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San Diego State University

Fowler College of
Business Administration

Student-Engineered Biotech Innovation Wins Lavin VentureStart Competition

The Cell Minder

The Cell Minder biotech storage solution

Cell Minder, the biotech storage solution engineered by an SDSU Ph.D. candidate, has won the Fall 2012 Lavin VentureStart Competition, which was held on December 6, 2011 on the SDSU campus. The competition provided the opportunity for budding student entrepreneurs to present their start-up business plans to a panel of expert judges for feedback and advice.

Hosted by SDSU's Lavin Entrepreneurship Center, the Lavin VentureStart Competition is a campus-wide contest held each spring and fall semester for SDSU student teams of all disciplines and offers assistance in guiding students through the start-up process. Cash prizes in the amounts of $500 (first place), $250 (second place), and $150 (third place) are awarded to the teams to help them further establish their business.

Winners holding up a trophy

John Waynelovich and Tanja Muetze of Epsilon Micro

Former SDSU exchange student Tanja Muetze, SDSU biology student Pieter Van Niekerk, and John Waynelovich, who earned his bachelor's degree in math from SDSU in 2011 and currently is working on his doctorate in biomathematics, have formed Epsilon Micro to produce and market the Cell Minder. Cell Minder is a device that is designed to keep biological samples cool as needed, then can be programmed to warm them shortly before they are needed in the lab. One of the labs on the SDSU campus has successfully been using a prototype of the Cell Minder.

Second place went to barter-based social networking application EduSwap, and third place went to FindCart, a GPS tracking system for shopping carts.

This year's judges – all seasoned entrepreneurs – were SDSU alumni Yukon Palmer ('98 management, '02 M.B.A.), CEO of FieldLogix, and Doug Wall ('80 accounting), co-founder and CEO of PureForge; and Peter Shaw, managing director of Shaw Management Advisors.