Friday, April 19, 2024

Shea Brown and his business, BABL AI, that audits and certifies AI systems, won first place and $25,000 at the University of Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (Iowa JPEC) Innovation Challenge Awards event April 18 at Black Box Theater in the Iowa Memorial Union in Iowa City, Iowa. BABL AI won in the faculty/staff/graduate student/incubator startup division. 

A total of $135,000 was given by Iowa JPEC in three divisions to support innovation across campus and beyond.

BABL AI employs certified independent auditors to ensure systems comply with the AI regulation landscape. Placing second and receiving $15,000 in the faculty/staff/graduate student/incubator startup division was Daniel Infield and Halide Biologics, Inc. Halide is a research and development engineering firm. Third place and $10,000 went to Aaron Brake and APEX: AI Patient Experience. APEX is an advanced AI-driven platform poised to transform patient education in healthcare.

SeatStock, a company that safeguards clients when buying and selling student tickets, was the biggest winner in the undergraduate division. SteatStock placed first for Best Technology/High Growth and earned $10,000. First place in the alumni division went to Zachary Grasso and Pesche, earning $12,500. Pesche specializes in health-conscious mocktails catering to the lifestyle-oriented market. 

A total of 29 startups won a cash prize at the Spring Innovation Challenge. Six winners in the faculty/staff/graduate student/incubator startup division shared $60,000, 20 winners in the undergraduate division shared $50,000, and three winners in the alumni division shared $25,000. 

Iowa JPEC is the hub for entrepreneurial education and outreach at the University of Iowa. It is committed to helping students, faculty, staff, and community members launch and grow businesses.

Graduate/Faculty/Staff/Incubator Startup Awards   
FirstBABL AIShea Brown$25,000
SecondHalide Biologics, Inc.Daniel Infield$15,000
ThirdAPEX: AI Patient ExperienceAaron Brake$10,000
FourthNeuroPred, Inc.Michal Brzus$5,000
Honorable MentionOTC HelperMarianne Said, Noor Alwaan$2,500
Honorable MentionMedLungEmmanuel Akor, Jumoke Aboderin$2,500
Undergraduate Awards   
Best Technology/High Growth Business   
FirstSeatStockJosh Cohen$10,000
SecondOneBuzz NetworkColin Speikers$2,500
ThirdThe Housing MarketSeif Gaber$2,000
Best Non-Technology   
FirstModelMintCraig Bantz$5,000
Best Retail Business   
FirstUniversity ScootersTyler Persinger$3,500
SecondFace Totes by Olivia MillerOlivia Miller$2,500
ThirdGreen Pocket BagsTatum Johnson$1,000
Best Social Impact   
 Refiller MeEmmaJean Roling$3,500
Best Lifestyle Business   
 WALTJordan Walters$3,500
Local Impact   
 Heartland Pictures, LLCJames Altschul/Will Schwarz$2,500
Judge's Choice   
 Casually CliplessBraeden Harrell$5,000
Special Mention   
 Solace Biotech, LLCKeegan Fogarty$1,000
Honorable Mention   
 UniLinkLizzy Lohmann$1,000
 Aurora SleepWatch, LLCBenjamin Harks$1,000
 Tres Leches EngineeringJanet Jonga$1,000
 The Abel Table, LLCXandra McGlasson$1,000
 Blue Collar Quality WorkwearSam Smith$1,000
 Coasters4CauseIdress Abdullahi$1,000
 Health HarmonyLily Hintz$1,000
 EloquaSophia Claus/Trisha Das$1,000
Alumni Awards   
FirstPescheZachary Grasso$12,500
SecondIowa Biotech, LLCMaruf Ahmed$7,500
ThirdPresaj, Inc.Jim Levett$5,000