On June 2, the UCI ANTrepreneur Center held its third annual ANTrepreneur of the Year Awards at UCI’s Paul Merage School of Business. The event recognized student entrepreneurs, UCI startups, and organizations from across campus for their contributions and accomplishments during the 2016-17 school year.
A part of Applied Innovation and founded in 2014, the ANTrepreneur Center is often the first stop for students interested in entrepreneurship. It is the campus hub that helps the UCI community of students, staff, faculty, and alumni explore entrepreneurship, refine potential business ideas, and navigate obstacles for existing ventures.
Startups that took home awards for the night included Wayfinder incubator teams and Cove incubator companies that recently graduated from the program. Highlights included:
Gen Girl Media: A Cove incubator graduate and now Cove tenant that received the “Best Growth Strategy” award. The first product line from Gen Girl Media, Middle School Moguls, is a character-driven doll, book, and online edutainment line for girls, ages 6-11. The product is currently on shelves at major retailers such as Target.
Lythous (formerly Bulletin): A Wayfinder startup team with an app dedicated to simplifying academic life for students, Lythous received the “Best Pivot” award. After exploring different market segments and use cases, the team decided to pivot their offering and focus in a new direction.
FailSafe: A Wayfinder startup team with a solution that optimizes the chances of someone getting help in threatening situations, FailS afe received an award for “Best Female Owned Business.” It also recently took second place in the Consumer Products category of the New Venture Competition, organized by the Beall Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Paul Merage School of Business and Applied Innovation.
HyperSight: A Wayfinder startup team with a SaaS solution allowing new car buyers to personalize and interact with their dream cars using an augmented reality headset, HyperSight received the “Best Intellectual Property” award.
Esqalate: A Wayfinder startup with a platform connecting low-income Americans with legal representation received the “Most Potential for Social Impact” award. Additionally, Esqalate took first place in the Blum Center’s Designing Solutions for Poverty Competition and was recently featured in the Orange County Register.
Brian Leung, BottleRocket: UCI alumnus and co-founder of Wayfinder startup BottleRocket, a mobile app empowering users to earn money by easily scheduling recycling pick-ups at their home, received the “Best Alumni ANTrepreneur” award. BottleRocket also raised $200,000 in funding earlier this year from Mucker Lab in Santa Monica.
Overall, the recognized teams, individuals, and organizations revealed the best of what UCI innovation has to offer to the community, both locally and globally.