Today we’re announcing the 15 teams that have made the shortlist for the inaugural Imagine Cup grants program. The program, which is a three-year, $3 million competitive grant program, aims to help Imagine Cup participants take their projects to market as the next step in solving the world’s toughest problems.
This initiative builds on the Imagine Cup which challenges students around the world to combine technology and their creativity to solve some of the world’s toughest problems as defined by the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Over 350,000 students from 100 countries competed in this year’s competition. It’s part of our commitment to create opportunities for youth through technology, training, and experiences that empower them to imagine and realize their full potential.
The winning teams will be named in January 2012 and awarded with a grant package in the form of cash, software, resources and other on the ground support to help them establish a nonprofit or for-profit organizations to bring their idea to market.
Today, we are also announcing the distinguished panel of judges who will have the tough task of selecting our grant winners. Our panel of judges is comprised of leading industry experts who will use their knowledge of the startup culture, technology, the nonprofit sector, software development and venture capitalism to select the Imagine Cup Grants winning teams. There are four main criteria that the judges will consider- the two biggest being the impact and viability of their solutions as well as their team’s quality and motivation. It’s pivotal that the winning teams can have a real impact on the issue they have chosen to address.
We’re including brief biographies of the judges below, but first of all here are the 15 teams that have made the final judging round.
Imagine Cup Grant Finalists
Team Apptenders – Croatia
KiDnect is a Kinect-based solution for on-premise and remote physical therapy for children. This software has the ability to monitor a child’s exercises to ensure they are being completed correctly, and then provides statistical analysis to the therapist. Team Apptenders hopes to add multilingual interfaces in order to integrate additional sensors for limb rotation monitoring and advanced data analysis.
Team Co2ncerned – Turkey
Co2ncerned created a system where individuals and corporations calculate their CO2 emissions and balance it by donating to environmental projects. CO2ncerned is a common platform for environmental sustainability and social responsibility. Team Co2ncerned hopes to use support from Imagine Cup Grants to help with international connections and the licensing cost for the system requirements.
Team CodeRaiders – Poland
LifeCircle+ is a modern system solving the problems that blood centers, the people needing blood, and potential donors face on a daily basis. Using Windows Azure and Windows Phone, this platform minimizes the problem of shortages in blood centers by ensuring adequate amounts in times of emergency, and promotes the cause of blood donation via social networks. Team CodeRaiders plans to use cash prize for the further development and deployment of the LifeCircle+ solution on a global scale.
Team Cyan Girls – Senegal
PAGEL is a cloud platform designed to provide infrastructure and ecommerce support for rural farmers and fishermen. With software as a service (SAAS) combined with Windows Azure, these individuals and small businesses can better set pricing, identify markets to sell their goods and gain worldwide visibility through an online marketplace. Team Cyan Girls hopes for the opportunity to set up a company that prioritizes creativity, innovation and good results.
Team Dragon – United States
Team Dragon’s project utilizes both Windows Phone 7 and a spirometer to enable a game called Azmo the Dragon, which helps children learn about and manage their asthma by having their breath be that of a dragon that destroys civilizations. The team expanded their scope into asthma care plans: prescribed regimens for families, given by doctors to help them care for asthma and respond to different situations. Team Dragon hopes to use the entirety of the grant funding for research and development, including pilot testing, prototyping and code development.
Team Falcon Dev – Ecuador
Skillbox is an affordable solution to help children who are hearing impaired by translating all the speaking audio received from a teacher in a classroom into sign language. A wireless headset captures the sound, sends it to the computer and SkillBox then shows the corresponding sign for the word or phrase. Team Falcon Dev hopes to make their product market-ready through support from Imagine Cup Grants.
Team Gatotkaca – Indonesia
Childhood is an early alert system that helps mothers prevent malnourishment in their children. It uses personal cell phones to educate mothers about healthy diets for their children as well as child development milestones. It connects mothers with pediatricians who can suggest proper action in the instance of unusual child growth or development. Team Falcon Dev plans to invest the money to build larger infrastructure for their product.
Team Geekologic – France
People around the world often don’t realize the consequences that their negative actions have on the environment. Brainergy is a Windows Phone 7 Puzzle Game in which the player has to solve different challenges based on renewable energy. From the beginning of the adventure, players are confronted by a polluted world and will need to use renewable energy to clean it. Team Geekologic would like to use support from Imagine Cup Grants to add viral and social networking functionalities, and make it compatible with a number of different platforms.
Team Hawk – Iraq
Team Hawk developed a Windows Phone 7 application, the Refugee Application Form, that provides an instant and secure system for registering refugees and their welfare needs. It helps monitor health care and education, as well as facilitating aid distribution. The solution provides a mobile means for staff and users with minimal training to enter data relevant to the welfare and educational needs of the refugees. The data stored using Windows Azure can be accessed by the NGOs through any computing device. Team Hawk will use the entirety of the funding on the continued development of their application to make it more adaptable to various scenarios.
Team Lifelens – United States
Lifelens is an innovative point-of-care tool to diagnose malaria using an augmented Windows Phone 7 application. The project addresses the unacceptably high child mortality rates caused by the lack of detection and availability of treatment of malarial diseases. Team Lifelens is committed to using Grants support to develop their project for launch. They will use the investment for distribution of their devices, subsidizing the phones and field testing.
Team majiRanger – Germany
With majiSolutions, a three-fold product, the current workflow of waterpointmapping is automated as far as possible and optimized in quality. With a Windows Phone 7 application, majiMobile, the data regarding water resources is captured on the spot. It is then sent directly to a server where it is processed and analyzed by the majiFramework. Finally, a Silverlight application called majiWeb, provides various visualizations and possibilities for analysis, thus, being a base for important decisions. Team majiRanger hopes to use the cash prize to carry out two piloting projects, which will help them earn their first customers, and take majiSolutions from project to product level.
Team Nerds Inc. – Nigeria
Medicare is a web-based solution that enables interaction between health workers and doctors. Through Medicare, medical details of a patient can be sent to the doctor and the resulting diagnosis and prescription are then sent back to the health workers. It educates health workers on the latest medical trends from global health organizations and government parastatals, and provides an Azure-based platform for healthcare delivery, diagnosis and prescription to remote locations. Team Nerds plans to use the cash prize to pay for cloud computing and deploy the solution in all the medical health centers in Ondo State.
Team Note-Taker – United States
The Note-Taker is a portable Windows 7-based hardware + software solution that provides low-vision students with simultaneous, magnified views of their notes and a distant board. It consists of a zoom camera attached to a laptop or tablet. Students take handwritten or typed notes in a split-screen interface on the computer and control the camera through pen and multitouch gestures. After class, students can review their notes and see any audio and video that was recorded at the time they took a particular note. If Team Note-Taker wins an Imagine Cup Grant, the cash prize will be vested into Seymour Research, LLC, for use in the design, manufacture, and marketing of the device.
Team OaSys – Jordan
Horizon is a software and hardware system that allows people who do not have use of their hands/arms to use a computer. Specifically, it tracks head movements and translates these movements into mouse movements. Users get full control of a computer and a cellphone, browse the internet, type and connect with ease and at a low cost. Team OaSys hopes to improve the software stack by optimizing and adding features, pilot client lab preparations and hire sub-contractors.
Team Signum Games – Brazil
In UCan, players create strategies to find the best way to help solve issues in their city like health, education and the environment. Players must manage their resources smartly by planting trees, training volunteers, helping others, and successfully avoiding obstacles. Team Signum Games plans to use funding from Imagine Cup Grants to pay their team to develop their solution, pay for marketing and purchase licenses.
As you can see the teams are taking innovative approaches to addressing some tough social challenges. The difficult task to choosing the final grant recipients will fall to our esteemed panel of judges.
Akhtar Badshah, Senior Director of Global Community Affairs, Microsoft Corporation
Ahktar administers Microsoft’s global community investment and employee programs. He is a Board Member of United Way of King County, the Global Knowledge Partnership, Council on Foundations, Youth Employment Summit Inc., and is the chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Business Civic Leadership Center. Akhtar is an architect by training, a doctoral graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the former president of the Lambda Alpha International, New Jersey Chapter.
Peter Cowhey, Dean: Qualcomm Endowed Chair in Communications and Technology Policy, School of International Relations and Pacific Studies: University of California, San Diego
Cowhey can provide commentary on U.S. trade policy, foreign policy, the future of communications and information technology markets and policy, the internet, biological threats, international corporate strategy, and the microfinance industry to alleviate poverty.
Tim Draper, Founder and Managing Director, Draper Fisher Jurvetson
Tim launched the DFJ Global Network, an international network of early-stage venture capital funds with offices in over 30 cities around the globe. As an advocate for entrepreneurs and free markets, Tim is regularly featured as a keynote speaker in entrepreneurial conferences throughout the world, has been recognized as a leader in his field through numerous awards and honors, and has frequent TV, radio, and headline appearances.
Debra Dunn, Advisor to Social Ventures, Skoll Foundation
As a member of the faculty at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (aka d.school) at Stanford University Debra is spearheading classroom and project work in Design for Sustainable Abundance. She also works as an advisor to business start-ups and social ventures around the world.
Edward G. Happ, Global Chief Information Officer of International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Chairman of NetHope
Edward’s thirty plus years of professional experience include all facets of managing information services and high technology businesses, including general management with P&L responsibility, operations, product management, sales, marketing, customer service, human resources management, technical consulting, manufacturing, and both software and hardware development. Read his blog here.
Zeev Klein, General Partner, Landmark Ventures
Zeev Klein is part of the founding team of Landmark Ventures and responsible for business development, investment banking and venture capital investments working with a portfolio of early-stage technology companies.
Dan’l Lewin, Corporate Vice President: Strategic and Emerging Business Development, Microsoft Corporation
Dan'l Lewin, is responsible for leading Microsoft's global engagement with startups and venture capitalists and business relationships with strategic industry partners. Lewin's teams focus on supporting the startup and entrepreneur ecosystem developing on the Microsoft platform while helping foster local software economies worldwide.
Jeff Raikes, Chief Executive Officer, Gates Foundation
Jeff Raikes leads the foundation's efforts to promote equity for all people around the world. He sets strategic priorities, monitors results, and facilitates relationships with key partners for all three Gates Foundation program groups.
Ann Winblad, Managing Director, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners
Ann is the co-founder and a Managing Director of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. She is a well-known and respected software industry entrepreneur and technology leader.