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Prototype sleep apnea device for travelers wins UTSA entrepreneurship competition

December, 2014

 iSleepTech, a start-up company offering a breathing mask for people suffering from sleep apnea, triumphed at this weekend’s $100K Student Technology Venture Competition, hosted by the UTSA Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship (CITE). Four UTSA undergraduates majoring in business and engineering developed a prototype and wrote a business plan to market the technology.


UTSA competitors Thetis Smart Engineering Innovations and Firely placed second and third, respectively, in the competition, held Saturday, Dec. 6 at the UTSA Main Campus.


It is estimated that 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, a disease that prevents a person from getting solid sleep. Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, chronic heart failure, atrial fibrillation, stroke, Type II diabetes, depression, traffic accidents and other sleep-deprivation related accidents.


Saynata, iSleepTech’s sleep apnea device, is ideal for travelers, because it works without hoses, electricity or a machine.


The team includes undergraduate business majors Edgar Ibarra and Trent Berryman and undergraduate engineering majors Andrew Smith and Jesse Beavers.


“Throughout my life, I have imagined creating different inventions but I am not an engineer and have no idea how to build something,” said Berryman, an undergraduate studying finance and entrepreneurship. “I think it is so awesome that UTSA pairs business students and engineering students to collaborate on an idea and build a product and business plan around it. The CITE competition allows me to learn how to commercialize a product without having to know to design and develop one.”


As in competitions past, each of this semester’s competing teams received guidance during the semester from an experienced professional from the SA Tech Boosters in the San Antonio technology community.


Ian Clements, managing partner of Targeted Technology Fund II, was impressed with the winning technology.


“The product, Saynata, from the iSleepTech team is an outstanding example of how UTSA engineering and business students can work together and truly develop a unique product that can have a major impact and improve the lives of a significant numbers of patients with sleep apnea. I encourage the students to take the product to the next stage of development.”


Second place winner Thetis Smart Engineering Innovations, a team of seven UTSA students, developed a prototype prosthetic foot that gives users a wide range of movement for low and high impact activities. The team includes business majors George Barrera and Amber Ernst and engineering majors Bernardo Weiler, Evan Themudo, Manuel Lechuga, Raul Garcia and Ryan Thackston.


Third place winner Firefly developed a smart baby monitor that relays a baby’s vital signs through an app to his parents. Features include pulse detection, breathing recognition and face detection to ensure the baby is safely on his back in his crib. The team includes business majors Bradley Tanton, Richard Burge and Anthony Abel and engineering students Eduardo Rodriguez, Duy Do, Nguyen Tran and Eliud Oviedo.


This year’s judges had a chance to review each team’s technology before hearing the team’s seven-minute pitch. The judges included:


Don Douglas, Liquid Networx, investor

Michael Girdley, Codeup, investor

Joe Miller, San Antonio Technology Center, investor

Paul Kendall, investor

Somer Baburek ‘13, Claresta Solutions

Charlotte Youngquist, NuStar Energy 

Ross Davidson, Cox | Smith

Tommy McNish, Geekdom


The other teams included:


InCrowd, which offered a platform that connects brands with social media influencers by allowing brands to create campaigns, promote through social media influencers, analyze their performance and optimize their social media marketing.


GoPlayLo, which offered an event management and advertising website that allows businesses to streamline registration.


NUMO, which offered a portable recovery device designed to wrap comfortably around injured muscles, while providing cooling and compression in automatic timed sessions.


Zeus Innovation, which offered SneekPeek, a platform allowing businesses to create their own marketing campaigns through an app as a consumer comes into their vicinity.


Established in 2007 and held semi-annually, the $100K Student Technology Venture Competition offers UTSA's undergraduates in business, science and engineering with the opportunity to build a technology, patent it, create a business and launch it in a rigorous incubator program. The top three teams have access to a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding and in-kind services to launch their new companies.


Since the competition’s inception, 650 students have participated, more than 85 company ideas have been pitched and a dozen patent applications have been filed. Two winning teams from previous competitions, Leto Solutions and Invictus Medical, have demonstrated steady progress toward commercializing their products.


Financed by the Texas Research and Technology Foundation, the competition also receives support from Cox | Smith, the San Antonio Technology Center, Rackspace, the Whittington Group, the UTSA College of Business, the UTSA College of Engineering and the UTSA Office of the Vice President for Research.


About the UTSA Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship

CITE, an interdisciplinary center in the College of Business and College of Engineering, was established in 2006 to create a pipeline for UTSA faculty, students and surrounding business community to develop new technology ventures. Through a process of education, experiences, resources and support, CITE is focused on fostering the growth of new technology-based ventures. CITE also coordinates resources for supporting early-venture execution within the university or in collaboration with companies and provides linkages to IP protection, incubation and funding that support the successful launch of new technology ventures. For more information, visit the CITE website.


About UTSA

The University of Texas at San Antonio is an emerging Tier One research institution specializing in health, energy, security, sustainability, and human and social development. With nearly 29,000 students, it is the largest university in the San Antonio metropolitan region. UTSA advances knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. The university embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property -- for Texas, the nation and the world.


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