Western Medical Innovation Fellows reel in a Best of Show prize

on April 29, 2021

The Western Medical Innovation Fellows continue their winning streak having won the Best of Show prize at the 2021 Walleye Tank pitch competition. Walleye Tank is Minnesota’s life science pitch competition providing an educational and promotional opportunity for emerging medical and life science companies. 

The fellows participated in the Junior Anglers division, which is for entrepreneurs in the early stages of business development. Participants in this division have typically not incorporated their company yet or completed their minimum viable product (MVP). They competed against five other teams.

The pitches are overseen by a panel of judges comprised of experienced entrepreneurs and investors from the Minnesota healthcare innovation ecosystem. The judges have a chance to question and advise the entrepreneurs after each pitch as well as connect with these nascent companies.

The team of fellows pitched their project, teleMDview, a technology they are currently developing that provides tele-rehabilitation clinicians with a simultaneous multi-view of their patients.

The presentation to the judges was delivered by Sheyla Abdic, though the entire cohort of fellows pitched in to make it a success. They worked together to formulate a well thought out business plan that they could condense into a thorough but succinct pitch, practicing how they would handle the question an answer section and ways to make their pitch memorable.

Left to right: Sheyla Abdic, Michael Lavdas, Saumik Biswas, Kirill Fedorov, Eveline Pasman, Gordon Ngo, Sherif Abdou

Their work paid off with winning the Best of Show prize, which was voted on by the competition’s audience.

The cohort has found their fellowship experience very helpful in cultivating their business acumen and presentation skills, having learned about communicating their value propositions, business models, market opportunities, competitive advantages and funding needs.

“The Walleye tank competition is a very important networking event that goes along the pitch competition,” said Sherif Abdou, who along with the other fellows, helped prepare the winning pitch.

“The networking skills that we have been practicing throughout the fellowship have helped us immensely in being able to leverage the connections we made during the event to further expand our outreach.”

The award does not come with a cash prize; however, the team made new connections in the medical innovation ecosystem and can explore mentorship opportunities with the judges.

“In addition, it reinforces to us that teamwork is at the core of all success and we look forward to many more opportunities to demonstrate our team spirit,” noted Abdou.

The team will go on to compete in the MSK Innovation Competition, pitching the teleMDview technology, which they are currently building a beta prototype for. That prototype will be sent to collaborators so they can perform hands-on testing and evaluations with patients. The cohort sees forming a potential startup to market this technology. They are also considering other applications for it beyond tele rehabilitation.

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