Posted on Apr 30, 2007

A group of student entrepreneurs behind a new medical device that promises to dramatically improve the way a patient’s blocked airway finished second in the prestigious $50,000 Tech Valley Collegiate Business Plan competition.

Gordon Single ’07, Shane Hubbell ’08 and Jay Shah ’08 created Second Breath Inc., a company that would produce Cric-Kits to aid in a cricothyroidotomy, an emergency procedure performed on patients suffering from an obstructed airway, usually caused by a trauma accident. The kits would include the new device, along with an endotracheal tube and a scalpel.

Business plan competition

The start-up company would market the kits primarily to hospitals and ambulance service companies.

The students had 20 minutes to make their pitch to a panel of venture capitalists May 3 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The competition was sponsored by the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship at Rensselaer’s Lally School of Management and Technology.

Union's entry tied for second with Greensulate, which has developed an environmentally friendly organic insulation. This patented combination of water, flour, minerals, and mushroom spores could replace conventional foam insulations, which are expensive to synthesize and harmful to the environment. The team is composed of two engineering students from Rensselaer.

Each company received $3,500.

The winner of the competition was Innovative Engineering Solutions, which is creating a foot scanning device that could aid diabetic patients with early identification of foot disorders caused by the disease. The team is composed of three engineering students from Rensselaer. 

The winning team received $5,000 and has the opportunity to receive $20,000 in seed funding, $15,000 in legal, patent, and financial services, and ancillary expenses for travel to a national business plan competition. The other $10,000 is awarded based on the company’s progress in implementing the business plan.

Earlier, Second Breath Inc. took top honors at Union’s annual business plan competition, beating out five other start-up companies proposed by Union students. The winning team won a trip to New York City, where they had lunch with Devin Wenig ’88, COO of Reuters Group P.L.C. They also won a night at the Cornell Club.

This marked the second year of Union's business plan competition, which was sponsored by the College’s Entrepreneurship Club. The competition consisted of both an “elevator pitch,’’ in which students had one minute to present their idea, and a 15-minute Powerpoint presentation. The club’s advisor is Economics Professor Hal Fried.