Walleye Tank

Episode 42: Minnesota Life Science Business Pitch Competition Walleye Tank Travels to University of Minnesota- Part 2

This week on the podcast, we wrapped up the pitches from the latest Walleye Tank. Walleye Tank is a life science business pitch competition in Minnesota. The competition originated in Rochester and took place for the very first time on the University of Minnesota campus this April. Early stage startups compete in two categories: a student “junior angler” division and a more experienced “professional” division. Student and professional division winners received a semifinalist entry into the Minnesota Cup. This Walleye Tank was organized by Dr. Stephen Ekker, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Mayo Clinic, and Carla Pavone, Associate Director of the Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship. Startups were judged by the “Walleyes,” a group of seasoned life science entrepreneurs and investors.

In this podcast, we wrap of the pitches from the Professional division. Check in with podcast Episode 41 for part one of our Walleye Tank coverage.

Episode 41: Walleye Tank Travels to the University of Minnesota- Part 1

This week on the podcast, we listen in to pitches from Walleye Tank, a life science business pitch competition in Minnesota. The third ever Walleye Tank took place this April on the University of Minnesota campus, showcasing the state’s life science startups. Entrepreneurs participated in either a student “junior angler” or professional division, pitching their concepts to a panel of “walleyes”, seasoned life science entrepreneurs and experts. This first portion of a two part series covering Walleye Tank features pitches by Lab Set Go, Synch Medical, Dolore Biotechnology, UVBioGen, Delve Health, and Tear Restore.

For more information, and to hear the comments from the Walleye Panel, check out the Walleye Tank YouTube channel.

Episode 25: COVR Medical

From left to right: Romeo Catracchia, COVR Medical CCO; the author; Bruce Levy, COVR Medical CEO and Founder.

This week, we speak with COVR Medical, a life science startup based out of the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator. COVR Medical was built within the Mayo Clinic Emerging Entrepreneur Program, a partnership between Mayo Medical Ventures and the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator. The COVR Medical team created medical garments that raise the standard of care and improve patient privacy by covering the groin area during surgery and other medical procedures. The startup was established in 2014 and is currently gearing up for commercialization. The team recently won the professional division of Walleye Tank, Rochester’s first life science business pitch competition.

“I think there’s more to being a successful entrepreneur than just having a good idea and being able to do a lot of hard work, although that’s certainly a good start. I think what you need to do is surround yourself with a competent team…that can really help develop the company.” –Dr. Bruce Levy, COVR Medical CEO and Founder.

Rochester Rising featured article: Local Entrepreneurial Experts Predict Momentous 2017

Rochester Rising Episode 11: GoAudio with Alaa Koleilat

This week, I got to speak with Alaa Koleilat, a PhD student at Mayo Clinic, about a healthtech startup that she is building, called GoAudio. Alaa and her team built GoAudio during an entrepreneurship class at Mayo Clinic under the direction of Steve Ekker and pitched the startup at Rochester’s first life science pitch contest, Walleye Tank, just this June.

  • GoAudio is a mobile application that makes hearing testing more accessible. With this app, users can test and examine their hearing thresholds anywhere. All you need is noise cancelling headphones.
  • The team hopes that these five to ten-minute hearing tests provided by GoAudio will help audio screens become a routine part of annual exams.
  • Twenty percent of Americans report some degree of hearing loss, something that’s preventable if detected early.
  • During Dr. Ekker’s entrepreneurship class, Alaa and her classmates learned many aspects of business development, including how to do a customer interview. She also did site visits as part of the class and learned how many startups really are in Rochester.
  • The class taught students how to take an idea and present the idea to investors.
  • Right now, the GoAudio app is almost at completion; some calibration is still being performed.

“Walleye Tank was really cool. …Our division was the Junior Anglers. So the people from this class were in a different division because we were all very new to this. But you got to see people that were actually taking off and they’re getting investments. …And you got to see where you could potentially be.”