A team of UNLV students and faculty members took the top prize in the 2015 Dominic Anthony Marrocco Southern Nevada Business Plan Competition for SmartOrtho Detect, a shoe insole system that helps diagnose the earliest stages of diabetic foot problems.
This annual contest seeks to find and fund Southern Nevada’s best new business idea. The UNLV Center for Entrepreneurship at the Lee Business School and the Las Vegas Business Press created the contest in 2010 to spark the Southern Nevada economy.
The team received over $90,000 in cash and in-kind services as the grand prize. John Landrith spearheaded the team hopes to license technology from University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
“MovéoMedics is a research and development company specializing in the design and sale of diagnostic software and wearable medical devices,” explained team member Erin Schroeder. “We intend our flagship product to be the SmartOrtho Detect, a shoe insole designed to diagnose the earliest stages of diabetic complications in the feet that can lead to ulcers and potential amputations. We are partnered with UNLV professors Janet Dufek and Mohamed Trabia and are all UNLV students, our team is John Landrith, Christine Nolan, James Lutz, Erin Schroeder and Peter Puglisi.”
The spark for the company got started in the fall of 2014, when Professors Dufek and Trabia presented their current research work to UNLV’s MBA New Venture Feasibility class.
“Where we had the opportunity to help pair up with them to create a business plan around the idea,” said Schroeder. “After a lot of work into developing the best plan and another semester class later the team realized the potential this product had for the health of the diabetic market and decided to really run with it with the help of UNLV and our own desires to see it succeed.”
The team was excited to have the chance to submit and compete in the Dominic Anthony Marrocco Southern Nevada Business Plan Competition in March 2015. The next month, they participated in the Donald W. Reynold’s Governor’s Cup.
Schroeder credits the team’s hard work and preparation for taking home wins for both competitions.
“Our early connection with UNLV really has helped open these doors for us since their advisement helped inform us about these early stage business plan competitions,” she said. “The Governor’s Cup competition is solely dedicated to undergraduate and graduate plans in Nevada but having the opportunity to pitch against other Las Vegas based companies for SNBPC and receive feedback from vetted investors, lawyers and Dominic Anthony Marrocco himself were invaluable educational experiences we’re working on turning into real world operations.”
The MovéoMedics team plans to reinvest the prize money into ramping up the research and prototype. This ramp up will include providing Professors Dufek and Trabia with another graduate student to assist in the current foot study they have been working on to create the algorithm necessary for the diabetic foot complication detection.
“The sooner we can have a larger testing base the sooner we will be able to move forward with the next steps of the company’s plan to market,” Schroeder said.
“Right now we’re realizing the importance of connectivity within the Las Vegas valley to really help us grow,” she continued. “From attending Work in Progress events downtown to connecting with the Rebel Venture Fund, we are navigating all the different avenues and possibilities that we can take as we start these beginning steps as a company. We are seeking the advice and expertise from locals to make sure we’re taking the right ones. We need to make sure to keep the networking going from our end.”
The MovéoMedics team asks that the VegasTech community keep their team in mind as discussions about new and growing companies in Las Vegas take place.
“We’re trying to help get our name out there and that awareness is needed,” Schroeder said.