to Iowa and other Midwestern states that are landlocked with little access to fresh seafood.

Third Place, Best Non-Technology, $1,250     

Beets n Treats, Ava Reynolds

Beets n Treats is a student-run business that sells vegan baked goods, along with gluten-free options. Beets n Treats provides treats to those with dietary restrictions and aims to provide an experience that not only tastes good, but also makes you feel good.

First Place Cutting Edge Award, $1,000     

The ART (Assembly Assist Tool), Cole Peters and Liam Hagen

Using augmented reality, an automated assist tool is to be developed for construction in a multitude of projects and domains. Instead of relying on 2D instructions, 3D virtual modeling will bring a more instinctive and immersive feel to problem-solving.

Second Place, Cutting Edge Award, $750

Simple Studios, Jordan Walters

Simple Studios is a blockchain gaming studio that develops, flips, and publishes games to its website. Simple Studios integrates non-fungible tokens, crypto, and other technologies onto its platform.

Third Place, Cutting Edge Award, $500

CappyBio, Payton Jaeger    

CappyBio creates individualized bio-specimens and data through cutting-edge research. CappyBio procures and stores fibroblasts in an effort to facilitate personalized medicine, drug selection, and at-home genetic screening tests to improve future health at any time.

First Place, Best Pitch, $1,000

StuTote, Tatum Johnson

Reusable shopping bag rental to dormitories.

Second Place, Best Pitch, $500

EntertainU, Mitch Baumgartner

Social app for local entertainment for college students.

Judge’s Choice, $1,000

Underdog/Skunk Aid, Nicole Relias

Underdog Products is the creator of Skunk Aid, an all-in-one de-skunking solution for when your dog gets sprayed by a skunk. Skunk Aid is sold in numerous retail locations and online through Amazon.

Keith Starman Entrepreneurship Award, $2,500     

Cedar Sales, Jacob VanderSanden

Cedar Sales works with wholesale distributors to buy items in bulk and then sell them individually on Amazon. With this comes programs to figure out which items are the best to buy, restock inventory, and manage current inventory.

The descriptions of the companies listed above have been provided by Iowa JPEC.

Powered By GrowthZone