Minnesota Startups CranioVation, LipiQuester, and Aelios Technology Win Big at Spring Walleye Tank Business Pitch Competition

 Walleye Tank organizer Dr. Stephen Ekker (left) with overall winner Braden Eliason (right) of CranioVation.

Walleye Tank organizer Dr. Stephen Ekker (left) with overall winner Braden Eliason (right) of CranioVation.

 Walleye Tank runner-up Jake Orme of LipiQuester.

Walleye Tank runner-up Jake Orme of LipiQuester.

Last Friday the 2018 Walleye Tank Spring Opener, the fifth edition of this business pitch competition, was held on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus. Fifteen different life science and healthtech companies pitched their businesses for a chance to win entry into the semifinal round of Minnesota Cup and multiple other prizes. CranioVation, LipiQuester, and Aelios Technology walked away as big winners at this edition of Walleye Tank.

Walleye Tank is a life science business pitch competition that showcases lifesaving innovations being created in Minnesota. Companies developing science and health related technologies deliver 120 second pitches in one of two categories: Professional or Junior Angler (student) Divisions. Teams are judged by an expert panel, called the “Walleyes.”

This year’s Walleyes included: Julie Henry, Enterprise IP Contract Manager with Mayo Clinic Ventures; Perry Hackett, biotech serial entrepreneur; Sara Russick, Cofounder and General Partner at Capita3; Shaye Mandle, CEO and President of Medical Alley Association; and Fernando Bazan, Chief Technology Officer at Bio-Techne.

Over one hundred participants in Minnesota’s startup and entrepreneurial community attended this Walleye Tank event.

CranioVation, a Minnesota company using photodynamic therapy (PDT) to treat brain tumors without disrupting brain function, was the overall winner in the Professional Division, gaining automatic entry into the semifinal round of Minnesota Cup, the largest statewide business pitch competition in the nation. LipiQuester, led by Rochester resident Jake Orme, was the overall runner up with their patent-pending nutraceutical that impedes dietary fat absorption without the typical negative side effects. Aelios Technology, a team led by University of Minnesota Twin Cities students developing an Intelligent Plug for Devices, or IPlugD, to mitigate life threatening risks in healthcare settings during power outages, was the Junior Angler Division Winner, also snagging entry into Minnesota Cup.

Additional prizes were sponsored by: gBETA Medtech, Capita3, the University of Minnesota Technology Commercialization Venture Center, the Mayo Clinic Office of Entrepreneurship, Collider Coworking, Gopher Angels, and the University of Minnesota Medical Industry Valuation Lab.

The next Walleye Tank, the 2018 Ice Fishing Edition, will be held in Rochester on December 7th.

 Junior Angler Winners Aelios Technology.

Junior Angler Winners Aelios Technology.

Additional Prizes at the 2018 Walleye Tank Spring Opener:

·      Most Medically Impactful Venture: smartfri- an emerging startup developing a bite-activated drug delivery device to provide targeted pain relief to the mouth and throat. 

·      Most Promising Woman-Led Venture: Aelios Technology

·      Most Intriguing Venture (Rochester): LipiQuester

·      Most Fundable Venture: CranioVation

·      Best Ambassador of University of Minnesota Innovation: Addivax, an emerging startup developing antibodies to combat drug overdose.

·      Best Ambassador of Mayo Clinic Innovation (Arizona): Nipple by Number, a 3D-printed stencil that enables accurate and consistent nipple areolar complex (NAC) tattooing.

·       Best Ambassador of Mayo Clinic Innovation (Florida): sciLens, an emerging technology that combines hypersonic sound waves with noise cancelling technology into a small device that fits into a ceiling tile.