This year’s Hen Hatch winners tackle high-stakes problems

By Ken Mammarella

The University of Delaware’s Horn Entrepreneurship program last night announced the winners to the Hen Hatch startup competition. The winners both presented novel technology solutions to high-stakes problems.

360VR Technology uses drones to create virtual-reality depictions of buildings for first-responders. Founded by juniors James Massaquoi and Sury Gupta, the concept won $21,000 for the student prize.

Early clients include Buccini/Pollin Group for The Residences at Mid-Town Park in Wilmington, a Philadelphia private school and the Delaware Department of Labor.

CATX (a mashup of “cancer” and “therapeutics”) runs mathematical models and rules out failing approaches to cancer treatment. Founded by oncologist Bruce Boman and math professor Gilberto Schleiniger, the concept won $14,800 for the staff prize.

The team is focusing on budesonide, federally approved for other conditions, to treat colorectal cancer, which kills 50,000 Americans each year. Associate Anne Shehab said they hope to start tests on people next year.

“Cancer is an extremely complex problem,” Boman said, “and the way to we solve complex problems is with math.”

The other finalists in the student and the faculty/staff/alumni categories:

  • The SEWcial Café, a maker space for sewing businesses, won $8,400. Founder ChaCha Hudson, a UD graduate student and instructor, said she has nearly broken even on the first space, near her Philadelphia home, and anticipates opening another space in Wilmington this fall.
  • SolveABET, a blockchain platform to track accreditation developed by UD senior Jonathan Wood, won $5,600. He’s sold the software to UD and said there’s a $10 million market in 3,600 university engineering programs that need accreditation – and a far larger market in other professions.
  • RiKarbon is using nonfood biomass to produce safer ingredients for cosmetics, said founder Basudeb Saha. He and Kumar Krautharapu are focusing on something to replace silicones phased out in Europe. It earned $10,200.
  • Patient Sortal, which alumnus Kenny Eck has developed for the last two years without taking a salary, won $5,000. Eck, who earlier Tuesday had dinner with Gov. John Carney for another award, said his system stores and shares medical records for patients with multiple health-care providers.
  • Sage, an irrigation system for green roofs from UD alumni Ariel Ramirez, Dustyn Roberts and Trevor Stephens, won $1,000 as the audience favorite in the night’s Innovation Showcase.

Hen Hatch drew a record 138 submissions, with the finals judged by Anil Patel, Google; Holly Flanagan, Gabriel Investments; Tammira Lucas, Warnock Foundation; Vance Kershner, LabWare; and Allen King, Backstage Capital.

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